William S. Hart is a Good Bad Man again, this time fighting bandits in 1880s Arizona. A typical tale for him but stylish cinematography and a dark tone lift this picture considerably. It was lost for decades but has recently been reconstructed.Continue reading “The Gun Fighter (1917) A Silent Film Review”
David Balfour (Raymond McKee) sets out to claim his inheritance in 18th century Scotland but his greedy uncle has other ideas. One kidnapping later, David finds himself on the run with a Jacobite rebel (Robert Cain). One of those weeks, apparently.
Charles Ray is a country boy from rural Vermont who gets to attend college thanks to his late mother’s final request. Teased for his unpolished ways, he joins the baseball team as their mascot. But when all the batters are injured at the big game, will our country boy prove himself?
It was the best of times… to make a Dickens adaptation! Movies were getting ever bigger in the 1910s and Fox decided to stage its own version of this literary classic about the French Revolution and far, far better things.
A movie about the movies, this film follows Doris Kenyon as she attempts to break into the New Jersey film industry—and is tempted by Robert Warwick to enter a life of sin! Oh my!
It’s ranchers vs. farmers when the local water rights are up for grabs. John Ford’s first feature film stars Harry Carey as a Good Bad Man and Hoot Gibson as his ally.
Douglas Fairbanks plays a New Yorker who is obsessed with the west. When he gets an opportunity to travel to Arizona, the locals decide to play up the wild west element but when a robbery turns real, Doug’s cowboy skills come in handy.
A Russian ballerina sneaks off to Paris and there she find love and (da da DUM) peril. Alice Brady plays a double role as mother and daughter while Montagu Love provides the peril.
Harold Lloyd dons his famous spectacles for the first time and makes movie history as a boy who just wants to take his girl to a baseball game. Of course, Snub Pollard is in the way and chaos ensues but the real fun is seeing Lloyd’s evolution as a comedian.
An eccentric millionaire decides he wants to spend his golden years reliving his youth as a gold miner in California and so he sends his secretary out west to set things up. This is the only known surviving film directed by Ruth Ann Baldwin.
Mary Pickford returns to child roles as the princess of the title, a sweet young heiress whose sunny disposition is threatened when she loses her family and is forced to work as a maid. ZaSu Pitts nearly walks off with the picture as Pickford’s slavey pal.
They raided her home, killed her family, stole her horse and now they’re gonna pay! Viola Dana stars as a Russian peasant who sets out to avenge her murdered family. It’s a stylish drama of vengeance and ballet in the waning days of Imperial Russia.
Polly is a spunky circus lass who falls off her horse and into the waiting arms of the local minister. Tongues wag, of course, but can this mismatched couple find true happiness? A heaping helping of nostalgia with Mae Marsh’s winsome orphan routine thrown in.
A young woman’s wild ways lead her to leave hearth and home and pursue a career as a cabaret dancer. One of the earliest extant Polish films known to exist and Pola Negri’s earliest complete surviving screen appearance, The Polish Dancer has a lot of historical value. Will that value translate into entertainment?
Charlie Chaplin and Edna Purviance play a pair of immigrants fresh off the boat who are trying to make a go of it in the United States. Their obstacles: Snotty waiters, thieving fellow passengers and a very large plate of beans. A delicate balance of humor, emotion and social commentary. One of Chaplin’s finest short films and one of his personal favorites.
Continue reading “The Immigrant (1917) A Silent Film Review”
George M. Cohan tries his hand at the silent screen in this adaptation of his hit play. He plays a schlock writer who wagers he can create work of literature in 24-hours. Our hero goes to an isolated and deserted inn to work but of course you know he will be interrupted. By a reporter. And criminals. And a crazy hermit. Who steals corpses. Because.
I shall also be covering the 1983 remake, House of the Long Shadows. Click here to skip to the talkie.
The story is as old as the hills: Country boy loses girl to city slicker but then gets a chance to win her back. Speaking of being lost and found, this film was once thought lost before turning up in France. A good thing too as it is the second-earliest John Ford-directed film to survive. Harry Carey plays the unfortunate Wyoming beau.
Continue reading “Bucking Broadway (1917) A Silent Film Review”
What do you get when you mix a partying husband, a wily wife, a sassy maid and a night in jail? Well, when Ernst Lubitsch directs, you get a zany comedy of marriage and romance. Much wilder and broad than his later work, this early film has plenty to offer.
Continue reading “The Merry Jail (1917) A Silent Film Review”
Mary Pickford is a naive city girl who journeys out to the redwoods to live with her uncle. What she doesn’t know is that her uncle is dead and a bandit (Elliott Dexter) has borrowed his identity as cover for his stagecoach robberies. The pair form an uneasy alliance. Mary has nowhere else to go and Elliott doesn’t dare let her leave since she can blow his cover. That romance in the title? Well, with a city girl and a bandit sharing digs, what do you think will happen?
Continue reading “A Romance of the Redwoods (1917) A Silent Film Review”
Douglas Fairbanks is a nice Kansan who, through a the odd combination of his mother’s prenatal Dumas reading and a cyclone ravaging town as he was born, is a little hyper. All right, a lot hyper. He is also chivalrous to the point of madness (Dumas again). Setting out to find adventure, he happens upon a true damsel in distress. Is this the mission he has been waiting for?
Mary Pickford joins the war effort in this collaboration with director Cecil B. DeMille. One woman, two armies, oh dear. Pickford plays Angela, an American girl so patriotic that she contrived to be born on Independence Day. However, she is in favor of outsourcing her love life: her two suitors are French and German respectively. But then that pesky war starts, both men are called up to serve and Angela must choose her side.
John Barrymore lends his talents to this tale of a cricket player who has found a more lucrative occupation: cat burglary. Barrymore is supported by Frank “Oz” Morgan hut can the film survive all the changes that are made to the iconic character of A.J. Raffles? Looks like we are going to find out.
Continue reading “Raffles the Amateur Cracksman (1917) A Silent Film Review”
Judex, a mysterious caped vigilante, sets out to take revenge against corrupt banker Favraux. His settling of scores is complicated by the sly villainess Diana Monti and her associates. And the fact that Judex is in love with Favraux’s daughter, Jacqueline. A delightful serial in twelve episodes with a prologue.