Helen Keller joined celebrities like Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb in portraying herself in the story of her own life and the resulting movie is a push-pull between Keller’s socialism and her desire to create a more symbolic picture and the producers wanting a commercial smash.Continue reading “Deliverance (1919) A Silent Film Review”
Douglas Fairbanks is in peril because his mind is slowly falling apart due to the machinations of the mad scientist next door. To make matters worse, Doug is in love with a young lady who is already promised to another. It will take all his pep and energy to get out of this tangle!Continue reading “When the Clouds Roll By (1919) A Silent Film Review”
Captain Oscar Krug is a German-American taxidermist who has a secret behind his door and the whole gruesome story unspools in this post-WWI film. Nobody involved in the production seemed to understand that the war was over but the shocking content has made this picture a festival staple and a tidy way to prove that the silent era was not all innocence, light and naïve melodrama.Continue reading “Behind the Door (1919) A Silent Film Review”
Marguerite Clark plays a plucky orphan who runs away from the institution in order to retain custody of the little boy she has raised since infancy. She ends up in the Cabbage Patch, a slum area that is home to the merry Wiggs family.Continue reading “Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch (1919) A Silent Film Review”
A group of real soldiers reprise their part in the famous Lost Battalion incident. Added to the mix are fictional characters played by professional actors and together, they try to survive when their battalion is surrounded completely during the First World War.Continue reading “The Lost Battalion (1919) A Silent Film Review”
A May-December marriage is on the rocks when the husband, an anemic Egyptologist, decides that his young wife is stepping out. Poisoned cigarettes and a distastefully-placed mummy are just a few of the complications that ensue.Continue reading “La Cigarette (1919) A Silent Film Review”
Gale Henry plays a detective hot on the tail of some thieves who have swiped a secret formula. What ensues is best described as a sort of silent movie Donkey Kong with trapdoors, secret doors and a big tub of water.
Harold Lloyd and Bebe Daniels had been a screen team since 1915 but all things must end and this was their final release as a comedy duo. Lloyd has a bachelor party that proves to be so wild, his future mother-in-law calls off his marriage to Daniels. The heartbroken lad tries to find his lady love but ends up shipwrecked and rescued by a very unusual pirate crew.
William S. Hart is a Santa Fe Trail guide whose brother is murdered by a riverboat gambler. And guess who has joined the wagon train Hart is directing to Santa Fe? Less action and more drama in this Hart vehicle with veteran baddie Robert McKim providing the mustache twirls.
Real footage from the legendary Endurance expedition led by Sir Ernest Shackleton edited into documentary form and released just three years after the crew’s return from their harrowing ordeal.
Nightclub queen Texas Guinan made a series of westerns in the 1910s and 1920s. We’re going to be looking at her adventures in ranching as she tries to save her kid sister, Waco, from bandits. (Waco?) Much action and shooty-bang stuff.
Wallace Reid and Harrison Ford team up as a pair of buddies trying to cross Central Europe with a satchel full of cash and a revolution brewing. Considerably less fun than it sounds, thanks to the protagonist’s xenophobia and a script peppered with morons.
Continue reading “Hawthorne of the U.S.A. (1919) A Silent Film Review”
Mae Murray plays a good girl who pretends to be bad in order to land a job as a nightclub hostess. Rudolph Valentino plays a nice Irish boy (?) who falls for Mae but wishes she wasn’t quite so naughty. And, naturally, there is a cad who plans to use our heroine’s double life for his own nefarious purposes.
Sessue Hayakawa heads up this tale of Chinatown, opium smuggling and the Tong. He is a gangland assassin who is sent to kill a rival drug dealer. But wouldn’t you know it? His target has a beautiful daughter and Hayakawa has fallen head over heels. I smell a gang war…
Wetona is the daughter of a chief. Her problem is that she has been no better than she ought (if you take my meaning) and now papa is out to find her partner in hanky-panky. Poor Thomas Meighan stumbles into the situation and before you can say “It wasn’t me, sir, honest!” he finds himself a participant in a shotgun wedding. Oh my!
Sessue Hayakawa headlines a story of art and madness. It’s all about a crazy painter who dreams of finding his princess– and the problems that arise when he finally does win her. Made by Hayakawa’s own production company and co-starring his talented wife, Tsuru Aoki, The Dragon Painter is yet another once-lost silent film that has been rediscovered.
Charles Ray stars as a bush league pitcher who makes it big and heads to the city. He leaves behind his girlfriend, Colleen Moore, but it looks like his arch-rival, played by a very young John Gilbert, is ready to step in to replace him. Will our hero realize what is most important before it is too late?
Continue reading “The Busher (1919) A Silent Film Review”
Nell Shipman, one of the creative powerhouses of the silent era, stars in this rugged tale of the frozen north. She plays a nice wilderness gal with a rather disturbing stalker. With her husband out of commission, she has to take on the baddie herself. Girl power!
Priscilla Dean stars as Mary, aka the Gutter Rose. Pickpocket, purse snatcher and general shady lady, Mary’s world changes when she encounters a real gentleman for the first time. This does not sit well with her partner in crime and would-be lover, Stoop (Lon Chaney). This film is the very first collaboration between Chaney and director Tod Browning.Continue reading “The Wicked Darling (1919) A Silent Film Review”
Ernst Lubitsch directs this fractured fairy tale concerning a coddled young man who wants to avoid marriage at all costs– and he is willing to purchase an elaborate mechanical doll to pose as his wife. Petite charmer Ossi Oswalda co-stars as both the doll and the live girl it was modeled after. When the doll is accidentally broken, Ossi must take its place at the wedding. I can’t possibly imagine anything going wrong with this scenario.
Continue reading “The Doll (1919) A Silent Film Review”
Ossi’s father is the Oyster King of America and she has decided that she deserves nothing less than a European prince. Nucki is the penniless prince in question but a few cases of mistaken identity later, all plans are in shambles. Hidden amongst the the wacky hijinks is some pointed social commentary courtesy of director Ernst Lubitsch.
Mary Pickford plays an orphan who is awarded a scholarship to college by a mysterious benefactor, whom she nicknames her Daddy Long Legs. Mary grows, learns and graduates and all the time, she sends letters to Daddy Long Legs detailing her progress, fears and dreams. Now just who could her Daddy be?
Gloria Swanson is a young wife whose husband is, for lack of a better word, a pigpen. Tired of his slovenly ways and uncaring manner, she leaves him for a better groomed, sweet-talking man. But all is not wine and rose and she soon learns that it may not have been a good idea to change her husband after all. DeMille’s dive into marital comedy is a glimpse of good things to come.
Continue reading “Don’t Change Your Husband (1919) A Silent Film Review”