“Welcome to Finland, see our lakes and streams and particularly our thriving industrial production and winter sports!” A government-sanctioned documentary designed to showcase the wonders of this newly-independent nation.
Think Eadweard Muybridge pioneered the idea of cinema? Think again! It was going on back in caveman times, as this amusing silhouette cartoon shows.
Pioneering animator Lotte Reiniger takes on one of the world’s most famous fairytales and makes it her own with her signature silhouette animation technique.
Germaine Dulac examines the thoughts, dreams and homicidal tendencies of a woman trapped in a marriage with a buffoon. Gorgeously shot and imaginatively directed, this is a must-see.
Leatrice Joy is hell on wheels and in a designer gown. She plays a wild heiress whose naughty ways catch up with her when she accidentally kills a police officer with her reckless driving. Her prosecutor boyfriend throws the book at her and she ends up in prison. Also, Roman orgies. Why yes, Cecil B. DeMille did direct!
Baby Peggy stars as a kidnapped tot who ends up performing at the circus. There’s a goofy detective, an ineffectual father, a cute dog and all the other expected silent kiddie comedy tropes.
A teenage Anna May Wong (in Technicolor!) is minding her own business in China when some dope washes up on the shore, induces her into a mock marriage, impregnates and abandons her. He is the good guy. Drippy riff on Madame Butterfly wastes Miss Wong.
What happens after Happily Ever After? Authors, filmmakers and columnists have all tackled that question but one of the best works examining life after the fairy tale comes from Cecil B. DeMille. An American Princess marries her chauffeur. An heir to a fortune marries the laundress. But that’s only the beginning…
Continue reading “Saturday Night (1922) A Silent Film Review”
Buster Keaton delivers a slice of demented wackiness in this snow-bound comedy. Keaton is a lusty would-be bandit with a large dose of William S. Hart mannerisms. It’s definitely one of his darker short films and is interesting in its own right but, as usual, the story behind the scenes is just as fascinating.
Professor Moriarty is up to his usual wicked tactics. This looks like a job for Sherlock Holmes! You know, that well-known college student. Wait, what? John Barrymore takes an unorthodox, romantic approach toward the famous sleuth in this long-lost silent film.
Continue reading “Sherlock Holmes (1922) A Silent Film Review”
Lorna Doone (Madge Bellamy) is a noblewoman who was kidnapped by bandits as a child. John Ridd (John Bowers) is the big-hearted farmer who rescues her. But the Doones are not about to let Lorna go so easily, especially since she is heiress to an enormous fortune. No cookies are forthcoming.
Continue reading “Lorna Doone (1922) A Silent Film Review”
Rudolf (Lewis Stone) is an Englishman on holiday in the unstable European kingdom of Ruritania. It turns out that he is a dead ringer for the soon-to-be-crowned king (also Lewis Stone). This comes in handy when the king is kidnapped by his evil brother and Rudolf must take his place to save the kingdom. A young Ramon Novarro has a star-making turn as the theatrical (and homicidal) Rupert of Hentzau.
I am pretty sure we all know the famous Alexandre Duman tale. Nice guy gets framed, finds buried treasure and then he is off for revenge. Tralalala! A very young John Gilbert stars as the vengeful count, determined to destroy the men who sent him to prison on false charges. Gilbert buckles swash (or is it swashes his buckle?) in admirable style.