James Parrott is a fire extinguisher salesman who needs to join a secret society in order to sell one of his advanced extinguishers. (It’s a long story.) The initiation is, well, a bit fiery… Jobyna Ralston is on hand as the leading lady who dreams of trombone-playing stardom.Continue reading “Are Parents Pickles (1925) A Silent Film Review”
Norma Shearer takes on two roles in this mild-mannered “how the other half lives” picture: Molly the lady of the night and Florence, a judge’s daughter and demure as can be. Naturally, both young ladies fall for the same fella but who will win his heart?Continue reading “Lady of the Night (1925) A Silent Film Review”
Clara Bow plays the baby vamp of Prescott College, who spends her time partying and drinking and dancing and romancing Donald Keith, the star athlete who was told to steer clear of such temptations. But flappers will be flappers.Continue reading “The Plastic Age (1925) A Silent Film Review”
Ivor Novello plays the Rat, a Parisian Apache with a thing for pearls, knives and Odile (Mae Marsh), his platonic (or is she?) roommate. When a group of slumming swells invade the Rat’s haunt, romance and murder follow, as they always do in these pictures.Continue reading “The Rat (1925) A Silent Film Review”
Harry Langdon plays a college sap who just wants to marry the girl of his dreams but is blocked at every turn by his woman-hating uncle, a chief in the local fire department. Will little Harry find love at last or will his dreams go up in smoke?Continue reading “His First Flame (1927) A Silent Film Review”
Menahem Mendl, a Jewish man living in pre-Revolution Russia,has a large family and not much money but he does have an abundance of ideasfor get rich quick schemes. From selling corsets to insurance to brides, Mendl’splans are ambitious but never quite turn out the way he intends.Continue reading “Jewish Luck (1925) A Silent Film Review”
Rin-Tin-Tin stars as the leader of a wolfpack (!) who helps a baby Charles Farrell stake out his borax claim. Location shooting and finecinematography elevate this doggy vehicle.Continue reading “Clash of the Wolves (1925) A Silent Film Review”
Harry Carey plays a western sheriff who heads to San Francisco to collect his inheritance. While there, he falls in love with a sexy cat burglar (Lillian Rich) and infiltrates her gang so that they can get hitched, as one does.Continue reading “Soft Shoes (1925) A Silent Film Review”
American businessman Mr. West (Porfiri Podobed) has business in Russia but is terrified of the Bolsheviks. A gang of confidence tricksters (led by Vsevolod Pudovkin) use this paranoia to their advantage and try to drain him dry. A broad farce from Lev Kuleshov.
Rich kid and racecar driver Reginald Denny is late to his own wedding and that’s just the start of his problems. Well and truly dumped by Gertrude Olmstead, he heads out to California and the auto races being held there.
A rather strange film about a yachtsman who discovers that the woman he loves is about to marry another… so he bandages his face and tricks her into marrying him instead? Mm-kay. This is one of those Sheik pictures, isn’t it?
Oscar Wilde meets Ernst Lubitsch in this witty society comedy. Lubitsch’s decision to jettison Wilde’s dialogue may raise some eyebrows but the Wilde spirit is intact and smart performances from Irene Rich and Ronald Colman are the icing on the cake.
Stan Laurel pokes fun at the ever-popular Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, terrorizing the English urban landscape with a pea shooter, a party streamer and a finger trap.
Felix is having trouble making ends meet in the modern world (trash has entirely few bones for a start) and so he asked Father Time to send him to another era. However, a stint in prehistoric days soon has our bold tuxedo cat ready to return to the Jazz Age.
Adolphe Menjou and Florence Vidor are a couple of rich swells in the midst of a divorce, much to the horror of their only child (Betty Bronson). She conspires to get her parents back together with the help of a doctor and a movie star.
Chile’s most famous silent film, this is the story of freedom fighter Manuel Rodriguez and his guerilla war against royalist forced during Chile’s war for independence.
Lon Chaney plays a ventriloquist-turned-criminal who joins forces with two other sideshow performers to open a pet shop and steal jewels. Just go with it. Chaney reunited with director Tod Browning for this strange crime drama.
Paul Robeson makes his film debut in this Oscar Micheaux melodrama. Robeson plays dual roles: a horrible convict posing as a preacher and his sweet twin brother, a would be inventor. Micheaux’s signature pointed social commentary is on display in this rare surviving film from his silent career.
Harry Carey plays a cowpoke who turns to a life of crime after his sister kills herself. His only clue to the identity of the man who drove her to it is a twisted cigar butt so Harry naturally starts holding up saloons and stealing their ashtrays. Wait, what?
Religion. Politics. Chariot races. Pirates. Ben-Hur the novel has all the ingredients to make a great film. The 1959 version is the most famous but the 1925 film is the one that got it right. Big, beautiful and an epic’s epic, what’s not to love?
Continue reading “Ben-Hur (1925) A Silent Film Review”
Director E.A. Dupont’s flashy tale of revenge, jealousy and murder made the entire world go mad for the unchained camera (courtesy of cinematographer Karl Freund) and the intense performance of Emil Jannings. Sliced to ribbons by the censors upon its initial release, Variety has recently been restored to more or less complete form.
Continue reading “Variety (1925) A Silent Film Review”
Charlie Chaplin’s iconic comedy of the Alaskan Gold Rush has charmed audiences for decades but most people have seen the 1942 recut. How does it measure up to the 1925 original? We’re going to examine the film’s continuing appeal and the differences between the two releases.
Richard Dix stars as a male model who wins a luxury car in a raffle. That’s good! But the car is cursed and will bring nothing but trouble when either police or women are around. That’s bad! Can Dix overcome the car’s “hoodoo” and win the heart of his lady love? An amiable car race comedy from back when that genre was a thing.
Constance Talmadge is married to Ronald Colman. While some women would kill for that problem, Connie is all set to run home to mother. She changes her mind when she has a chance meeting with her identical twin sister, a famous and famously sexy dancer. The women trade places and poor Ronald has no idea what hit him.
Continue reading “Her Sister from Paris (1925) A Silent Film Review”
A Jewish family living in New York must cope with an empty nest when their two sons leave home, one to be a lawyer and the other, much to his father’s chagrin, to be a boxer. A modernized Jacob and Esau tale, this sensitive film is also one of the finest family dramas to come out of the silent era.
Continue reading “His People (1925) A Silent Film Review”
Here’s a movie that no one really wanted to make. Its production was troubled from the very beginning. From professional spats to last-minute recuts and reshoots, it had disaster written across it. So how did this hellish production end up as one of the most iconic and memorable horror films of all time? Does it live up to its reputation? Is it worth seeing for the casual viewer? We are going to engage in a little silent movie archaeology in order to find out.
One of the most famous silent films ever made, one that gets shown time and again in art history classes. Yet, most of us have never seen it in its original form. Decades of censorship, re-editing and other tinkering have resulted in a slow, disjointed motion picture. Now that it has been restored, prepare yourself for a revelation.
Continue reading “Battleship Potemkin (1925) A Silent Film Review”
Mysterious events are afoot in the tiny town of Danburg. Unexplained accidents, missing persons, an abandoned sanitarium… Our nebbish hero is a would-be detective who is determined to get to the bottom of things. He gets more than he bargained for when he runs into Dr. Ziska, played by none other than Lon Chaney.
Continue reading “The Monster (1925) A Silent Film Review”
Mr. A.J. Raffles is a champion cricket player who does the odd burglary on the side. Just for sport, don’t you know, old thing? House Peters takes the lead and is supported by Hedda Hopper, among others. The inferior remake of the 1917 Barrymore version, which itself was not perfect.
A sort of orphanage-western-drama-comedy, Zander the Great was one of Marion Davies’ big hits and her first film for the newly-merged MGM. She is an orphan who takes in a small boy and then sets out for Arizona in search of his father, who may or may not be a bootlegger. On the way, she meets Harrison Ford, who really is a bootlegger. A darling bit of fluff from the pen of Frances Marion.