Questions from the Google: No, I will not do your homework for you

Milton Sills and I take a dim view of cheaters. (via

Sometimes during school year, I get search engine queries that are less about silent films and more about “oh no! my report is due tomorrow and I haven’t even read the book/seen the movie/researched the topic!”

Let me just mention one thing before we begin: I have helped students with projects and have answered their questions or directed them to resources. I’m glad to do it. What I object to are queries that are probably intended for the Copy/Paste/Turn In/Pray the Teacher Doesn’t Check For Plagiarism types.

Here are some of the more egregious examples:

Describe Jimmy Valentine with the information from the story. Use these words and expressions and your own ideas.

See what happens when you plagiarize term papers? (via

Oh boy.

Do you know how long the original story of Jimmy Valentine is? Eight and a half tiny pages. If you can’t manage to read that, you have a lot more problems than failing a class.

I certainly hope this student’s instructor was using Turnitin or some similar service.

How does Byke try to kill Snorkey?

I dare you to read those names without laughing! It actually refers to the 1867 play Under the Gaslight, which is best remembered for coining the tied-to-the-tracks cliche. In this case, Byke ties Snorkey to the tracks (mwahahaha) but the hapless fellow is saved by a brave young lady.

What are the themes of the Great Train Robbery 1903?

Robbery. Oh, and trains. Great ones.

Why does Don Jose join the smuggler band of gypsies?

I think I will let Charlie Chaplin tell the story.

First, there was this:

Hey there, big boy.
Hey there, big boy.

Then this:

Some 'splaining to do.
Some ‘splaining to do.

And this:



I killed him. Whoopsy.
I killed him. Whoopsy.

And, finally, this:

A dumped smuggler.
A dumped smuggler.


Tone of the author Anthony Hope in The Prisoner of Zenda?

Anthony Hope himself. (via Wikipedia)

Well, his stiff collar, waistcoat and wool coat make it impossible to know for sure but he looks pretty fit and toned to me. There seem to be no shirtless pictures of Mr. Hope floating around the internet so I will withhold judgement until they surface. Oh, and I am not sure if this picture was taken when he was writing Zenda.

This cracks me up because it is totally how I used to sew when I was a kid. Animated GIF


I loved to sew when I was a kid. No sheet or tablecloth was safe! I was sure to snip it up and turn it into a costume for myself or my dolls. My mother was shockingly tolerant of this behavior. It could not have been easy to have a constant costume surplus and sheet shortage. (I still do a bit of costume sewing on the side, though I have not made anything in a while.) We were also indulged in our love of grasshoppers, lizards, fossils, trains, dinosaurs, books and DuckTales.

When you’re a kid, threading a needle can be a challenge. To avoid the dreaded chore, I would load the needle with as much thread as possible. Longer than my arm sometimes. Ah, those were the days!

(The GIF is from Alias Jimmy Valentine)

I have no idea what “a little polite hell” means but I plan to quote it. Animated GIF


Things are getting blustery in the 1915 film Alias Jimmy Valentine. Our hero, Jimmy, has convinced a high mucky-muck that he is as innocent and pure as the driven snow. In fact, he is a safecracker who has whacked on of his own gang. Yes, he is indeed the hero. I love 1915. In any case, said official goes on a rant that I found rather amusing,

You can read my review of the film here.

Don’t be trying to foist off one of your itty-bitty beer glasses on ME, sir! This is America and I demand supersizing! Animated GIF


He laughs at the beer glasses in this hick town. Honestly, the nerve of some people!

Alias Jimmy Valentine is a pretty serious movie overall, what with its emphasis on robbery, death and redemption. However, it is not without its little humorous passages.

You can read my full review of the film here.


Alias Jimmy Valentine is available on DVD as part of a box set.

Alias Jimmy Valentine (1915) A Silent Film Review

Jimmy Valentine (Robert Warwick) belongs to a gang of bank-robbers– his job is to crack safes and he is the best in the business. After a stint in Sing Sing, however, Jimmy sees the error of his ways and decides to live an honest life. However, his old nemesis Doyle (Robert Cummings), a surly detective, has a chance to haul Jimmy in on an old charge. Will Jimmy’s life of honesty go to waste? Or will he be able to bluff his way to freedom?

Continue reading “Alias Jimmy Valentine (1915) A Silent Film Review”