Ben Turpin plays a would be lothario who goes about harassing and annoying every woman he can find. The women each inflict their own form of revenge on this horrible pest, from scissors in the backside to electrocution to a pie in the face. Ah, innocent times!
Max Linder plays an amiable eccentric who is paralyzed with superstition when he breaks a mirror. His strange behavior causes his fiancée to dismiss him and he spends the rest of the film trying to leave town to forget. But does he have seven whole years of misfortune ahead of him?
A burglar attempts to rob a New York high rise but he didn’t count on angry women armed with brooms catching him in the act. Very early film from the Vitagraph company.
It’s 1899. Absinthe is the rage in France and pioneering director Alice Guy has a bit of fun with the then-stylish beverage. And a bottle of seltzer. It’s proto-slapstick!
When a well-to-do man drops his theater tickets, they are retrieved by a trio from the wrong side of the tracks. Once admitted into the swanky theater, the trio causes chaos and has an uproarious time. This picture was released by the controversial Ebony Film Corporation and was partially responsible for its downfall.
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.
Charlie Chaplin, Edna Purviance and company have a grand time in this behind-the-scenes spoof of slapstick comedy. There’s a mad bit of business with a trap door, a gang of arsonists try to blow up the studio and we get a rarity of rarities: a real pie fight!
Douglas Fairbanks plays an artist with more enthusiasm than talent and more charm than cash. When the love of his life dumps him for another, he feels he has nothing left to live for and so he hires the best assassin in New York, Automatic Joe, to help him end it all. But then Doug changes his mind and that’s where the trouble begins.
A violent and surreal (and FUNNY) comedy from director Jean Durand. Forgotten French comedian Ernest Bourbon stars as Onésime, who has managed to create an exact double of himself. When the double’s antics prove troublesome, Onésime decides that drastic measures are called for.
Continue reading “Onésime vs. Onésime (1912) A Silent Film Review”
Mabel Normand stars as a lively young lady who is dating a race car driver. Charlie Chaplin plays a caddish motorcyclist who decides to rain on the young couple’s parade by kidnapping the driver just before his big race. Well, you can probably guess what happens next based on the title of this film…
Stan Laurel is hired by Priscilla Dean to romance her and make her husband jealous. Stan’s career as a lothario is hampered by the family butler (Oliver Hardy), a violent bully who intends to get rid of the interloper by any means necessary.
Harry Langdon is a hapless doughboy who does not realize the First World War has ended (he escaped from a POW camp during an armistice celebration) and means to continue the battle in the middle of a Central Europe. As it happens the ruler of this particular country looks just like Harry. Hmm, I wonder what will come of this?
Continue reading “Soldier Man (1926) A Silent Film Review”
French charmer Max Linder is in trouble again! This time, he is trying to have a bit of winter fun with his ice skates. Silly Max. It’s fun to see a groundbreaking comedian in one of his earliest films as his signature character.
Continue reading “Max Learns to Skate (1907) A Silent Film Review”
W.C. Fields entered the motion pictures a century ago with this pool hall comedy about two romantic rivals settling their score over a not-so-friendly game. Broad slapstick and stop-motion animation blend to create an interesting debut for a legendary funnyman.
Continue reading “Pool Sharks (1915) A Silent Film Review”
Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Drew bring their signature subtlety to this charming little comedy about a May-December marriage and the problems that come when the wife of the union catches the terrifying foxtrot-itis. Will Sidney’s feet survive this dance craze?
Continue reading “Fox Trot Finesse (1915) A Silent Film Review”
Douglas Fairbanks stars as a dope-addled detective named Coke Ennyday (Get it? Get it?) who must uncover who is smuggling opium into the country. Seems like a conflict of interest but there you have it. Bessie Love co-stars as the young woman in charge of inflating those famous leaping fish. No, none of this makes any more sense in the film itself.
Continue reading “The Mystery of the Leaping Fish (1916) A Silent Film Review”
Mabel Normand is imperiled by Ford Sterling yet again and it’s up to Mack Sennett to save the day with a little help from famous racecar driver Barney Oldfield. This zany comedy makes use of a very old cliché… and that’s where things get sticky. Time for some myth-busting.
Continue reading “Barney Oldfield’s Race for a Life (1913) A Silent Film Review”
Fresh off his wildly successful debut opposite Chaplin in The Kid, Jack Coogan starred in an adaptation of the popular Peck’s Bad Boy stories, which concerns the antics of a child who can charitably be described as the devil’s spawn. If this film proves one thing, it’s that our definition of a “bad boy” has changed enormously since 1921.
I will also be reviewing the 1934 remake starring Jackie Cooper and Thomas Meighan. Click here for the talkie.
This post is part of the They Remade What?! Blogathon. Read the other great posts here.
Continue reading “Peck’s Bad Boy (1921) A Silent Film Review”
In order to make his father look younger for his date, Lupino Lane consents to dressing up as a child. Things are complicated by the fact that the girl of his dreams just happens to be the daughter of his dad’s date—and she thinks he’s just a cute little boy.
This is part of the See You in the Fall Blogathon, be sure to check out the other great posts!
Continue reading “Naughty Boy (1927) A Silent Film Review”
Rod La Rocque takes on Fairbanks in this incredibly strange pirate spoof. Mildred Harris is an heiress on the run when it turns out that the only copy of a valuable document is written on her back. Snitz Edwards is her evil uncle and spends the movie chasing her with a sponge. And then Rod and Mildred inadvertently declare war on the United States… Yeah, it’s a strange one.
Continue reading “The Cruise of the Jasper B (1926) A Silent Film Review”
Chronically unfunny “comedian” George K. Arthur plays a boob (in the bumpkin sense, not the anatomical one) who loses his best girl to a smooth bootlegger. Chaos ensues but the main draw is a very young Joan Crawford as the federal agent on the case.
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.
The charming Max Linder has a fashion disaster on the way to his own wedding and ends up shoeless. With no proper replacements available, Max must convince the Parisian smart set that the grungy worker boots he is wearing are actually the latest style.
Continue reading “Max Sets the Style (1914) A Silent Film Review”
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.
Ivan Mosjoukine plays a dashing officer who wants to make time with his girlfriend. Her strict mother will not hear of it and so the young lovers come up with a plan. Mosjoukine shaves his mustache, slips into a dress and gets hired as the family’s new cook. A delightfully zany farce based on a poem by Pushkin.
Continue reading “The House in Kolomna (1913) A Silent Film Review”
Antosha (Antoni Fertner) takes his wife’s absence as an opportunity to throw a wild party. How wild is it? Well, at the end, one of the guests leaves behind her corset. The rest of the short concerns Antosha’s attempts to rid himself of the incriminating undergarment before his wife comes home.
Marion Davies’ gift for zaniness and mimicry are put to good use in this family comedy. Davies is Pat, the patsy of her family. Her mother (Marie Dressler) prefers her more sophisticated sister and Pat always has to take second place. But what will happen when both daughters fall for the same man? Zaniness, of course!
Hell hath no fury like Ford Sterling scorned and he comes up with a doozy of a revenge plot in this Keystone classic. This anarchic bit of fun is one of the wackiest films from a famously wacky studio and it also manages to make movie history with its (reportedly) clever use of a scheduled lake draining to create its messy climax.
Marion Davies is a wacky Dutch maiden who dreams of romance. Of course, everything goes wrong in the zaniest way possible, that’s a given. Owen Moore is on hand as the Irish tourist who wins our heroine’s heart but Karl Dane and Louise Fazenda easily steal the show as the film’s secondary couple.
Laurel and Hardy gets jobs at a swanky hotel and they perform them with precision and competence. Hee hee! Nope! They make a dog’s dinner of the whole thing and a good number of extras and supporting actors end up either face down in the mud or with what we like to call a wardrobe malfunction. One of the victims is a teenage, pre-fame Jean Harlow.