A rich fellow goes to Egypt for some sightseeing and ends up with a bride, a tomb curse broken and a deranged stalker. How was your last vacation? Pola Negri and Emil Jannings play some Svengali-meets-Dracula by way of an Egyptian tomb.
Without a doubt, this is one of the most anticipated silent film releases of the year. The Murnau Stiftung has restored a German classic, a film that has been universally praised since its was first unveiled in 1925. And then there is the little matter of the music…
An ending in search of a story, The Last Command is gorgeous to look at but hasn’t a brain in its pretty head. William Powell and Emil Jannings try their darndest but the film simply isn’t as smart or as deep as it thinks it is.
Jealousy, madness, murder, trapeze acts. Welcome to E.A. Dupont’s stylish melodrama, famous for unchaining its camera and allowing the audience to leap and spin with the acrobats.
Josef von Sternberg pairs with Emil Jannings to make a story of fiction overtaking reality. Also, the Russian Revolution. This film was one of the titles that won Jannings the very first Academy Award for best actor.
Continue reading “The Last Command (1928) 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”
We’re heading back to Germany with something that often gets described as a carnival nightmare. I’m not sure if I would go so far but it is marvelously creepy and stylish. Paul Leni (The Cat and the Canary) designed and directed this beautiful film, which takes place in a wax museum. Future Hollywood director Wilhelm (William) Dieterle is the leading man, a writer who must come up with creepy tales for the exhibit. Conrad Veidt, Werner Krauss and Emil Jannings play the wax men.
What do you get when you mix a partying husband, a wily wife, a sassy maid and a night in jail? Well, when Ernst Lubitsch directs, you get a zany comedy of marriage and romance. Much wilder and broad than his later work, this early film has plenty to offer.
Continue reading “The Merry Jail (1917) A Silent Film Review”
An author takes a job writing tales for the figures in a wax museum. What could possibly go wrong? Other than being dragged into his own nightmare world, of course.
A young author (Wilhelm Dieterle) is hired by the owner of a wax museum to write tales about his most popular figures, Haroun al Raschid, Ivan the Terrible and Jack the Ripper. Entranced by his new boss’s pretty daughter (Olga Belajeff) the author sets to work writing about the wax figures. With each new story, the author and his new friend find themselves pulled inside the progressively nightmarish worlds that he has invented.
Continue reading “Waxworks (1924) A Silent Film Review”