Gypsy Blood (1918) A Silent Film Review

One of Pola Negri’s earliest collaborations with Ernst Lubitsch and a major critical and commercial hit for them both, this film tells the famous tale of Carmen and her doomed romance. How will our dynamic duo make this story their own? Negri’s signature combination of sexiness, warmth and humor is on full display at this early date but the Lubitsch touch is still in its infancy.

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This is pretty much how 90% of discussions about silent movie comedians end up, Animated GIF


It has happened to all of us. We are going along, minding our own business when we accidentally step in it. What “it” is depends on who you are talking to. Maybe you expressed admiration for Chaplin in front of fans of that other comedian.* Maybe you accidentally said that their favorite movie was stupid. Whatever it was, the fight is on.

This is from The Merry Jail, which features Kitty Dewall and the ever-dapper Harry Liedtke and is directed by Ernst Lubitsch. If you think German films are all dour and humorless, this might change your mind. (You can read my review here.)

*For the record, I do love Buster Keaton but I find that a vocal 5% of his fans are incredibly obnoxious, bashing Chaplin whenever they get the chance. The Keaton vs. Chaplin thing, like cats vs. dogs and Kirk vs. Picard, is horribly tedious to those of us who prefer less emotion in our discussions. Inside voices, people, inside voices. If it gets bad enough, less combative folks may finally lose it and emulate Clara Bow in Parisian Love:


Forgive me for bringing up this topic again. I just saw someone pull the “Keaton was better and I’m right and you’re wrong!” thing– in response to someone else saying that one’s preferred comedian is a matter of taste! Point missed, I think.


The Oyster Princess (1919) A Silent Film Review

Ossi’s father is the Oyster King of America and she has decided that she deserves nothing less than a  European prince. Nucki is the penniless prince in question but a few cases of mistaken identity later, all plans are in shambles. Hidden amongst the the wacky hijinks is some pointed social commentary courtesy of director Ernst Lubitsch.

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