Theme Month January 2014: Neighbors

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This month, I will be celebrating the U.S.’s two closest neighbors: Canada and Mexico. Who doesn’t like a little neighborly goodwill?

First, I will review films from Canadian and Mexican-born performers who made it big in Hollywood. Then, I will review silent films that were made in these countries.

Choosing which performers to feature was a huge challenge. So many wonderful actors and actresses!

Review #1: Mack Sennett in Mabel’s Dramatic Career

Silent Hollywood’s king of comedy was born in Quebec to Irish immigrants. He is famous as a producer but did you know that Mack Sennett also acted in many of his early films?

Other talented Canadians in silent cinema included Mary Pickford, Florence Lawrence, Marie Dressler, Norma Shearer, and Walter Pidgeon.

Review #2: Dolores Del Rio in The Trail of ’98

Dolores Del Rio was born in Mexico but achieved her first phase of film stardom in the United States. Billed as a “lady Valentino,” Del Rio was an actress of great sensitivity and depth. Here is one of her early starring roles, a gold prospector in Alaska.

Other talented Mexicans in silent cinema included Ramon Novarro, Gilbert Roland and Lupe Velez.

Review #3: See beautiful Canada in Back to God’s Country

The Canadian wilderness gets a love letter from this movie. Pioneering actress-writer-producer Nell Shipman wows as a heroine who must save her husband (and herself) from a man bent on melodramatic villainy.