This towering cinematic achievement is easily one of the greatest examples of silent era hokum that I have ever experienced. Joseph Schildkraut and Norma Talmadge are star-crossed lovers in Northern Africa wearing very silly clothes. I am entranced.
A rather strange film about a yachtsman who discovers that the woman he loves is about to marry another… so he bandages his face and tricks her into marrying him instead? Mm-kay. This is one of those Sheik pictures, isn’t it?
The prince of a Balkan kingdom decides that royalty is for the birds and so he runs away to San Francisco and falls in love with a barroom singer named Fluffy. As one does. Basically a gender-reversed Roman Holiday, if that’s your cup of tea.
This Russian émigré production is a visual feast thanks to gorgeous sets and the location filming in Tunisia. It’s the familiar tale of a certain young woman and her rare talent for creating cliffhangers…
Ivan Mosjoukine takes the title role in this biopic of legendary English Shakespearean actor Edmund Kean, whose brilliance on the stage was undercut by his eccentric and self-destructive personal life. Yet another example of the astonishing films being made by the Russian emigres who fled their country’s political turmoil for the relative safety of Paris.
Bessie Love is an American college girl who discovers that she is the heiress to a fortune in an obscure little kingdom. While enjoying a last fling in Paris before her inevitable arranged marriage, she runs in Joseph Schildkraut, who is also enjoying a last fling in Paris before his inevitable arranged marriage. I wonder what will come of this.
Continue reading “Young April (1926) A Silent Film Review”
Celebrity power couple Francis X. Bushman and Beverly Bayne play a pair of lovers caught in royal intrigue in this Ruritanian romance. He’s a nice American fellow who offers to take his friend’s place in an arranged marriage. What could possibly go wrong?
Continue reading “Under Royal Patronage (1914) A Silent Film Review”
A highly romanticized look at old Ireland with all the fairy tale trimmings, this film was the result of the Kalem film company’s second Irish jaunt. The product is more polished but the goal was the same: provide a nostalgic and sweet look at the old country for the Irish in America.
Continue reading “You Remember Ellen (1912) A Silent Film Review”
An abused waif, a handsome prince and a tiny glass slipper. I think pretty much everyone is familiar with this one. One of the most famous fairy tales of them all is given the Mary Pickford touch in this 1914 fantasy. Her Prince Charming is played by Owen Moore. In real life, he was anything but.
Continue reading “Cinderella (1914) A Silent Film Review”
Erich von Stroheim turned his singular talents to a classic operetta and the resulting film was the biggest hit of his career. It’s all about central European royalty (natch), an empty treasury and an extremely wealthy widow. I can’t imagine what will come of this.
Continue reading “The Merry Widow (1925) A Silent Film Review”
Mary Pickford is a naive city girl who journeys out to the redwoods to live with her uncle. What she doesn’t know is that her uncle is dead and a bandit (Elliott Dexter) has borrowed his identity as cover for his stagecoach robberies. The pair form an uneasy alliance. Mary has nowhere else to go and Elliott doesn’t dare let her leave since she can blow his cover. That romance in the title? Well, with a city girl and a bandit sharing digs, what do you think will happen?
Continue reading “A Romance of the Redwoods (1917) A Silent Film Review”
Lorna Doone (Madge Bellamy) is a noblewoman who was kidnapped by bandits as a child. John Ridd (John Bowers) is the big-hearted farmer who rescues her. But the Doones are not about to let Lorna go so easily, especially since she is heiress to an enormous fortune. No cookies are forthcoming.
Continue reading “Lorna Doone (1922) A Silent Film Review”
John Barrymore takes on the role of one of history’s great lovers. Raised to be a libertine, Don Juan romances his way across Europe until he ends up in Rome and runs into something completely different: a nice girl (Mary Astor). Unfortunately, she is promised in marriage to a Borgia. I think a little action is called for.
Continue reading “Don Juan (1926) A Silent Film Review”
Rudolph Valentino finally came up with the perfect movie formula in this 1925 hit: Action Lover. Valentino is a fun-loving Cossack who turns down the advances of the Czarina. Forced on the run, he takes the opportunity to seek revenge against his father’s enemy. And wouldntcha know it, that enemy just happens to have a beautiful daughter.
Continue reading “The Eagle (1925) A Silent Film Review”
Valentino went back to the old Middle East well one more time. Ahmed, the son of the title character of The Sheik, loves a dancer named Yasmin. After coming to believe that she betrayed him to bandits, Ahmed seeks revenge. Valentino-style. Valentino’s final screen appearance is also one of his best.
Continue reading “Son of the Sheik (1926) A Silent Film Review”
Mayme (Norma Talmadge) can’t keep a job. She’s far too pretty, you see, and the bosses won’t leave her alone. Meanwhile, the de Puyster family can’t keep a secretary. They’re far too pretty and get married. You can see where this one is going. Erich von Stroheim supports as a paparazzo. Light-hearted fun but questionable gender politics.
Continue reading “The Social Secretary (1916) A Silent Film Review”
He’s a sheik. She wears chic clothes. He lives in a tent. She lives in a manor. He fights enemy tribes. She fights hat hair. Getting a date with her is out of the question.
Backup plan: Abduction. Obviously.