Sidney Olcott and Gene Gauntier led an American film troupe to film the life of Christ on location in Egypt and locations throughout the once and future Israel. The result was a hit but the behind-the-scenes story is deserves some attention of its own.
What do you do to set your movie apart in a crowded market? If you worked for Kalem, you went overseas! This film is significant as it is believed to be the first fiction film shot in Ireland. The local color elevates this immigrant melodrama and makes it a must-see for history nerds.
A real murder in nineteenth century Ireland formed the basis for a novel, a play and this motion picture. It’s a darker, more twisted Cinderella variation with the poor girl marrying the rich boy but finding herself caught in a whirlwind of love, lust, ambition and greed. Prime melodrama, in other words.
When the trailer for the new Ben-Hur was released, the internet went a little silly. There were people complaining that the classic 1959 version was being remade (scandal!) and then there were people who pointed out that the beloved Charlton Heston flick was itself a remake. (Guess which club I belonged to.)
Marion Davies stars as an impoverished Irishwoman who takes her brother’s identity in order to gain an inheritance in America. Supposedly, the story is about the pioneering commercial steam ship industry but we all know that Marion is the real draw.
We’re back to Ireland but the sweet and innocent romances have been replaced with calls for armed uprising. This mini feature is almost as notable for its backstage drama as it is for its somewhat threadbare story. This was the last stand of the filmmaking team affectionately nicknamed The O’Kalems.
Continue reading “For Ireland’s Sake (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”
The first fiction film shot in Ireland, this film tells the tale of an Irish fellow who makes good in America but must rush home to save his lady love from the terrible rent man. (Yes, they dusted off that old chestnut.) A story rife with tropes but boasting gorgeous scenery, this historic short continues to charm.
Continue reading “The Lad from Old Ireland (1910) A Silent Film Review”