Looking for silent film recommendations but tired of the same old same old? This is the list for you! We’re going into uncharted territory with a selection of undeservedly obscure silent films that all but guarantee you a delightful evening’s entertainment.
Do you like detective stories? Do you like quirky comedy? Do you like really, really, really quirky comedy? Then this is the movie for you!
Ivan Mosjoukine and Nathalie Lissenko’s romance in The Burning Crucible is best described as… energetic. There is something really wonderful about the wacky chase that they engage in. This time around, he has located a briefcase that she stole and she needs it back and so… Oh forget it. Just enjoy. The scene culminates with them both leaping on chairs and he stands on his head at one point. Did I mention how much I love this movie?
(You can read my review here.)
Availability: Available on DVD as part of the French Masterworks: Russian Emigres in Paris 1923-1928 box set. I cannot emphasize enough how wonderful this box is and how highly I recommend it.
This just cracks me up. The Burning Crucible is one of the maddest films to come out of the silent era, combining the zany humor of not one, but two nations, Russia and France. Poor Ivan Mosjoukine is a legendary detective who just does not know what to do about Nathalie Lissenko. She finds this hilarious. So do I. (You can read my full-length review here.)
(In real life, Mosjoukine and Lissenko were married.)
Availability: Available on DVD as part of the French Masterworks: Russian Emigres in Paris 1923-1928 box set. The phone bill can wait. Rent? Feh! They can’t evict you for a while yet. Get this box set instead.
(Note: Not actually advocating financial irresponsibility.)
I wish I had weird little picture frame windows so I can do this to people who annoy me.
“Oh, I love old movies! Like, from 2010 even!”
Shove! Slam! Ha!
“I haven’t ever seen a silent movie, nor do I wish to, but I want to make a silent movie comedy for the internet. Can you tell me how?”
Poke! Slam! Smirk!
“I have a report due on a silent movie and I don’t want to see it. Can you tell me what happens?”
Smack! Slam! Eye roll.
“I know you’re doing a Chaplin centennial celebration but I think you should just make it about Buster Keaton because he was better.”
Disclaimer: I love Keaton but some of his fans… Oh lordy! I call it Keatonocity. Basically, it is the time between any mention of Charlie Chaplin and someone showing up demanding that you mention Keaton too. It’s measured in seconds. The only silent movie fans who have ever yelled at me have been devotees of Keaton, Valentino, Lillian Gish and Carol Dempster. (Needless to say, they were not the same person.)
(The GIF is from The Burning Crucible, which everyone should see. My review is here.)
I can see this working very well at job interviews, boring parties and corporate team building retreats but, really, its usefulness is endless. What better way to perk things up?
(Obviously, this will only work if you have the nose to pull it off. Sorry, button-nosed people but we owners of aristocratic proboscises have this one sewn up.)
This is from The Burning Crucible, an extremely strange Russo-French detective comedy written and directed by its star, legendary Russian actor Ivan Mosjoukine. This is also the scene that sold me on the film. Anything this weird and wonderful deserves my undivided attention.
(You can read my review of the movie here.)
What a dramatic title! Is it about Salem witch trials? The horrors of war? Terrors unknown? Nope! It is the wacky tale of a wandering wife called Elle and the mysterious detective known only as Z, who has been charged with returning her affections to her husband. One of the oddest and most stylish films of the silent era and pretty funny to boot.
Continue reading “The Burning Crucible (1923) A Silent Film Review”