Shelfie: Rudolph Valentino, Gloria Swanson, Mary Pickford and Random European Selections

I’m sharing more titles from my silent film collection. If you want to catch up on other “shelfie” posts, you can find them here.

I’m based in California, so these films are quite possibly region 1. Readers living outside the region will need to make sure they have a region-free player before grabbing one of these titles.

Beyond the Rocks (1922)

Two silent film legends, Gloria Swanson and Rudolph Valentino, came together to make this film. Thought lost for decades, it resurfaced in the Netherlands. I have the 2006 Milestone release, which also includes the 1919 Mae Murray vehicle The Delicious Little Devil. (Read my review of that film here.)

Shifting Sands/Manhandled

A Gloria Swanson double feature consisting of a 1918 picture and one from 1924, when she was a top star. There’s supposed to be a Bluray release of Manhandled later this year but I already own the 2008 Grapevine version.

Read my review of Manhandled here.

Metropolis (1927)

I’m pretty meh about this film but don’t tell anybody. I own the 2003 DVD release but it’s out of print and you’ll want the 2010 version with all the additional footage in any case.

Cabiria (1914)

If you think the epic was invented in America, you’ve got another thing coming. This 1914 Italian film was acclaimed for its scope and elegant camera pans. I have the 2000 Kino release.

Dress Parade (1927)

In addition to all my other silent film crushes, I love me some silent William Boyd. This is one of the programmers he made under the DeMille banner, a military-flavored romance co-starring Bessie Love. I have the 2007 Grapevine version.

Daddy-Long-Legs (1919)

Mary Pickford takes her character from childhood to womanhood in this delightfully light confection. Acclaimed for a reason. I have the 1999 Milestone edition.

Read my review of the film here.

Tess of the Storm Country (1922)

A remake of Pickford’s own 1914 version of the same story, this picture is silent movie tearjerking at its best. Have hankies at the ready. I own the 1999 Milestone edition.

Little Lord Fauntleroy (1921)

Mary Pickford plays both mother and son in this family picture. Yup, this is the one where one Mary Pickford character kisses the other on the cheek. I own the 2005 Milestone version.

Little Annie Rooney (1925)

Mary Pickford couldn’t find a story she like– so she wrote her own. I have the 2003 Terra Films release, which isn’t anything to write home about but is still better than anything Alpha has done.

Read my review here.

That’s enough for today but we’ll be back soon with more titles, including lots more Mary Pickford!


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  1. Kathie Wilson

    Beyond the Rocks and Daddy Long-Legs are favorites of mine. I wish someone would release a decent print of A Romance of the Redwoods. I love Elliott Dexter and thought the movie was very cute and funny. But I only got to “see” a very bad print on Youtube.

  2. gmatusk

    To the bewilderment of my friends who are SF enthusiasts, I share your “meh” attitude toward “Metropolis.” I enjoy parts of it. I guess my discontent starts with the male protagonist walking around wearing knickers. Even in the 1920s did any men walk around like that when not playing golf? I guess it does give him some sort of a playboy vibe, but it looks so silly — I suspect it was dated even back then. Then there’s the allegedly “futuristic” depiction of industrial work by showing men mindlessly straining at turning some sort of wheels on a wall — what the hell is THAT all about? It makes no sense, and it’s monotonous. I do like the female robot, however — she makes the movie worth watching.

    1. Fritzi Kramer

      Yeah, my problem is that the story is so incredibly shallow once you scrape away the scifi trappings and admittedly legendary design. When “hire an ombudsman” solves literally every issue in your story, it’s time for a new draft.

  3. Gene Zonarich

    I would love to see DeMille’s “The Dream Girl” (1916) starring Mae Murray. Those two would seem to be an unworkable combination, but the film and Murray’s performance was well-received by critics. Unfortunately, it is another “lost” film. If only C.B. had kept at least a personal copy of it (sigh).

    1. Fritzi Kramer

      I wonder if it was one of the Paramount titles he was obliged to leave behind because they thought they might sell the rights or already sold the rights (as was the case with The Arab). I do know he tried to get copies of everything before he left to start his studio.

  4. Marie Roget

    Well, that decides it: we’re watching Little Annie Rooney and and Daddy Long Legs tonight. Thanks for the Friday Night Flicks inspiration, since haven’t watched either in a good long while 🙂

  5. Emma L

    Coincidence! I bought my Grapevine Video version of Dress Parade this week! It’s a great movie, excellent DVD transfer too. The people at Grapevine do a nice job!

  6. GloriousSwanson

    Good picks and a few I haven’t seen. Eureka’s “Masters of Cinema” has a very nice Metropolis blu-ray due in September and definitely looking forward to Manhandled and Stage Struck from Kino in the near future 🙂

      1. Fritzi Kramer

        I’m not sure what their exact relationship with the Murnau Stiftung is but the MS is the source for the rights to most of the major German art film restorations and they license those rights, generally to Kino Lorber in the USA and Eureka in the UK.

  7. Scott Lueck

    I love your shelfie posts, and I especially like how you include the programmers and other lesser known films. I watch and appreciate the classics, but there’s a lot to be said for the lesser known silent films, the kind of thing you would have seen in a small town or neighborhood theater on a Thursday evening. I just watched Dress Parade the other day, and found it to be a great little film (although I may be a little biased; Bessie Love is one of my silent film crushes).

    1. Fritzi Kramer

      Thanks so much! Yes, I feel that programmers are really the key to understanding the silent era. What did the average family, courting couple or gang of kids go to see? Much though I love Caligari, it sure as heck wasn’t Caligari.

      1. Scott Lueck

        Yes, I can’t picture something like Caligari or Metropolis fitting into the run-zone-clearance marketing scheme of the studio system. Granted, most Hollywood product wound up in small theaters eventually, but I’m trying to imagine Caligari playing in my hometown theater in 1920 or 1921. It would not have gone over well.

        Saying all silent film is like Caligari or Metropolis is like saying all television is The Sopranos or Breaking Bad. There were a lot of movies in between, most of them pretty darned good.

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