Theme Month! November 2020: Water (On, In, Under)

Before I get started, let me just mention that my internet has been going out for 12-14 hour stretches for the past week and was out for 36 hours from Saturday night to Monday morning. In other words, my review schedule has been completely thrown for a loop but I will be posting Sunday’s review on Wednesday. A repair team is allegedly coming on Tuesday. Phew!

When I ran a poll for a theme month, Drinking, Smoking and Drugs won but Water was a strong second and so many people asked about it that I decided to go ahead and use that theme as well.

Water was always a popular theme in silent cinema. You had submarine and U-boat pictures, ocean cruise settings, underwater shots that may or may not have actually been shot underwater, South Sea romances, canoe escapes and more. And that’s not even starting on mermaids, nymphs and so forth.

In November, I will be all about rivers, lakes and the ocean and will be reviewing films from the first decade of cinema all the way to the Roaring Twenties.

As a preview, here are a few damp pictures I have already reviewed:

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1916) is a so-so Jules Verne adaptation but the genuine undersea footage is positively breathtaking. It recently received a sparkling Bluray release, so be sure to check it out.

The Black Pirate (1926) is a Technicolor wonder and used wires and clever set design to fake the underwater scenes.

The Kingdom of the Fairies (1903) is a hand-colored Méliès marvel that features extensive underwater scenes enhanced by real water and fish.

Behind the Door (1919) is a twisted WWI revenge tale involving ships, U-boats and taxidermy.

Below the Surface (1920) is about deep sea divers, confidence tricksters and a very striking shot of death and chaos in a sunken vessel.

Out of the Deep (1912) is a bizarre melodrama featuring a caped villain and underwater shots enhanced by what looks like cabbage.

The Love Flower (1920) is the movie that inspired the quip that as an actress, Carol Dempster was an excellent high diver.

The Seine Flood (1910) is real footage of the flood that submerged Paris in 1910.

The Toll of the Sea (1922) is a Technicolor take on Madame Butterfly with Anna May Wong in the lead.

Revolution in Russia (1905) is a torn-from-the-headlines retelling of the Potemkin mutiny.

I hope you enjoy all of the watery delights that await you!


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