Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Cat and the Canary - 1927

American movie. Vintage horror film from 1927. Rich old Cyrus West's relatives are waiting for him to die so they can inherit his fortune, but he stipulates that his will be read 20 years after his death.
*This film is silent with no orchestral track

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Faust (1926, Germany)

Faust was the mammoth German production which won F. W. Murnau his contract with Hollywood's Fox Studios. Emil Jannings glowers his way through the role of Mephistopholes, who offers the aging Faust (Gosta Eckman) an opportunity to relive his youth, the price being Faust's soul. Though highly stylized, the film is unsettlingly realistic at times, especially during the execution of the unfortunate Gretchen. Even in old age, actress Camilla Horn could recall how close she came to genuine immolation when Murnau burned her at the stake. An American version of Faust had been planned earlier as a Mary Pickford vehicle, but Pickford's mother wanted no part of a film in which her darling daughter strangled her own baby. The scenario for Faust touches lightly upon the previous retellings by Goethe and Marlowe, but is more heavily reliant on the paintings of Pietr Breughel.

Slippery Jim - 1910

Ferdinand Zecca (1864 in Paris -- March 6, 1947 in Paris) was an early French film director.
Zecca was a cafe entertainer, playing the cornet, before switching to film in his mid-30s. His first film credit, Le Muet mélomane (1899), was the film version of a musical fantasy which he and a colleague named Charlus performed in Parisian cafés at the time.
At the Paris World Fair (Exposition Universelle) in 1900, French film manufacturer, Charles Pathé, hired Zecca to assist him in setting up his pavilion. Zecca did so well that Pathé hired him as assistant to the director of his film factory in Vincennes.

A Romance of the Rail - 1903

A 4:30 American film by the Edison Manufacturing Company from 1903.

An Otter Study (1912, United Kingdom)

Watching this recently unearthed treasure is all the more amazing when you realise the footage itself was shot as long ago as 1912. The surviving version of the film you see here was re-edited in the 1920s and titled The Otter, with a final hunting scene removed. Intertitles tell us all about the habits of this fascinating creature, alongside the first known shots of an otter swimming underwater. We even get to see the cameramen setting up their special tank in the river for filming these scenes.

A Florida Enchantment - 1914

Three and a half minute condensation of the Vitagraph film "A Florida Enchantment", produced and directed by Sidney Drew, starring Sidney Drew, Edith Storey, and Jane Morrow.
The film was shot on location in Saint Augustine, Florida. The story is taken from the Archibald Clavering Gunter novel of the same name. It was the second Gunter novel Vitagraph adapted to the screen, the first being "Mr. Barnes of New York" with Maurice Costello. "A Florida Enchantment" was first shown at the Vitagraph Theatre on the 10th of August, 1914.
Although well remembered today, at the time it was critically panned and a commercial failure (in large part because, when filming began in April of 1914, it was expected to do well in Europe, but World War I broke out before it was ready for release and Vitagraph lost more than half of its market).
The full-length film is available on DVD and this abridgment can be purchased on Super 8mm.

Cripple Creek Bar-room Scene - 1899

USA. One of Edison's early 19th century films.

Terrible Teddy, the Grizzly King - 1901

Dance, Franchonetti Sisters - 1903

Three young women with dark, curly hair stand on a stage with a black background and patterned carpet or tile underfoot. They wear tights, ballet shoes, and frilly dresses to the knee with multiple petticoats and ruffled drawers. They begin by raising their right legs up by their heads, and then perform a dance with a variety of kicks and leg movements, their hands either in the air or pulling up their skirts. The sisters also grab their right legs again and hop in a circle, then do cartwheels and land on the floor in the splits. Jumping back to their feet, the women twirl in circles and around each other in circles in what appears to be a type of pirouette, while holding up their skirts and showing their bloomers in a manner similar to the cancan.
From Biograph picture catalogue: 22 feet. The French quadrille dance by a popular team of vaudeville artists.
United States: American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, 1903.
Copyright: American Mutoscope & Biograph Co.; 24Apr1903; H30723.
Performers: Franchonetti Sisters.
Filmed in the Biograph New York City studio.
Quadrille (Dance)--United States.
Dance--United States.
Dancers--United States.
Silent films.
Franchonetti Sisters.
American Mutoscope and Biograph Company.
Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)

A Wake in "Hell's Kitchen" - 1900

Takes place on a rather plain room set, with a single religious picture and a coat hanging from the plain, white walls. An open coffin sits in the center of the room, with its lid leaning against the back wall. An older, grey-haired woman--presumably the widow--stands holding a bunch of flowers to the left of the coffin, wailing and wiping away her tears with her apron. On the other side of the coffin sit two male mourners in three-piece suits, drinking beer. As the two men talk and light a pipe and the woman turns away in her grief, the occupant of the coffin--an older, balding man--sits up and looks around. He spies a large mug of beer to the side, picks it up, drinks all of the ale, and lies back down. When the woman places her flowers in the coffin, she notices the empty mug and questions the two mourners. The three engage in a heated argument, during which the ""corpse"" throws the flowers out of the coffin. Seeing this, the woman falls in a faint. In their hurry to get away, the two men knock over the coffin, spilling the supposed deceased on top of the woman.
From Biograph picture catalogue, Nov. 1902 [MI], p. 39: 30 feet. This scene is laid in the parlor of a New York tenement. Two watchers at the wake are smoking and drinking, while the widow is weeping over the coffin. The attention of the three is attracted for an instant, and the supposed corpse rises up, drinks all the beer in the pitcher which is standing on a table nearby, and lies down in the coffin again. The mourners return, and seeing that the beer is gone, engage in a controversy over it. During the scrap the corpse jumps out of the coffin and takes part in the melee.
United States: American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, [1900?]
Copyright: American Mutoscope & Biograph Co.; 12June1903; H32563.
Camera, Arthur Marvin.
Filmed July 26, 1900, on the roof of the Biograph New York City studio.
Wake services--New York (State)--New York--Drama.
Death, Apparent--Drama.
Hell's Kitchen (New York, N.Y.)--Drama.
Coffins--New York (State)--New York--Drama.
Mourning customs--New York (State)--New York--Drama.
Drinking of alcoholic beverages--New York (State)--New York--Drama.
Beer--New York (State)--New York--Drama.
Silent films.
Marvin, Arthur W., 1861-1911, camera.
American Mutoscope and Biograph Company.
Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Old Man Drinking a Glass of Beer - 1897

Tom Green was a comedian and arranger of pantomime harlequinades at the Brighton Aquarium, where it is likely he ran into director G.A. Smith as he exhibited his early films. Smith employed Mr. and Mrs. Green to perform in his comedies at 10 shillings a time.
In this film, Green is on his own performing what is known as a 'facial', that is a piece direct to camera showing changing facial expressions. The ability to get close up to the star was a great advantage that film had over the stage and early filmmakers were keen to exploit it. Here Tom Green quaffs a glass of beer and gets progressively drunker and more leery. (Bryony Dixon)

The World's First Caterpillar Track (1908, UK)

(The only surviving materials of this title feature German intertitles).
Mud has defeated many a conquering army. In the days of horse-drawn transport or ponderous and hugely heavy steam-powered engines, R. Hornsby and Sons nippy little petrol-driven caterpillar track must have seemed like the technological development of the century.
In this promotional film, shot in Grantham, Lincolnshire and delivered by the company in a spirit of optimism reminiscent of an edition of 'Tomorrow's World', the little vehicle is put through its paces, making light of its load over clay, mud, soft sand, marshy land and streams. It leaves the horse-drawn load stuck in a bog, and ends the display turning gleefully on the spot in a celebration of manoeuvrability.
7 or 8 years later, could years of trench warfare have been shortened if the engineers had been encouraged by the British military? (Bryony Dixon)

Dreams of Toyland (1908, UK)

This is quite a creative little film, but it doesn't really go anywhere, At eight minutes long it has just four scenes; the first shows a small boy and his mother entering a toyshop where an attentive shopkeeper shows the excited boy a variety of toys. This scene seems to go on forever, and is unfortunately marred by the fact that the boy stares directly at the screen as if the director is issuing an instruction to him. Then, when mother and son leave the shop, people can be seen peeping from neighbouring shop doorways. The following scene shows the boy being put to bed and we are immediately shown the dream he has about all the toys his mother has bought for him. It has to be said that this kid seems to have some kind of anger management issues judging by the things the residents of Toyland get up to in his dream. Golliwogs and bears wrestle on the floor, dolls are run over by buses, other dolls are sat on by a horse while one unfortunate chap is pecked by a goose in the most painful area imaginable .
This is a pretty good example of a filmmaker mastering a process (stop-motion) and then putting it to use into a film without giving any real thought as to how to make the best use of the process.

The Thieving Hand - 1908

Country: USA
Language: English
Release Date: 1 February 1908 (USA)
Company Credits
Technical Specs
Runtime: 5 min  | USA: 5 min (16 fps)
Sound Mix: Silent
Aspect Ratio: 1.33 : 1
A one-armed street peddler notices that a well-to-do man has dropped his ring, and the peddler returns it to him. The wealthy man is very grateful, and to show his appreciation he takes the peddler to a 'Limb Store', where he pays for a new arm to be attached where his own is missing. But the man soon finds out that his new arm seems to have a will of its own, as it does some things that cause him considerable embarrassment.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Le roman de Max - (1912, France)

Max and a lady's shoes fall in love and this brings them together. Excerpt from Le roman de Max, 1912, as seen in the documentary The Man In The Silk Hat.

The Frozen North - 1922

American movie. The Frozen North is a 1922 short comedy film directed by and starring Buster Keaton. The film was written by Keaton and Edward F. Cline (credited as Eddie Cline). The film runs for around 17 minutes. Sybil Seely and Bonnie Hill are co-stars in the film.
Directors: Edward F. Cline, Buster Keaton
Writers: Edward F. Cline, Buster Keaton
Stars: Buster Keaton, Joe Roberts and Sybil Seely

Lady Windermere's Fan -1916

Director: Fred Paul
Writer: Oscar Wilde (play)
Stars: Milton Rosmer, Netta Westcott and Nigel Playfair
American movie. Aside from his appearances as Sherlock Holmes, few of Arthur Wontner's other acting chores are available on DVD. One important exception is his first film, "Lady Windermere's Fan" (released in July 1916, four months before "The Bigamist", which is often incorrectly listed as his first movie role) in which he plays Lord Darlington (the part enacted by Ronald Colman in the 1925 version, and by George Sanders in the 1949). In the 1916 take, the Darlington role, though important, is accorded much less footage. Wontner is okay, but is given few opportunities to showcase his skills. It is the matronly Irene Rooke (as Mrs Margaret Erlynne) who walks away with the film's limited acting honors, closely followed by her admirer, Nigel Playfair (as Tuppy Lorton). Neither Netta Westcott nor Milton Rosmer make much impression as the high society Windermeres. In fact, the film as a whole is something of a chore to sit through. The screenplay by Benedict James eliminates all of Wilde's comedy and social satire. Fred Paul's determinedly static direction is no help either, although he does come to life briefly in a dog show sequence in which he uses every available device to advertise Spratt's Dog Cakes (who presumably underwrote the location expenses).

Monday, March 21, 2011

Karadjordje (1911, Serbia)

Život i dela besmrtnog vožda Karađorđa (Serbian Cyrillic: Живот и дела бесмртног вожда Карађорђа, English: Life and Deeds of Immortal Vožd Karađorđe) or simply Karđorđe (Карађорђе) is a 1911 silent film with a claim to fame of being the first Serbian feature film.
It was directed by Čiča Ilija Stanojević who also acted in it. The historical war film portrays the life of Karađorđe Petrović, First Serbian Uprising leader. It is full of crimes and shootings among the Serbs or in the vicinity. Karađorđe is an early and very rudimentary film, basically a filmed theater.
Director: Ilija Stanojevic-Cica
Writer: Cira Manok
Stars: Jovan Antonijevic-Djedo, Teodora Arsenovic and Vitomir Bogic

A Romance Of The Redwoods - 1917

American movie. A Romance of the Redwoods is a 1917 drama film directed by Cecil B. DeMille. A print of the film survives in the film archive at George Eastman House.
A young girl travels west to live with her uncle during the California Gold Rush only to find that he has been killed by Indians and his identity assumed by an outlaw.
Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Writers: Cecil B. DeMille (play), Jeanie Macpherson (play)
Stars: Mary Pickford, Elliott Dexter and Tully Marshall

The Invaders - 1912

The Invaders is a 1912 American silent film directed by Francis Ford and Thomas H. Ince. The U.S. Army and the Indians sign a peace treaty. However, a group of surveyors trespass on the Indians' land and violate the treaty. The army refuses to listen to the Indians' complaints, and the surveyors are killed by the Indians. A vicious Indian war ensues, culminating in an Indian attack on an army fort.
Director: Francis Ford and Thomas H. Ince
Writer: (uncredited)
Stars: Art Acord, William Eagle Shirt and Francis Ford

The Country Doctor - 1909

American movie. The Country Doctor is a 1909 drama film directed by D. W. Griffith. Prints of the film exist in the film archives of the Museum of Modern Art and the Library of Congress.
While caring for his sick daughter, a doctor is called away to the sickbed of a neighbor. He finds the neighbor gravely ill, and ignores his wife's pleas to come home and care for his own daughter, who has taken a turn for the worse.
Director: D. W. Griffith
Writer: (uncredited)
Stars: Kate Bruce, Adele DeGarde and Gladys Egan

Teddy At The Throttle - 1917

American movie. Teddy at the Throttle (1917) is a silent film starring Bobby Vernon and Gloria Swanson. Gloria Dawn lives down the hall from her sweetheart, Bobbie Knight. The dishonest Henry Black is Gloria's guardian, and he is also in charge of Bobbie's inheritance. The scheming guardian and his sister have been spending Bobbie's money, and they hope to have the sister marry Bobbie so that they can keep control over his money.
Director: Clarence G. Badger
Stars: Bobby Vernon, Gloria Swanson and Wallace Beery

Don't Change Your Husband - 1919

Don't Change Your Husband is a 1919 American comedy film directed by Cecil B. DeMille. A print of the film survives. Leila porter comes to dislike her husband James, a glue king who is always eating onions and looking sloppy. But after she divorces him and marries two-timing playboy Schuyler Van Sutphen the now-reformed James looks pretty good.
Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Writer: Jeanie Macpherson (story)
Stars: Elliott Dexter, Gloria Swanson and Lew Cody

The President's Assassin - 1901

Reenactment of the execution of Leon Frank Czolgosz in the electric chair, 1901. Czolgosz was the assassin of U.S. President William McKinley. (©Thomas A. Edison)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Cabiria - 1914

Cabiria (1914) is a silent movie from the early years of Italy's movie industry, directed by Giovanni Pastrone. Apart from being a classic on its own the film is also notable for being the first film in which the long-running film character Maciste makes his debut. Director: Giovanni Pastrone
Writers: Gabriele D'Annunzio (titles), Titus Livus (book)
Stars: Italia Almirante-Manzini, Lidia Quaranta and Bartolomeo Pagano
Cabiria is a classic silent movie from the early years of Italy's movie industry, directed by Giovanni Pastrone. It was released in 1914.
The movie is based on Emilio Salgari's Cartagine in fiamme (Carthage in Flames) and Gustave Flaubert's exotic novel Salammbo. Set in ancient Carthage during the period of the Second Punic War, it treats the conflict between Rome and Carthage through the eyes of Cabiria, the title character, who is kidnapped by pirates, sold as a slave in Carthage, and rescued from being sacrificed to the god Moloch by a Roman nobleman and his muscular slave Maciste (who would later become the protagonist in a whole seuccesful series of films on his own). Hannibal and his elephants fit into the convoluted plot of this epic film.
Italian author Gabriele d'Annunzio contributed to the screenplay and wrote all of the intertitles. The movie was inventive and innovative in its cinematography for the time, and was a major influence on Birth of a Nation by D. W. Griffith, although film critic Roger Ebert said Griffith "moves the camera with greater freedom and has a headlong narrative and an exciting use of cross-cutting that Pastrone does not approach." [1] The film also marked the debut of the Maciste character, who went on to have a long career in Italian sword and sandal films.
A restored version of the film screened on 27 May, 2006 at the Cannes Film Festival, featuring a filmed introduction by director Martin Scorsese.
Like Birth of a Nation Cabiria has aroused its share of controversy because of the political nature of its subject matter. It was produced by Italian ultra-nationalist Gabriele d'Annunzio and was released soon after the Italo-Turkish War, in which Italy conquered the North African Ottoman provinces of Cyrenaica and Tripolitania. The parallels in the film, about Rome conquering an inferior North African Carthage, can be seen as a celebration of Italian imperialism.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Sky High - 1922

Country: USA
Language: English
Director: Lynn Reynolds
Writers: Lynn Reynolds (screenplay), Lynn Reynolds (story)
Stars: Tom Mix, J. Farrell MacDonald and Eva Novak
Release Date: 22 January 1922 (USA)
Filming Locations: Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, USA
Production Co: Fox Film Corporation
Sound Mix: Silent
Color: Black and White
Plot Keywords: Smuggling | Chinese | Illegal Alien
Taglines: A hurricane of thrills, adventure and action.
Genres: Western
A government agent investigates a ring that is smuggling Chinese aliens across the border from Mexico. His investigation takes him to the Grand Canyon. He finds a dazed girl wandering around who has become separated from her companions and is lost. He and the girl are soon found by her companions - the smuggling ring!

The Masquerader - 1914

Country: USA
Language: English
Release Date: 27 August 1914 (USA)
Also Known As: Putting One Over
Charlie is an actor in a film studio. He messes up several scenes and is tossed out. Returning dressed as a lady, he charms the director. Even so, Charlie never makes it into film, winding up at the bottom of a well.

Face on the Barroom Floor - 1914

Country: USA
Language: English
Release Date: 10 August 1914 (USA)
Also Known As: The Ham Actor
The plot is a satire derived from Hugh Antoine D'Arcy's poem of the same title. The painter courts Madeleine but loses to the wealthy client who sits for his portrait. The despairing artist draws the girl's portrait on the barroom floor and gets tossed out. Years later he sees her, her husband and their horde of children. Unrecognized by her, Charlie shakes off his troubles and walks off into the future

Gentlemen of Nerve -1914

American movie. Charlie Chaplin's 30th Film Released Oct. 30 1914
Mabel and her beau go to an auto race and are joined by Charlie and his friend. As Charlie's friend is attempting to enter the raceway through a hole, the friend gets stuck and a policeman shows up. Charlie sprays the policeman with soda until he friends makes it through the hole. In the grandstand, Mabel abandons her beau for Charlie. Both Charlie's friend and Mabel's are arrested and hauled away.

A Night in the Show - 1915

Director: Charles Chaplin
Writer: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Edna Purviance and Charlotte Mineau Country: USA
Language: English
Release Date: 20 November 1915 (USA)
Based on a famous comedy act called "Mummingbirds" in which Charles Chaplin starred when he was a player with The Karno Company in England. Mr. Pest tries several theatre seats before winding up in front in a fight with the conductor. He is thrown out. In the lobby he pushes a fat lady into a fountain and returns to sit down by Edna. Mr. Rowdy, in the gallery, pours beer down on Mr. Pest and Edna. He attacks patrons, a harem dancer, the singers Dot and Dash, and a fire-eater.

Frau Blechnudel will Kinoschauspielerin werden (1915, Germany)

Release date: April 01st 1915

Jungdeutschland bei der Geländeübung (1912, Germany)

Release date: December 28th 1912.

Ringkampfrekord - 1906

Greco-Roman wrestling exhibitions from 1906 
Carpini et Raoul Le Bordelais;
Raoul Le Boucher et Simon Antonitch
Le Boucher was an important name in professional greco-roman wrestling scene in early 900s
He has faced legendary wrestlers like Georg Hackenschmidt and Ivan Poddubny
Copyright: Gaumont-Pathe

Terreur en Russie - 1907

Country: France
Language: French
Release Date: 1907 (France)

Les attrapera-t-il? - 1907

Country: France
Language: French
Release Date: 1907 (France)

Arthème fait des affaires - 1916

Country: France
Language: French

Bigorno fume l'opium - 1914

Country: France
Language: French
Bigorno is by the seashore with his wife and mother in law when a friend returns from a trip to the Orient with gifts -- including a hookah and supply of Opium, which Bigorno tries, with disastrous results to the furniture.
This is the first of the Bigorno series I have encountered and although it is well directed by Romeo Bosetti, better remembered for directing the Patouillard series of breakneck slapstick. This attempt to meld pure destructive slapstick with a more human, Max Linder style character does not really work. Perhaps the failure lies in not having seen others in the series and so not having a chance to develop a familiarity with the character. Perhaps one reel is not enough to permit more than some scene-setting (which takes up more than half the film and one gag.
Or, more likely, this one is not really very good and with Max Linder as competition, as well as Keystone imports from the US, the days for this style of screen comedy were numbered

Léonce à la campagne - 1913

Country: France
Release Date: 3 October 1913 (France)

Queen Elizabeth - 1912

This is a brief clip from the silent Sarah Bernhardt film "Queen Elizabeth" (1912).
In this sequence, Robert Devereux, the 2nd Earl of Essex is executed. Queen Elizabeth (Bernhardt) visits his corpse, and mourns for him.
There's a subplot involving a missing ring, which (in the context of the story) demonstrates Essex's fidelity to Elizabeth.
"Queen Elizabeth" was by far Bernhardt's most successful film.
Audio recordings of Sarah's voice can be found at the Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project website

Fricot beve la Medicina - 1910

Country: Italy
Language: Italian
Release Date: 3 August 1910 (USA)
Also Known As: Fricot Drinks a Bottle of Horse Embrocation

Robinet boxeur - 1913

Robinet si allena per il giro d'Italia (1912, Italy)

Robinet Aviatore - 1911

Country: Italy
Language: Italian
Robinet, the lead in this Italian slapstick comedy, wants to be an aviator in the worst way, and this being an Italian slapstick, that's how he does it. Italian slapstick in this period was absolutely bone-breaking, so much so that it makes Keystone slapstick look like drawing-room comedy by contrast.
Although the course of this comedy is not terribly surprising -- Robinet gets in the air and causes general destruction, mostly by knocking the tops off tall buildings -- the design of his aircraft is particularly amusing. It resembles a giant sturgeon with a forward propeller and one on top -- an auto-gyro of some sort -- with wings and, of course, a jaw hinged to open and close constantly, suggesting, perhaps a crocodile. At five minutes it is no long enough to get tiresome and you should find it tolerably amusing for that length of time.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Acrobatic Fly - 1910

Propped upon the tail-end of a match, a housefly performs astonishing feats, alternately juggling a series of objects - a blade of grass, a cork, a miniature dumbbell... Most extraordinary of all is the sequence in which the fly spins a ball twice its own size, while a second fly perches on top. In the final sequence, the fly repeats some of its earlier tricks while apparently seated on a tiny chair.
This truly delightful (or singularly repellent) film is the work of Percy Smith, pioneer of a particularly engaging early form of natural filmmaking. 'The Acrobatic Fly' is one of a series of Smith films on similar subjects around this time, and near identical to, though briefer than, a sequence in his 1911 release 'The Strength and Agility of Insects', which also features similarly impressive accomplishments by a scorpion, a flea, a grasshopper and a praying mantis. Viewers might worry about the techniques used to secure such performances, but Smith always insisted that his stars were none the worse for their moment in the spotlight. (Mark Duguid)
For more information about filmmaker Percy Smith see

Pillole Portentose (1910, France)

English: The magic pills
Released in April 1910

Little Moritz demande Rosalie en mariage (1911, France)

Released in September 1911

Arthème sorcier (1913, France)

Léontine garde la maison (1912, France)

Released in January 20th 1912

Les incohérences de Boireau (1912, France)

La nouvelle bonne (1908, France)

This is a video transfer I made from a Pathé Baby film. The only clue to the origin was the name beneath the end title : mr.Z.Rollini.
Z. Louis Rollini was a filmwriter who wrote many films in different genres between 1908 and 1918. His brother was the famous french pioneer director Ferdinand Zecca. Rollini worked amongst others together with star comedian Max Linder.

Le Costume Blanc (1906, France)

Princess Nicotine - 1909

Princess Nicotine - James Stuart Blackton, 1909

La signora delle camelie (1915, Italy)

Director: Gustavo Serena, Baldassarre Negroni
Writers: Renzo Chiosso (adaptation), Alexandre Dumas fils (novel)
Stars: Carlo Benetti, Olga Benetti and Francesca Bertini

Oborona Sevastopolya (1911, Russia)

Oborona Sevastopolya (1911) Василий Гончаров, Александр Ханжонков, Петр Чардынин - Оборона Севастополя
First film ever that was shot by two cameras. Set in 1854-1855, in Sevastopol and Yalta during the Crimean War. Admirals Kornilov (Mozzhukhin) and Nakhimov (Gromov) organize the defense during the siege of Sevastopol. Both admirals are killed during the battle, and the city of Sevastopol is taken by the alliance of British, French, Sardinian, and Turkish troops. The legendary feat of Sailor Koshka (Semenov) was staged at original location. The 100 minute-long film was premiered in 1911 at the Livadia, Yalta, palace for the Tsar Nicholas II.
Directors: Vasili Goncharov, Aleksandr Khanzhonkov
Writers: Vasili Goncharov, Aleksandr Khanzhonkov
Stars: Andrej Gromov, Ivan Mozzhukhin and V. Arentsvari

Joan The Woman - 1916

 American movie. Joan the Woman // Jeanne D'Arc (1916) is a silent drama film directed by Cecil B. DeMille. A British officer in World War I has a dream of the life of Joan of Arc. This film was the first to use the Handschiegl Color Process (billed as the "Wyckoff-DeMille Process") for certain scenes. A print of the film still exists.
Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Writers: Jeanie Macpherson (scenario), William C. de Mille
Stars: Geraldine Farrar, Raymond Hatton and Hobart Bosworth

Hamlet (1921, Germany)

Danish silent movie-star Asta Nielsen formed her own production company to make this film, in which new elements are combined with features (and a few lines) familiar from Shakespeare's version of the legend. The most important of these changes sees Hamlet made into a female character - a princess forced to masquerade as a man by her scheming mother; from this follows Hamlet's secret passion for Horatio and rivalry with Ophelia for his love. Queen Gertrude is here presented as conspiring in her first husband's murder, and the old king's ghost does not appear - young Hamlet merely hears a voice from the tomb and (apparently) dreams of him. In addition, Hamlet now kills Claudius (in a fire) immediately upon returning from Norway with an army led by old school- friend Fortinbras, and it falls to Gertrude to engineer Hamlet's death in the fencing match as well as kill herself by accidentally drinking the poisoned wine.
Directors: Svend Gade, Heinz Schall
Writers: Erwin Gepard (manuscript), Prof. E. Vining (book)
Stars: Asta Nielsen, Paul Conradi and Mathilde Brandt

Anna Boleyn (1920, Germany)

The story of the ill-fated second wife of the English king Henry VIII, whose marriage to the Henry led to momentous political and religious turmoil in England.
Director: Ernst Lubitsch
Writers: Norbert Falk, Hanns Kräly
Stars: Henny Porten, Emil Jannings and Paul Hartmann

Kohlhiesels Töchter (1920, Germany)

Kohlhiesels Töchter // Kohlhiesel's Daughters // Les filles de Kohlhiesel
Somewhere in Southern Bavaria Xaver wants to marry Gretel, but her father Kohlhiesel wants his elder daughter Liesel to marry first. The problem is, nobody wants to marry her, because she's too brutal. Seppel suggests, that he should marry Liesel first, get rid of her and then he can marry Gretel...
Director: Ernst Lubitsch
Writers: Hanns Kräly, Ernst Lubitsch
Stars: Henny Porten, Emil Jannings and Jakob Tiedtke

Phantom (1922, Germany)

Lorenz Lubota is a city clerk with no direction in life. One day on his way to work he is run over by a woman driving a chariot and he is immediately infatuated with her. His life begins to spiral out of control as he searches for this girl and tries to win her heart.
Director: F.W. Murnau
Writers: Gerhart Hauptmann (novel), Thea von Harbou (adaptation)
Stars: Alfred Abel, Grete Berger and Lil Dagover

Die Spinnen I-II. (1919-1920, Germany)

The Spiders (German: Die Spinnen) is a adventure film directed by Fritz Lang. It was released in two parts in 1919 and 1920.

Die Spinnen, 1. Teil - Der Goldene See (The Golden Lake)
Die Spinnen, 2. Teil - Das Brillantenschiff (The Diamond Ship)

In San Francisco, well-known sportsman Kay Hoog announces to a club that he has found a message in a bottle with a map drawn by a Harvard professor who has gone missing. The map tells of a lost Incan civilization that possesses an immense treasure. Hoog immediately plans an expedition to find it. But Lio Sha, the head of a criminal organization known as the Spiders, is determined to get the treasure for herself and plans a rival expedition.
Fritz Lang was early in his directorial career when he accepted an assignment to direct what was to be a mystery-action serial comprising four feature-length episodes. Lang was forced by this assignment to relinquish the directorial duties of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, which was also released by the distributor Decla-Bioscop AG in 1919. Lang completed two episodes before the project was cut short by the films' producer. Part one was released as The Golden Lake (Die Spinnen, 1. Teil: Der Goldene See) and part two as The Diamond Ship (Die Spinnen, 2. Teil: Das Brillantenschiff).
Director: Fritz Lang
Writer: Fritz Lang
Stars: Carl de Vogt, Ressel Orla and Georg John

Fantômas IV: Fantômas contre Fantômas (1914, France)

Fantômas IV: Fantômas contre Fantômas (Fantômas vs. Fantômas)(1914)
1. Fantômas et l'opinion publique (Fantômas and Public Opinion)
2. Le Mur qui saigne (The Wall that Bleeds)
3. Fantômas contre Fantômas (Fantômas vs. Fantômas)
4. Règlement de comptes (Getting Even)
Fantômas is a silent crime film serial directed by Louis Feuillade, based on the series of novels of the same name. The five episodes were released in 1913-1914
The series consists of five episodes, each an hour to an hour and a half in length, which end in cliffhangers, i.e., episodes one and three end with Fantomas making a last minute escape, the end of the second movie has Fantômas blowing up Lady Beltham's manor house with Juve and Fandor, the two heroes, still inside. The subsequent episodes begin with a recap of the story that has gone before. Each film is further divided into three or more chapters that do not end in cliffhangers.
Director: Louis Feuillade
Writers: Marcel Allain (novel), Louis Feuillade
Stars: René Navarre, Georges Melchior and Renée Carl

Fantômas III: Le Mort Qui Tue (1913, France)

Fantômas III: Le Mort Qui Tue (The Murderous Corpse) (1913)
1. Le Drame rue Novins (The Tragedy in Rue Novins)
2. L'Enquête de Fandor (Fandor's Investigation)
3. Le Collier de la princesse (The Princess's Necklace)
4. Le Banquier Nanteul (The Banker Nanteul)
5. Elizabeth Dollon
6. Les Gants de peau humaine (The Human Skin Gloves)
Fantômas is a silent crime film serial directed by Louis Feuillade, based on the series of novels of the same name. The five episodes were released in 1913-1914
The series consists of five episodes, each an hour to an hour and a half in length, which end in cliffhangers, i.e., episodes one and three end with Fantomas making a last minute escape, the end of the second movie has Fantômas blowing up Lady Beltham's manor house with Juve and Fandor, the two heroes, still inside. The subsequent episodes begin with a recap of the story that has gone before. Each film is further divided into three or more chapters that do not end in cliffhangers.
Director: Louis Feuillade
Writers: Marcel Allain (novel), Louis Feuillade
Stars: René Navarre, Georges Melchior and Renée Carl

Fantômas II: Juve contre Fantômas (1913, France)

Fantômas II: Juve contre Fantômas (Juve vs. Fantômas) (1913)
1. La Catastrophe du Simplar-Express (Disaster on the Simplar Express)
2. Au "Crocodile" (At the Crocodile)
3. La Villa hantée (The Haunted Villa)
4. L'Homme noir (The Man in Black)
Fantômas is a silent crime film serial directed by Louis Feuillade, based on the series of novels of the same name. The five episodes were released in 1913-1914
The series consists of five episodes, each an hour to an hour and a half in length, which end in cliffhangers, i.e., episodes one and three end with Fantomas making a last minute escape, the end of the second movie has Fantômas blowing up Lady Beltham's manor house with Juve and Fandor, the two heroes, still inside. The subsequent episodes begin with a recap of the story that has gone before. Each film is further divided into three or more chapters that do not end in cliffhangers.
Director: Louis Feuillade
Writers: Marcel Allain (novel), Louis Feuillade
Stars: René Navarre, Georges Melchior and Renée Carl

Fantômas I: À l'ombre de la guillotine (1913, France)

Fantômas I: À l'ombre de la guillotine (Fantômas: In the Shadow of the Guillotine) (1913)
1. Le Vol du Royal Palace Hotel (The Theft at the Royal Palace Hotel)
2. La Disparition de Lord Beltham (The Disappearance of Lord Beltham)
3. Autour de l'échafaud (By the Guillotine)
Fantômas is a silent crime film serial directed by Louis Feuillade, based on the series of novels of the same name. The five episodes were released in 1913-1914
The series consists of five episodes, each an hour to an hour and a half in length, which end in cliffhangers, i.e., episodes one and three end with Fantomas making a last minute escape, the end of the second movie has Fantômas blowing up Lady Beltham's manor house with Juve and Fandor, the two heroes, still inside. The subsequent episodes begin with a recap of the story that has gone before. Each film is further divided into three or more chapters that do not end in cliffhangers.
Director: Louis Feuillade
Writers: Marcel Allain (novel), Louis Feuillade
Stars: René Navarre, Georges Melchior and Renée Carl

Fantômas V: Le Faux Magistrat (1914, France)

Fantômas V: Le Faux Magistrat (The False Magistrate) (1914)
1. Prologue (The Theft at the Château des Loges)
2. Le Prisonnier de Louvain (The Prisoner of Louvain)
3. Monsieur Charles Pradier, juge d'instruction (Charles Pradier, Examining Magistrate)
4. Le Magistrat cambrioleur ( The Burglar Judge)
5. L'Extradé de Louvain (The Extradited Man)
Fantômas is a silent crime film serial directed by Louis Feuillade, based on the series of novels of the same name. The five episodes were released in 1913-1914
The series consists of five episodes, each an hour to an hour and a half in length, which end in cliffhangers, i.e., episodes one and three end with Fantomas making a last minute escape, the end of the second movie has Fantômas blowing up Lady Beltham's manor house with Juve and Fandor, the two heroes, still inside. The subsequent episodes begin with a recap of the story that has gone before. Each film is further divided into three or more chapters that do not end in cliffhangers.
Director: Louis Feuillade
Writers: Marcel Allain (novel), Louis Feuillade
Stars: René Navarre, Georges Melchior and Renée Carl

Der Student von Prag - 1913

The Student of Prague (German: Der Student von Prag, also known as A Bargain with Satan) is a 1913 German silent horror film. The film was remade in 1926, 1935, and 2004 under the same title The Student of Prague.
A poor student rescues a beautiful countess and soon becomes obsessed with her. A sorcerer makes a deal with the young man to give him fabulous wealth and anything he wants, if he will sign his name to a contract. The student hurriedly signs the contract, but doesn't know what he's in for. A long plot summary is given by psychologist Otto Rank in The Double (1971; originally "Der Doppelgänger" in Imago III.2, 1914, 97-164).
Directors: Stellan Rye, Paul Wegener
Writers: Hanns Heinz Ewers, Edgar Allan Poe (story)
Stars: Paul Wegener, John Gottowt and Grete Berger

Scherben (1921, Germany)

Director: Lupu Pick
Writers: Carl Mayer, Lupu Pick
Stars: Werner Krauss, Edith Posca and Hermine Straßmann-Witt

Tagebuch Einer Verlorenen (1929, Germany)

Diary of a Lost Girl (German: Tagebuch einer Verlorenen) is a 1929 silent film directed by Georg Wilhelm Pabst. It is shot in black and white, and various versions of the film range from 79 minutes to 116 minutes in length. This was Brooks's second and last film with Pabst, and like their prior collaboration (1928's Pandora's Box), it is considered a classic film. The film was based on the controversial and bestselling novel of the same name, Tagebuch einer Verlorenen (1905) by Margarete Böhme. A previous version of the novel, directed in 1918 by Richard Oswald, is now considered a lost film.
Director: Georg Wilhelm Pabst
Writers: Margarete Böhme (novel), Rudolf Leonhardt
Stars: Louise Brooks, Josef Rovenský and Fritz Rasp

Bed and Sofa - 1927

"Bed and Sofa" by Abram Room, starring Ludmilla Semyonova, Alexei Bartalov and Vladimir Fogel (Moscow, March 15, 1927)

Devushka s korobkoy - 1927

The Girl with the Hat Box // Девушка с коробкой // Devushka s korobkoy
Natasha and her grandfather live in a cottage near Moscow, making hats for Madame Irène. Madame and her husband have told the housing committee that Natasha rents a room from them; this fiddle gives Madame's lazy husband a room for lounging. The local railroad clerk, Fogelev, loves Natasha but she takes a shine to Ilya, a clumsy student who sleeps in the train station. To help Ilya, Natasha marries him and takes him to Madame's to live in the room the house committee thinks is hers. Meanwhile, Madame's husband pays Natasha with a lottery ticket he thinks is a loser, and when it comes up big, just as Ilya and Natasha are falling in love, everything gets complicated.
Boris Vasilyevich Barnet (Russian: Борис Васильевич Барнет; 18 June 1902 -- 8 January 1965) was a Soviet film director, actor and screenwriter. He directed 27 films between 1927 and 1963.
Director: Boris Barnet
Writers: Vadim Shershenevich, Valentin Turkin
Stars: Anna Sten, Vladimir Mikhajlov and Vladimir Fogel

Värmlänningarna (1921, Erik A. Petschler, Sweden)

Director: Erik A. Petschler
Writers: Fredrik August Dahlgren (play), Einar Smith
Stars: Carl Sjögren, Gustav Ranft and Anna Diedrich

L'Atlantide - 1921

Lost Atlantis // L'Atlantide // Missing Husbands
L'Atlantide (1921) is a French-Belgian silent film directed by Jacques Feyder, and the first of several adaptations of the best-selling novel L'Atlantide by Pierre Benoit. Two men, lost in the desert, meet Queen Antinea, ruler of Atlantis.
Director: Jacques Feyder
Writers: Pierre Benoît (novel), Jacques Feyder
Stars: Jean Angelo, Stacia Napierkowska and Georges Melchior

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Nana - 1926

French movie. Nana is Jean Renoir's second full-length film produced in 1926. It is based on the novel by Émile Zola. A government official, Count Muffat, falls under the spell of Nana, a young actress. She becomes his mistress, living in the sumptuous apartment which he provides for her. Instead of elevating herself to Muffat's level, however, Nana drags the poor man down to hers - in the end, both lives have been utterly destroyed.
The film stars Renoir's wife, Catherine Hessling, in an eccentric performance as the flawed heroine Nana.
Jean Renoir's film is a fairly faithful adaptation of Émile Zola's classic novel. The film's extravagances include two magnificent set pieces - a horse race and an open air ball. The film never made a profit, and it was the commercial failure of this film which robbed Renoir of the opportunity to make such an ambitious film again for several years.
Director: Jean Renoir
Writers: Pierre Lestringuez, Jean Renoir
Stars: Catherine Hessling, Jean Angelo and Werner Krauss

Max et la doctoresse - 1909

Country: France
Language: French
Director: Max Linder
Writer: Max Linder
Stars: Max Linder, Lucy d'Orbel and Georges Gorby
Also Known As: Max and the Fair M.D. USA (reissue title)
Max and the Lady Doctor USA
Production Co: S.C.A.G.L.
The film itself is adorable. Max visits a lady doctor for a chest cold and is alternately anxious and nervous and excited, in a romantic and sexual way, depicted by his clever pantomime. One can easily see his techniques were stolen by Chaplin, the Marx Brothers, etc. Max proposes to the doctor, she accepts, and the next scene you see them married. Max brings their baby to the office waiting room, where several good looking men are waiting to be seen by his wife. Max peeks in and sees his wife with her ear against a patient's back and he goes nuts, hands the baby to one of the men in the waiting room, and rushes into the examining room and kicks the patient out. Then each remaining patient gets the same treatment. Lastly we see Max in happy domestic contentment, at home with his wife and baby. It is obvious the message is that he will take care of her from now on and she won't have to work. Or at least, that's what I took from it. The film ends rather abruptly, but it is definitely a cute one.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea - 1916

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is a 1916 American silent film directed by Stuart Paton. The film's storyline is based on the novel of the same name by Jules Verne, along with other elements used from Verne's The Mysterious Island.
This version is notable for its groundbreaking work in underwater photography by the brothers George M. Williamson and J. Ernest Williamson. Actual underwater cameras were not used, but a system of watertight tubes and mirrors allowed the camera to shoot reflected images of underwater scenes staged in shallow sunlit waters.
Director: Stuart Paton
Writer: Jules Verne (novel)
Stars: Allen Holubar, Lois Alexander and Curtis Benton

Die Büchse der Pandora - 1929

Pandora's Box (German: Die Büchse der Pandora) is a 1929 German silent melodrama film based loosely on Frank Wedekind's plays Erdgeist (Earth Spirit, 1895) and Die Büchse der Pandora (1904). Directed by Austrian filmmaker Georg Wilhelm Pabst, the film stars Louise Brooks, Fritz Kortner, and Francis Lederer. Brooks' portrayal of a seductive, thoughtless young woman whose raw sexuality and uninhibited nature bring ruin to herself and those who love her, although initially unappreciated, eventually made the actress a star.
Director: Georg Wilhelm Pabst
Writers: Frank Wedekind (plays), Ladislaus Vajda (scenario)
Stars: Louise Brooks, Fritz Kortner and Francis Lederer

Pool Sharks - 1915

 Pool Sharks (also sometimes known as The Pool Shark) is a 1915 silent short film. The film is notable for being the film acting and writing debut of W. C. Fields, and also features an early stop-motion animation scene, during a game of pool.
Following a standard style of the era, the film is a romantic slapstick comedy short. Fields and his rival (played by Bud Ross) vie over the affections of a woman. When their antics get out of hand at a picnic, it is decided that they should play a game of pool. Both of them are pool sharks, and after the game turns into a farce, a fight ensues. Fields throws a ball at his rival, who ducks. The ball flies through the window and breaks a hanging goldfish bowl, soaking the woman they are fighting over and leaving goldfish in her hair. She storms into the pool hall and rejects both men.
Director: Edwin Middleton
Writer: W.C. Fields
Stars: W.C. Fields

The Land Beyond the Sunset - 1912

American movie. A young boy, opressed by his mother, goes on an outing in the country with a social welfare group where he dares to dream of a land where the cares of his ordinary life fade.
Directed: Harold M. Shaw
Writer: Dorothy G. Shore
Stars: Martin Fuller, Mrs. William Bechtel and Walter Edwin

Shinel (1926, Kozintsev & Trauberg, Soviet Union)

"Shinel" (The Overcoat) was a film directed by the great but communist duet of Herr Grigori Kozintsev und Herr Leonard Trauberg. It was based in the eponymous book written by the Russian Herr Nikolai Gogol. It must said that Herr Kozintsev und Herr Trauberg were inspired by another Gogol oeuvre, "Nevsky Prospect" for the prologue of the film. It shows the anodyne youthful of the poor clerk Akaky Akakiyevich Bashmachkin, the main character of the film. The film extends this and goes deeply into the reason why Herr Akakiyevich needs and spend his savings on an elegant overcoat.

Det hemmelighedsfulde X (1914, Denmark)

Sealed Orders // Orders Under Seal // The Mysterious X // Das geheimnisvolle X
In 1913, Christensen assumed control of the small, Hellborg-based production company for which he worked and reorganized it as Dansk-Biograf Kompagnie. The first film he directed, Det hemmelighedsfulde X (The Mysterious X, 1914), was one of the most astonishing directorial debuts in film history; although a routine spy melodrama, the camerawork, cutting and art direction were revolutionary for the period. Christensen himself played the main role, as he did in his second film, Hævnens nat (Blind Justice, 1916).
Director: Benjamin Christensen
Writers: Benjamin Christensen, Laurids Skands (manuscript)
Stars: Benjamin Christensen, Karen Caspersen and Otto Reinwald

The Bat - 1926

Country: USA
Language: English (intertitles)
Director: Roland West
Writers: Avery Hopwood (play), Julien Josephson, George Marion Jr.(titles), Mary Roberts Rinehart (play "The Bat"), Roland West (adaptation).
Stars: George Beranger, Charles Herzinger and Emily Fitzroy
Release Date: 14 March 1926 (New York City, New York - USA)
Also known as: Das Rätsel der Fledermaus (Austria / Germany), El murciélago (Spain / Venezuela)
Production Co: Roland West Productions, Feature Productions
Plot Keywords: Bat | Animal In Title | Old Dark House | One Night | Revolver | Fireplace | Killer | Evil Man | Psychopath | Bat Costume | Super Villain | Heroine | Lady Detective | Based On Play | Surprise Ending
Genres: Comedy | Horror | Mystery | Thriller
A masked criminal who dresses like a giant bat terrorizes the guests at an old house rented by a mystery writer.

A Modern Musketeer - 1917

A young man grows restless living in a small Kansas town, dreaming of the adventures of the Three Musketeers. So in hopes of becoming a modern D'Artagnan, he mounts his steed (a Model T Ford) and sets out across the West in search of excitement and adventure.
Director: Allan Dwan
Writers: Allan Dwan (photoplay), F.R. Lyle Jr. (story)
Stars: Douglas Fairbanks, Marjorie Daw and Kathleen Kirkham

Greed - 1924

Greed (1924, USA) is a dramatic silent film. It was directed by Erich von Stroheim and starring Gibson Gowland, Zasu Pitts, Jean Hersholt, Dale Fuller, Tempe Pigott, Sylvia Ashton, Chester Conklin, Joan Standing and Jack Curtis.
The plot follows a dentist whose wife wins a lottery ticket, only to become obsessed with money. When her former lover betrays the dentist as a fraud, all of their lives are destroyed. The movie was adapted by von Stroheim (shooting screenplay) and Joseph Farnham (titles) from the 1899 novel McTeague by Frank Norris. (The onscreen writing credit for June Mathis was strictly a contractual obligation to her on the part of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (the parent studio), as she was not actually involved in the production.) Originally over ten hours long, Greed was ultimately edited against von Stroheim's permission to about two and a half hours, and the full-length version is a lost film.
Director: Erich von Stroheim
Writers: June Mathis (screen adaptation and dialogue), Frank Norris (novel)
Stars: Gibson Gowland, Zasu Pitts and Jean Hersholt

Pollyanna - 1920

Pollyanna is a 1920 American melodrama/comedy film starring Mary Pickford, directed by Paul Powell, and based upon an Eleanor H. Porter novel. It was Pickford's first motion picture for United Artists. It became a major success and would be regarded as one of Pickford's most defining pictures. The film grossed $1.1 million (the equivalent of more than $100 million in 2008).
Director: Paul Powell
Writers: Eleanor H. Porter (novel), Catherine Chisholm Cushing (play)
Stars: Mary Pickford, Wharton James and Katherine Griffith

Stella Maris - 1918

Country: USA
Language: English
Director: Marshall Neilan
Writers: William J. Locke (novel), Frances Marion (photoplay)
Stars: Mary Pickford, Ida Waterman and Herbert Standing
Release Date: 21 January 1918 (USA)
Filming Locations: Busch Gardens - S. Grove Avenue, Pasadena, California, USA
Production Co: Pickford Film
Runtime: 84 min (alternate version)
Sound Mix: Silent
Color: Black and White
Plot Keywords: Orphan | Alcoholic | Poverty | Imprisonment | Uncle | Murder | Marriage | Unrequited Love | Dual Role | Disillusionment | Nobility | Adoption
Marital Separation | Suicide | Dog | Aunt | Battered Child | Innocent | London England | Starvation | Invalid | Self Sacrifice | Sailing | Paralysis | Housemaid |
Surgery | Class Distinction | Based On Novel | Character Name In Title
Genres: Drama
Stella Maris is a beautiful, crippled girl, who is cared for by a rich family. They shield her from the harsh realities of the world, so that she has no idea of the cruel things that some people do. Unity Blake is a poor orphan all too familiar with the harsh realities of the real world. These two young women both fall in love with John, love which is complicated by the fact that he is still married to (though separated from) a bad wife.

The Affairs Of Anatol - 1921

The Affairs of Anatol is a 1921 drama film directed by Cecil B. DeMille. Socialite Anatol Spencer (Wallace Reid), finding his relationship with his wife (Gloria Swanson) lackluster, goes in search of excitement. After bumping into old flame Emilie (Wanda Hawley), he lets an apartment for her only to find that she cheats on him. He is subsequently robbed, conned, and booted from pillar to post. He decides to return to his wife and discovers her carousing with his best friend Max (Elliott Dexter).

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Writers: Arthur Schnitzler (suggested by play of the same name), Jeanie Macpherson
Stars: Wallace Reid, Gloria Swanson and Wanda Hawley

Tigre reale - 1916

Italian movie. Also known as The Royal Tiger
Director: Giovanni Pastrone
Writers: Giovanni Verga (novel), Giovanni Verga (screenplay)
Stars: Pina Menichelli, Alberto Nepoti and Febo Mari

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Tale Of Two Cities - 1917

La vie et la passion de Jésus Christ - 1903

Passion and Death of Christ // The Life and Passion of Christ // La passion // Passion Play
Vie et Passion du Christ is a 44-minute French silent film that was produced and released in 1903. As such, it is one of the earliest feature-length narrative films.
The film, with sequences made in the stencil color process Pathéchrome, takes a straightforward approach to its subject matter. All scenes are introduced by an intertitle giving the traditional name of the event (the Annunciation, the Nativity, etc.) followed by the actors playing out the familiar stories from the Gospels. Other than the scene titles, there are no other inter-titles.
In 1932, the film was re-issued in the U.S., distributed on a states-rights basis. Instead of the stencil coloring effect, however, the film was printed on red-tinted stock, with a musical score by James C. Bradford.
Its original French title was La Vie et la passion de Jésus Christ.
Directors: Lucien Nonguet, Ferdinand Zecca
Stars: Madame Moreau and Monsieur Moreau

Umirayushchii lebed - 1917

The Dying Swan // Umirayushchii lebed
Russian movie. When Viktor meets Gizella one day beside the lake, he takes an interest in her and begins to call on her regularly. The one passion in the life of Gizella, who is unable to speak, is dancing. When Viktor deceives her and she finds him with another woman, she moves away and begins a career as a ballerina. Later, as she is on tour performing "The Dying Swan", the artist Glinskiy attends her performance. Glinskiy, whose own obsession is to depict death in his art, becomes fascinated by Gizella, and he is determined to use her as a model for a special project.
Director: Yevgeni Bauer
Writer: Zoya Barantsevich
Stars: Vera Karalli, Aleksandr Kheruvimov and Vitold Polonsky

Posle smerti - 1915

After Death // Posle smerti
Russian movie. Andrei lives a secluded life with his aunt, studying and thinking about his now-deceased mother. His friend Tsenin is concerned, and tries to get Andrei to accompany him to social events. After watching the actress Zoya Kadmina perform, Andrei is fascinated with her, and is then astounded to receive a note from her. He has only one brief meeting with her, and then three months later he is shocked to learn of her death. He now becomes obsessed with her memory, and he decides that he must find out all that he can about her.
Yevgeni Franzevich Bauer (Russian: Евгений Францевич Бауэр) (1865 -- 22 June [O.S. 9 June] 1917) was a Russian film director of silent films, a theatre artist and a screenwriter. His work had a great influence on the aesthetics of Russian cinematography at the beginning of the 20th century.
Director: Yevgeni Bauer
Writers: Yevgeni Bauer, Ivan Turgenev (novel)
Stars: Vitold Polonsky, Olga Rakhmanova and Vera Karalli

Jánošík - 1921

Jánošík is a Slovak black-and-white silent film from 1921. It relates the popular legend of the highwayman Juraj Jánošík. It shows the filmmakers' experience with early American movies in camera work, in the use of parallel narratives, and in sequences inspired by Westerns. Jánošík placed Slovak filmmaking as the 10th national cinema in the world to produce a full-length feature movie.
Director: Jaroslav Siakel
Writers: Gustav Marsall Petrovsky (novel), Jirí Mahen (play), and 1 more credit »
Stars: Theodor Pistek, Karel Schleichert and Maria Fabryova

Assunta Spina - 1915

Assunta Spina is one of the masterpieces of Italian silent film, released in 1915. Outside Italy, it is sometimes known as Sangue Napolitano ("Neapolitan Blood").
The original novel from which the story was taken was written by Salvatore di Giacomo, and had been adapted to a successful theatre drama in 1909. Before Francesca Bertini became a famous actress, she would perform in this drama as a walk-on in the laundry scenes. Five years later, when she had started her career as a film actress, she and actor-director Gustavo Serena adapted the drama for film. Bertini is sometimes listed as co-director of the film.
Directors: Francesca Bertini, Gustavo Serena
Writers: Francesca Bertini, Salvatore Di Giacomo (novel) (play)
Stars: Francesca Bertini, Gustavo Serena and Carlo Benetti

Foolish Wives - 1922

Foolish Wives (1922) is an American drama silent film written and directed by Erich von Stroheim. Although uncredited, the motion picture was produced by Irving Thalberg, who would go on to become one of the studio heads of all time at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The drama features von Stroheim, Rudolph Christians, Miss DuPont, Maude George, and others.
When released in 1922, the film was the most expensive film made at that time, and billed by Universal Studios as the "first million-dollar movie" to come out of Hollywood. Originally, von Stroheim intended for the film to run anywhere between 6 and 10 hours, and shown over two evenings, but the Universal studio heads were opposed to his idea. The studio bosses cut the film drastically before the release date.
In 2008, Foolish Wives was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
Director: Erich von Stroheim
Writers: Marian Ainslee (titles), Walter Anthony (titles)
Stars: Rudolph Christians, Miss DuPont and Maude George

La roue - 1923

La Roue (English: The Wheel) is a French silent film, directed by Abel Gance, who later directed Napoléon and J'accuse!. It was released in 1923. Originally running over nine hours, its recent editions have been cut to about four hours. The film used then-revolutionary lighting techniques, and rapid scene changes and cuts.
Railroad engineer Sisif rescues a small orphan, whose name he learns is Norma, following a disastrous crash. He raises the little girl as his own, along with his son Elie, whose mother died during his birth.
In time, Norma becomes a lively and playful young woman. Her greatest joy is time spent with Elie, by now a handsome violin maker. whom she believes to be her natural brother. But Sisif, to his own horror, finds himself falling in love with his adopted daughter. Sisif confesses to a partner, Hersan, that he is preoccupied in an unhealthy way with Norma. Hersan threatens Sisif with blackmail if he does not consent to give Norma to him in marriage. Sisif reluctantly agrees with this arrangement, and himself drives the train that will deliver Norma to her husband. Distraught, he drives recklessly, and nearly wrecks the train.
An eye injury forces Sisif to abandon his trade, and he goes to work instead on the funicular at Mont Blanc. When Norma comes to vacation at Chamonix with her husband, she learns where Sisif and Elie live. Hersan finds out that Elie is also in love with Norma when he smashes a violin that was made by Elie. Inside is a love letter that only Hersan reads. A jealous Hersan fights with Elie on the mountain. Elie falls to his death, but not before mortally wounding Hersan. Sisif, enraged by Elie's death, blames Norma and drives her away. But she returns, and with Sisif's eyesight almost completely gone, manages to live undetected in his shack for a time. When he at last realizes she is there, they cling to one another, time and tragedy having restored the balance in their father-daughter relationship.
Sisif grows old, cared for by Norma. After sending her out to join in a local festivity, Sisif waits at the window, watching not with his eyes but with his mind. As Norma dances, Sisif dies.
Director: Abel Gance
Writer: Abel Gance
Stars: Séverin-Mars, Ivy Close and Gabriel de Gravone

J'accuse - 1919

J'accuse (1919, I Accuse) is a French silent film directed by Abel Gance. It juxtaposes a romantic drama with the background of the horrors of World War I, and it is sometimes described as a pacifist or anti-war film. Work on the film began in 1918 and some scenes were filmed on real battlefields. The film's powerful depiction of wartime suffering, and particularly its climactic sequence of the "return of the dead", made it an international success, and confirmed Gance as one of the most important directors in Europe.

Kong Haakon 7 kommer til Kristiania -1905

22. november 1905. Ikke lyd. Film: Hans Berge

Raffles, the Amateur Cracksman - 1917

Raffles The Amateur Cracksman is a 1917 silent film starring John Barrymore. The film also co-stars Frank Morgan, Evelyn Brent and Mike Donlin. The film was directed by George Irving.
A J Raffles a handsome jewel thief masquerades as a gentleman of society fitting in with well-to-do people. He dons a mask and waits for an opportune moment to steal belongings, usually some jewelry and to take advantage of unsuspecting women whether at an estate or aboard a passenger ship. Raffles knows secret passage ways to aid his escape from capture such as disappearing into a large grandfather clock that is really a secret doorway. He even eludes capture by jumping off a ship and swimming to shore while women passengers fire pistols at him.
Director: George Irving
Writers: E.W. Hornung (stories) (play "Raffles, the Amateur Cracksman"), Anthony Paul Kelly, and 1 more credit »
Stars: John Barrymore, Christine Mayo and H. Cooper Cliffe

Hull Fair -1902

The film is silent, but given the liveliness of the crowd it's easy to speculate on the banter being exchanged between the crowd and the black boxers. Their existence almost fifty years before the main wave of commonwealth immigration is evidence that black people have been part of everyday British society for longer than official history books have chosen to acknowledge. (Karen Alexander)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Petticoat Lane - 1903

This fascinating film provides an authentic view of London's East End from over a hundred years ago. Flat-capped men flow in a Sunday morning tide down Middlesex Street - better known by its unofficial name, Petticoat Lane - just as they have for generations.
This most Cockney of London markets caters to the second clothes trade: at the time when this film was made, the market was dominated by the East End street sellers and the Jewish rag trade (almost all the names on the shop fronts are Jewish). As the camera pans across the market, we see the traders raised above the general level, barking at the crowd. The few women in the picture are stall-holders, selling patched-up trousers and restored boots, while a nearby card sharp tempts the punters. (Bryony Dixon)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Chimmie Hicks at the Races - 1902

Filming of a character sketch by the well-known vaudevillian Charles E. Grapewin. On a bare stage backed by a dark curtain, a man dressed in a three-piece suit and overcoat holds a racing program and excitedly watches a race supposedly taking place offstage. With enthusiastic jumping and other delighted pantomime, he makes it clear his horse has won the race. A second man in a suit and hat enters from stage right and pays Chimmie his winnings, a portion of which the gambler returns to the man for another bet. With the start of the second race, he again watches with rising excitement, but suddenly his face falls and he angrily throws his hat on the ground, having evidently lost this time. The other man returns and collects all of Chimmie's money plus his pocketwatch. The repentant gambler then kneels, shakes his arms to the heavens, rips up his program, and scatters the pieces on the ground, apparently swearing off betting. He rises, pulls on his hat, and dejectedly begins to walk offstage.

THE GARAGE - 1920 3/3

Part 3 of 3. In this final Arbuckle/Keaton collaboration for the Comique Film Company Roscoe and Buster operate a combination garage and fire station. In the first half they destroy a car left for them to clean. In the second half they go off on a false alarm and return to find their own building on fire.

THE GARAGE - 1920 2/3

Part 2 of 3. In this final Arbuckle/Keaton collaboration for the Comique Film Company Roscoe and Buster operate a combination garage and fire station. In the first half they destroy a car left for them to clean. In the second half they go off on a false alarm and return to find their own building on fire.

THE GARAGE - 1920 1/3

Part 1 of 3. In this final Arbuckle/Keaton collaboration for the Comique Film Company Roscoe and Buster operate a combination garage and fire station. In the first half they destroy a car left for them to clean. In the second half they go off on a false alarm and return to find their own building on fire.

The General - 1927

When Union spies steal an engineer's beloved locomotive, he pursues it single handedly and straight through enemy lines

Women Winding Motor Armatures -1904

Women workers at the Westinghouse Works in East Pittsburgh in 1904 are winding wire for electric motors being manufactured. Two young men push spools of this wire down the aisle. Supervisors, male and female, walk down the aisle and observe the women's work, stopping for a while at one woman's station. The women did this task for all types of electric motors including those used on streetcars. This factory was not unionized at the time. There were mass strikes in 1913 and 1916 but it wasn't until the 1930s that this factory was unionized by the United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America (UE). From Library of Congress digital collection.

Pillow fight - 1897

An experimental film by Thomas Edison, showing four young girls having a pillow fight in 1897. No sound

Mark Twain at Stormfield -1909

Silent film footage taken in 1909 by Thomas Edison at Stormfield (CT) at Mark Twain's estate. Twain is shown walkng around his home and playing cards with his daughters Clara and Jean. The flickering is due to film deterioration, but this is the only known footage of the great author.

New York Fire Department, Annual Parade - 1904

Filmed May 14, 1904. Thomas A. Edison, Inc.
Camera: Edwin S. Porter

The opening begins with some dignitaries arriving in a horse drawn brougham to view the parade. This brief clip displays all of the elements of a complete fire house unit in the early twentieth century. A dignified line of mounted firemen lead a portion of the march [0:20] followed by a marching band of uniformed fire officers, carrying the Fireman's Trumpet sometimes know as a "speaking trumpet." These were given to fire chiefs, foremen, and assistant foremen [0:50]. The line of march is interspersed with firefighters carrying various pieces of equipment, the marchers baring hoses, a rescue trampoline, a horse drawn pump, a hose wagon. At 2:30 there's a hook-and-ladder, fully equipped, as the combination of horse drawn vehicles repeat with an ambulance at 3:50. As the line continues past, there's a brass band with drummers leading flag bearers holding an American flag and the fire department insignia together [4:18]. A good view of a contemporary hook-and-ladder as the film finishes with gas powered vehicles. The last is possibly a fire chief's car. Although gas powered vehicles were now a part of daily life, horses would still remain a part of the urban scene in other working capacities for at least another 30 years.
In 1898 all of the city's volunteer fire departments were replaced by the paid FDNY. Consolidation also replaced the Board of Fire Commissioners with a single commissioner, John J. Scannell, head of the Board since 1894, who was appointed by Mayor R.A. Van Wyck. All together New York, Brooklyn, and Long Island had 121 engines, 46 trucks, one horse wagon, and a water tower; in all, there were 309 square miles of firefighting territory. New York was the second largest city after London with 3.4 million people and a growing number of tall buildings.

Miners Leaving Pendlebury Colliery -1901

Despite knowing that there has been a black presence in the UK since Roman times, it's still a shock and a pleasure to see a black miner emerge from a group of workers at Pendlebury Colliery. His fleeting appearance, smiling alongside his workmates, may look staged and it has been suggested he was given a clean shirt show up his skin colour. But this film is not about him - he's just one of many men who walk past before a large billboard advertising a forthcoming passion play.
The black miner's appearance in the nation's collective family album of cinema is incidental but important. It records his presence in Edwardian Britain giving us and future generations the possibility to muse who he was and how he got there. (Karen Alexander)
This film is part of the Mitchell and Kenyon collection - an amazing visual record of everyday life in Britain at the beginning of the twentieth century. For more information about the films of Mitchell and Kenyon see

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Tilly, the Tomboy, Visits the Poor - 1910

Produced by British film pioneer Cecil Hepworth, around 20 of the popular series of 'Tilly' films were made between 1910 and 1915. Surviving episodes are brimming with a sense of anarchic fun as they follow the adventures of naughty schoolgirls Tilly and Sally, played by Chrissie White and Alma Taylor, who went on to become major stars of '20s British cinema.
'Tilly, the Tomboy...' is available to view here in a version re-edited to approximate the original cut (surviving archive materials were out of sequence). The sheer energy and silliness of this mischievous pair is infectious, further proof - if it were needed - of women's contribution to the tradition of slapstick in British comedy. (Simon McCallum)

A Day in the Hayfields - 1904

Very often when people think of England, they conjure up images of an idealised rural landscape on a hot summer's day; in 'A Day in the Hayfields', Cecil Hepworth gives us just that. We see the men and horses reaping and stacking as the village babies play in the piles of hay, throwing themselves into the soft grass with unalloyed abandon.
The film is a classic example of the 'interest film' - in one of its manifestations, the interest film would document agricultural or industrial process from beginning to end - here we see the haymaking from reaping to the finished rick, filmed with an eye for the picturesque.
Although made before the book was even written, the film will strike a chord with anyone who has read Flora Thompson's 'Lark Rise to Candleford' - this is the genuine article. (Bryony Dixon)

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Country Doctor - 1909

Film directed by David Wark Griffith, produced by Biograph Studio, Manhattan, New York City, in 1909. Prints of the film exist in the film archives of the Museum of Modern Art and the Library of Congress
Kate Bruce ... Poor Mother
Adele DeGarde ... Poor Mother's Sick Daughter
Gladys Egan ... Edith Harcourt - Daughter
Rose King ... Maid
Florence Lawrence ... Mrs.Harcourt
Mary Pickford ... Poor Mother's Elder Daughter
Frank Powell ... Doctor Harcourt

Life of an American Fireman -1903