Thursday, September 29, 2011

Douro Faina Fluvial - 1931

Country: Portugal
Release Date: 8 August 1934 (Portugal)
Also Known As: Labor on the Douro River
Filming Locations: Porto, Portugal
Director: Manoel de Oliveira
Writer: Manoel de Oliveira
A documentary that looks at the people working in the river Douro, around the city of Porto.
Runtime: 20 min | Canada: 18 min
Sound Mix: Silent
Color: Black and White

Le Printemps - 1909

Country: France
Release Date: 21 June 1909 (France)
Also known as: Spring
Director: Louis Feuillade
Stars: Alice Tissot, Christiane Mandelys and Henri Duval
Production Co: Société des Etablissements L. Gaumont

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Romance of a Jewess - 1908

Country: USA
Language: English
Release Date: 23 October 1908 (USA)
Director: D.W. Griffith
Writer: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Florence Lawrence, George Gebhardt and Gladys Egan
A pawn shop. A man arranges a marriage with the owner's daughter, but she declines for love. The couple is cut off, and opens a book shop; some years later, he dies in a fall from a ladder. She is despondent; her daughter goes to seek help, and ends up a customer at her grandfather's pawn shop, not knowing the connection.

The Unchanging Sea- 1910

Country: USA
Language: English
Release Date: 5 May 1910 (USA)
Filming locations: San Pedro, Los Angeles, California, USA; Santa Monica, California, USA
Director: D.W. Griffith
Writer: Charles Kingsley (poem)
Stars: Arthur V. Johnson, Linda Arvidson and Gladys Egan
In this story set at a seaside fishing village and inspired by a Charles Kingsley poem, a young couple's happy life is turned about by an accident. The husband, although saved from drowning, loses his memory. A child is on the way, and soon a daughter is born to his wife. We watch the passage of time, as his daughter matures and his wife ages. The daughter becomes a lovely young woman, herself ready for marriage. One day on the beach, the familiarity of the sea and the surroundings triggers a return of her father's memory, and we are reminded that although people age and change, the sea and the ways of the fisherfolk remain eternal.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Untameable - Herbert Blaché - 1923

They Had to See Paris - Frank Borzage - 1929

The Signal Tower - Clarence Brown - 1924

Secrets - Frank Borzage - 1924

The Penalty - Wallace Worsley - 1920

The Passing of the Third Floor Back - Herbert Brenon - 1918

Nurse Marjorie - William Desmond Taylor - 1920

Der Müde Tod - Fritz Lang - 1921

The Matinee Idol- Frank Capra - 1928

The Informer - Arthur Robison - 1929

Hindles Wakes - Maurice Elvey - 1927

Fine Manners - Richard Rosson - 1926

The Docks of New York - Josef von Sternberg - 1928

The Wind - Victor Sjöström - 1928

Tumbleweeds - King Baggot - 1925

Three Bad Men - John Ford - 1926

The Mender of Nets - D. W. Griffith - 1912

The Fair Co-Ed - 1927

Spite Marriage - Edward Sedwig - 1929

Souls for Sales - Rupert Hughes - 1923

Shore Leave - John S. Robertson - 1925

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Regen - 1929

Country: Netherlands
Language: Dutch (intertitles)
Release Date: 14 December 1929 (Netherlands)
Also Known As: Rain
Filming Locations: Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Directors: Mannus Franken, Joris Ivens
Writers: Mannus Franken, Joris Ivens
The film documents rain falling on a Dutch city.

The Life and Death of 9413: A Hollywood Extra - 1928

Country: USA
Also Known As: A Hollywood Extra (undefined)
Hollywood Rhapsody (undefined)
Suicide of a Hollywood Extra (undefined)
Directors: Robert Florey, Slavko Vorkapich
Writers: Robert Florey (concept), Slavko Vorkapich (concept)
Stars: Jules Raucourt and George Voya
This short experimental film tells the story of a man who comes to Hollywood to become a star, only to fail and be dehumanized (he is identified by the number 9314 written on his forehead), after which he dies and goes on to Heaven where the number is removed.

H2O - 1929

Country: USA
Director: Ralph Steiner
A study on water, the reflections and motions of the liquid that accentuates its ethereality and metallic beauty. The first half is a look at water rushing, pouring from a pipe, spouting, falling, moving, and churning. The second half presents reflections, particularly how patterns appear in water as it is moved by breezes or other small forces. Wavy lines appear on the surface as if dividing the frame; swirls, too, do the same, bringing animation to the images. Donald Sosin's piano adds an airy quality to the images.

There It Is - 1928

Country: USA
Language: English
Release Date: 1 January 1928 (USA)
Directed by: Harold L. Muller (as H.L. Muller);Charles R. Bowers(uncredited)
Stars: Charles R. Bowers, Kathryn McGuire and Melbourne MacDowell
Production Co: Bowers Comedy Corporation
When a mysterious figure appears to cause a series of disruptions at the Frisbie Home in New York, word goes out to Scotland Yard that the Fuzz-Faced Phantom is at work...

An American in the Making - 1913

Country: USA
Language: English
Release Date: 22 April 1913 (USA)
Filming Locations: Ellis Island, New York Harbor, New York City, New York, USA; Gary, Indiana, USA; Lorain, Ohio, USA; Penn Station, Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA
Production Co: Thanhouser Film Corporation
Director: Carl Gregory
Stars: Harry Benham, Ethyle Cooke and Leland Benham
An Immigrant has come to the United States and is sponsored by a relative. He takes him to find employment and show him how the American work is protected by showing different types of safety equipment.

Matrimony's Speed Limit - 1913

Country: USA
Release Date: 11 June 1913 (USA)
Production Co: Solax Film Company
Stars: Fraunie Fraunholz and Marian Swayne
A man must marry by noon or lose his inheritance. It's 11:50 a.m. and he can't find his fiancée.

The Voice of the Violin - 1909

Country: USA
Language: English
Release Date: 18 March 1909 (USA)
Filming Locations: West 12th Street, Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA
Director: D.W. Griffith
Writer: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Arthur V. Johnson, Marion Leonard and Frank Powell
A music teacher is in love with Helen, one of his students, but she rejects him. In his anger he joins a communist group who plan to blow up a rich capitalist's house. When he realizes it's Helen's house, he tries to stop the plan.

Labor's Reward - 1925

Country: USA
Language: English (intertitles)
Release Date: 1925 (USA)
Surviving reel of the movie. A motherless family is thrown into crisis when the father is injured at work. With no workers' compensation to fall back on, the eldest daughter, Mary, has to work long hours for low wages until she collapses. As a result, her coworkers band together to unionize.

Manhatta - 1921

Country: USA
Also Known As: Mannahatta USA (alternative spelling)
New York the Magnificent USA (alternative title)
Filming Locations: New York City, New York, USA
Morning reveals New York harbor, the wharves, the Brooklyn Bridge. A ferry boat docks, disgorging its huddled mass. People move briskly along Wall St. or stroll more languorously through a cemetery. Ranks of skyscrapers extrude columns of smoke and steam. In plain view. Or framed, as through a balustrade. A crane promotes the city's upward progress, as an ironworker balances on a high beam. A locomotive in a railway yard prepares to depart, while an arriving ocean liner jostles with attentive tugboats. Fading sunlight is reflected in the waters of the harbor... The imagery is interspersed with quotations from Walt Whitman, who is left unnamed

Hazards of Helen: Episode 13 (1914–17)

Country: USA
Language: English
More than any other series the 119-episode Hazards of Helen (1914–17) was an adventure of the workplace, conveying a no nonsense feminism amid action stories about a woman’s capacity to do her job—and then some! It consisted of relatively self-contained episodes unified by Helen’s role as a railroad telegraph operator at a remote western depot, where she was usually the only woman in a man’s world. As if caught in some Sisyphean time warp, Helen began each episode with the men around her presuming that she was too weak and incompetent to do her job, and then proving herself the company’s fearless savior. A week later, she would take up her post again, all previous heroism forgotten.
In America women had worked as telegraph operators from the 1840s. In 1915, there were about 12,000 female telegraphers—about 20 percent of the total—but fewer than 3 percent of railroad operators were women. These served largely at remote locations not desired by male employees.

Manhattan Trade School for Girls - 1911

Country: USA
Language: English
Filming Locations: Manhattan Trade School for Girls - 209-213 East 23rd Street, Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA
Stars: Millie Spiro, Rose Pasquale and Miriam Levy
This is a non-fiction film about the Manhattan Trade School for Girls. In 1911, few women got education beyond primary school (especially in the big cities that were full of immigrants). Because of this, women were very limited in their employment options and received very low wages. The idea of this one year trade school was to help these young ladies get a leg up on a variety of trades. Oddly, much of what you see in the film does not seem that related to job skills--such as physical education classes. However, important skills such as cooking, sewing, how to dress for work, home economics, etc. are all being shown in the film.
Overall, it's all very dry. However, it's also a wonderful piece of our history--giving us insight into women shortly after the turn of the twentieth century--especially since there is a myth that women only started going to work during WWII.
For more information about the school and its expansion in 1915, try the following web site:

The Reawakening - 1920

Country: USA
Language: English (intertitles)
Filming Locations: Fort Sheridan, Illinois, USA
Production Co: Ford Motor Company
Documentary about the physical and vocational rehabilitation of wounded soldiers.

From the Submerged - 1912

Country: USA
Language: English (intertitles)
Release Date: 12 November 1912 (USA)
Filming Locations: Chicago, Illinois, USA; Essanay Studios - 1333-45 W. Argyle Street, Uptown, Chicago, Illinois, USA (studio)
Director: Theodore Wharton
Writer: Theodore Wharton (scenario)
Stars: E.H. Calvert, Ruth Stonehouse and William Walters
The film begins with a homeless man living in the park. His family apparently has disowned him. However, soon he reads a newspaper and sees a personal from his father--begging him to return. The man arrives to find his man on his deathbed.
The next scene finds the man well off once again--wearing a tux and attending a fashionable party. He escorts his date to a secluded place, as he wants to ask her to marry him. However, both times he tries, people seem to interrupt.
In the next scene, the man and his friends are "slumming"--walking by the very breadline where he once stood. When he tells his fiancée about this, she laughs and thinks it's all rather funny. He just can't bring himself to marry her now and tears up her photo. Instead, he dresses in his old clothes and goes in search of a poor woman who once helped him when he was down and out and ready to jump into the river. He finds her and, in an improbable turn, asks her to marry him--and they are married almost instantly. Only then does he reveal to her his wealth--and they live happily ever after.
Overall, a rather preachy morality tale that actually is pretty good for 1912. Such sentimentality and improbabilities would not have been seen in films made a few years later, but at the time this film was made the film was reasonably well made and received. (Review extracted from IMDB site)

One Hundred Percent American - 1918

Country: USA
Release Date: 5 October 1918 (USA)
Also Known As: 100% American USA (alternative spelling)
100% Canadian Canada (English title)
Filming Locations: Los Angeles, California, USA; Venice, Los Angeles, California, USA
Director: Arthur Rosson
Stars: Mary Pickford, Loretta Blake and Theodore Reed
A fund-raising short for the United States Fourth Liberty Loan Drive in World War I.
Mary Pickford was a Canadian citizen when this film was made, and when it was released in Canada to support the Canadian war bond drive, it was retitled '100% Canadian'.
A girl wants to go to a ball, admission one Liberty Bond, but rather than go herself, she loans the bond to a girlfriend. A soldier and a sailor find out and take her to the ball with them.

Preservation of the Sign Language - 1913

Country: USA
Language: American Sign Language
Release Date: 1913 (USA)
Stars: George Veditz
George Veditz, one-time president of the National Association of the Deaf of the United States, outlines the right of deaf people to sign instead of speak. Deafened by scarlet fever at the age of eight, Veditz was one of the first to make motion-picture recordings of American Sign Language. Taking care to sign precisely and in large gestures for the cameras, Veditz chose fiery biblical passages to give his speech emotional impact.

Hope, a Red Cross Seal Story - 1912

Country: USA
Language: English (intertitles)
Release Date: 16 November 1912 (USA)
Also Known As: Hope USA (short title)
Production Co: Edison Company
Stars: Gertrude McCoy, George Lessey and Charles Ogle
At this time this Edison short was made, Tuberculosis was the leading cause of death in America and this film serves as a warning as well as giving hope that the disease doesn't have to mean death. An elderly man refuses to donate money to a Tuberculosis fund but soon his daughter (Gertrude McCoy) comes down with the disease. This film certainly comes off too dramatic today but at the time of release this was certainly serious stuff. McCoy is very good in her role as is Charles Ogle in his small role. The direction is also quite nice and handles the story well. The film tries to give hope to those with the disease and this also comes off quite well but even with all that said, the film just doesn't come off as powerful as I'm sure it once did. (Review extracted from IMDB site)

White Fawn's Devotion: A Play Acted by a Tribe of Red Indians in America - 1910

Country: USA
Language: English
Release Date: 18 June 1910 (USA)
Also Known As: Le dévouement de l'Indienne (France)
Filming Locations: New Jersey, USA
Production Co: Pathé Frères
Stars: Red Wing
A frantic child reports to the tribal chief that her father killed her mother. The tribe chases and captures the man, dragging him back for tribal justice.

Ramona - 1910

Country: USA
Language: English (intertitles)
Release Date: 23 May 1910 (USA)
Also Known As: Ramona: A Story of the White Man's Injustice to the Indian USA (alternative title)
Filming Locations: Camulos, California, USA; Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA;
Piru, California, USA; Rancho Camulos, Piru, California, USA; San Gabriel,California, USA
Director: D.W. Griffith
Writers: Helen Hunt Jackson (novel), D.W. Griffith
Stars: Mary Pickford, Henry B. Walthall and Francis J. Grandon
Ramona, a young girl growing up on her adoptive mother's rancho in California, falls in love with the Indian lad Alessandro. When Ramona is denied permission to marry Alessandro, the two lovers elope, only to find a life of great hardship and unhappiness amidst the bigotry and greed of the white landowners.

Im Wannseebad - 1910

Country: Germany
Filming Locations: Strandbad Wannsee, Zehlendorf, Berlin, Germany

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Natural Born Gambler - 1916

Country: USA
Release Date: 24 July 1916 (USA)
Runtime: 22 min
Sound Mix: Silent
Color: Black and White
Director: Bert Williams
Writer: Bert Williams
Stars: Bert Williams
In 1916 the Biograph film company signed black comedian Bert Williams to write, produce, direct and star in two comedies. Williams created "A Natural Born Gambler" and "Fish." While hardly a breakthrough in shattering racial stereotypes (Williams was required by the studio to wear "darkie" makeup), a black production with a black cast was unprecedented. The response was tepid and Williams did not appear in any movies after Fish. - Gambler borrows from Williams' Vaudeville skits. It makes heavy use of stereotypes, e.g., stealing, cheating, minstrel speak, mainly for the amusement of white audiences of the time. But Williams portrays a leadership role throughout, something unseen in black performances of that period. Williams' character, "Bert", is unprincipled, but likable nonetheless. The delegate of his social club has a very distinguished role worth noting. When a well-dressed man from out of town visits Bert's watering hole with a wad of cash, Bert sees an opportunity and calls for a poker game. The closing sequence, probably the most entertaining, is straight from Williams' stage act. Bert plays an imaginary card game in a skit Williams made famous on Vaudeville.

A Western Masquerade - 1916

Country: USA
Release Date: 12 August 1916 (USA)
Production Co: Selig Polyscope Company
Sound Mix: Silent
Color: Black and White
Director: Tom Mix
Writer: Tom Mix (story)
Stars: Tom Mix, Victoria Forde and Joe Ryan