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Posts tagged ‘Silent Comedies’

10
Jan

On DVD/Blu-ray – Three Classic Comedies About the Movies

by HELEN GEIB

Essential Hollywood on Hollywood. In tribute to The Artist, three classic comedies about the movies:

Show People (1928)

Marion Davies had her best role as the aspiring actress star of King Vidor’s delightful late silent-era comedy Show People. An MGM production filmed and set on the studio backlot, the movie is further enlivened by cameo appearances by many of the top MGM stars of the day. Read more »

25
Sep

Festival Report – Cinesation 2011, Part 2

by HELEN GEIB

Cinesation 2011 Day 2 – Saturday, September 24

White Oak (1921)

White Oak is a late William Hart Western with an 1850s St. Louis and Independence “gateway to the West” setting. If you’ve seen one Hart film, then you have a good idea of the story and characters of this one (which is NOT the same thing as “seen one, seen them all”- his films work a common theme without sliding into interchangeability). The balance here tilts in favor of action and away from morality play. Hart and his production team were in good form. The 1850s Missouri setting allows for a riverboat, wagon train, Hart in the outfit of a casino dealer and other costumes from a less-familiar Western era, and muzzle-loading rifles. Plus the heroine’s dog saves the day. Some continuity errors are the byproduct of lost footage that was cut for the film’s re-release; the abridged print is the only material known to survive for two of the reels. Read more »

24
Sep

Festival Report – Cinesation 2011, Part 1

by HELEN GEIB

Cinesation 2011 Day 1 – Friday, September 23

The Gun Woman (1918)

Friday started with two incomplete films. The Gun Woman was incomplete only due to personal circumstances: it was the first feature of the day and Indianapolis is a five hour drive from the Lincoln Theater in Massillon, Ohio. What I saw of it was of interest as an early work by director Frank Borzage and for its saloon owner heroine, played by Texas Guinan. She’s a curious mixture of wronged woman and “good badwoman,” a sort of female William S. Hart. The story plays out much like a Hart film would play out- which is not the ending one expects a heroine in a film of that era to meet. Read more »

2
Aug

DVD of the Week – Three Double Features

by HELEN GEIB

Choose-your-own double features are all the rage on the movie blogosphere right now. In the spirit of the moment, for this week’s DVD recommendation I offer you three themed double features from my home library:

The Matrix and The Thirteenth Floor (both 1999)

Read more »

10
May

DVD of the Week – Review of The Illusionist (2010)

by NIR SHALEV

The Illusionist is an often funny, extremely poignant, and slightly dramatic, melancholy film that contains two stories that coexist under one theme: the times that are changing. The first story is of an aging French illusionist, Tatischeff who is out of work and travels to a small town in Scotland to perform his magic in small locales. Once there, he is welcomed by all of the locals, and also a very drunk one in particular. A young teenage girl, Alice, takes his fancy. When Tatischeff leaves the town to travel to Edinburgh, Alice runs away with him and a partnership develops. It turns into a father/daughter relationship quickly and they get along very well. Read more »

30
Sep

Cinesation 2009 Festival Report, Part Two

by HELEN GEIB

sessue_hayakawa

Part two of my Cinesation 2009 festival report. The spotlight is on Sessue Hayakawa, star of the fest’s final two silents. Read more »

27
Sep

Cinesation 2009 Festival Report, Part One

by HELEN GEIB

her_night_of_romance

The silent film program for Cinesation 2009 offered a strong lineup of star vehicles featuring Mary Pickford, Constance Talmadge, Ronald Colman, and Sessue Hayakawa. Colleen Moore appeared in an early supporting role while veteran character actor Edward Everett Horton was elevated to the starring part. There were also several of the obscure titles favored by the festival organizers, some of which were good. Read more »

19
Aug

Silent Reflections – Three Ages (1923)

by HELEN GEIB

The still accompanying this post is of Buster Keaton, Margaret Leahy, and Wallace Beery in the Stone Age segment of Three Ages. The Stone Age precedes the Roman Age which precedes the Modern Age in Keaton’s comic survey of love through the ages. Read more »

1
Aug

Silent Reflections – The Saphead (1920)

by HELEN GEIB

Buster Keaton had been working in short comedy films for several years when he made his first feature, The Saphead, in 1920. Aside from its place in Keaton’s filmography, the movie is a pleasant enough but unremarkable comedy. It’s a remake of an adaptation (titled The Lamb) of a successful Broadway show (titled The New Henrietta), both vehicles for Douglas Fairbanks. If The Saphead is a faithful adaptation, then presumably Fairbanks’ performance accounts for the success of the play and its first film version. The material is flimsy to say the least. Read more »

14
Jul

DVD of the Week – “Silent Ozu – Three Family Comedies” Box Set

by HELEN GEIB

Today’s DVD pick is a box set of three silent films by renowned Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu. The set, titled “Silent Ozu – Three Family Comedies,” was released by Criterion under its Eclipse label and includes Tokyo Chorus (1931), I Was Born, But… (1932), and Passing Fancy (1933). Read more »