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Old 08-29-2006, 08:07 PM   #51
sabotai
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The Mark Of Zorro (1920)
Directed By: Fred Niblo
Starring: Douglas Fairbanks,
Marguerite De La Motte, Noah Beery
Length: 90 min

Honors
Nominated AFI's "100 Years...100 Thrills"


It didn't take long for Zorro to be made for film. Based on the 1919 story, "The Curse of Capistrano", The Mark of Zorro is the tale of corruption in Mexico-owned California in the early 19th century and a masked hero who shows up to save the people.

Fairbanks plays Don Diego, the son of a wealthy land owner, but in a mask, he goes by the name of Zorro. The film starts off with, what I consider, the best scene. In a tavern, Captain Juan Ramon speaks of wanting to meet Zorro when Don Diego shows up. Ramon continues grandstanding while Diego just sits backs. He leaves, and a minute later, Zorro shows up and makes a fool of Ramon. As they fight, Zorro is just playing with him and I even laughed at some of the stunts Zorro pulls on Ramon.

Back to civilian life, Don Diego's parents try to set him up with a woman (Lolita) but he's clumsy, doesn't know what to say and makes me seem like Don Juan. But, when he shows up as Zorro, he completely wins her over with his confidence and romantic talk. Uh oh, Captain Juan Ramon has his eyes set on Lolita as well.

Zorro wins over some of the soldiers, and when Lolita's family is jailed, they resque them. Zorro takes a different route (heads back to his home) to throw off the pursuit. Ramon shows up at Diego's house, but they find Lolita there. Knowing the ruse is up, Diego pulls out his sword and fights. Everyone knows he is Zorro by the way he fights. He wins, of course, and all is right with the world. Well, California at least.

Fairbanks does a good job as the flashy swashbuckler, and he started the swashbuckler adventure genre of movies. However, by todays standards...well, he kind of looks like Bob Newhart. Can you imagine Bob Newhart playing the role of Zorro? I can, now. Other than Fairbanks not looking the part (by today's standards), it was a pretty entertaining adventure movie. Very high historic marks for being the movie that launches Fairbanks career as one of the film stars in history that would become synomonous with swashbuckler adventures, and for launching, in general, a genre that was almost completely dead in American entertainment. But, a few marks against it as it doesn't seem to be remembered as well as some of Fairbank's other swashbuckler movies.

For entertainment, it hurts because the fighting scenes almost look chaotic. Fairbanks was an accomplished fencer, and the fights probably were choreographed, but they looked neither choreographed, or worse, real. It reminded me of when I was a kid and me and my friends would pretend to swordfight. The action sequences really just don't hold up. Unfortunately, not much from this era really does hold up after almost a century, but action sequences seem to be the worse. But there is one thing that does hold up, though. Comedy is comedy, and as I said before, some of the comedic stunts that Zorro pulls on his opponents did get a few laughs out of me.

Historical Rating: 7/10
Entertainment Rating: 6/10

Hollywood Historical Notes:

Douglas Fairbanks met Mary Pickford in 1916 and began an affair with her (they were both married). Mary Pickford was a famous actress who we have not seen on my journey, unfortunately, due to The Poor Little Rich Girl not being on DVD. In 1919, Fairbanks was divorced by his wife. But his career was taking off and he, Pickford and Charlie Chaplin formed United Artist so that they could control their work instead of the studios. In March 1920, Pickford divorced her first husband and quickly married Fairbanks. They were nervous about the public's reation, but it was positive. The public loved that the hero married the sweethart and they were the first "Hollywood Marriage" (and like the modern Hollywood marriage, it didn't last, although it did last a bit longer than the normal modern Hollywood couple). Later that year, The Mark Of Zorro was one of United Artist's first releases.


Last edited by sabotai : 12-16-2007 at 10:52 PM.
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Old 08-29-2006, 09:11 PM   #52
sabotai
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Way Down East (1920)
Directed By: D.W. Griffith
Starring: Lillian Gish, Richard Barthelmess, Lowell Sherman, Burr McIntosh
Length: 145 min

Honors
#71 - AFI's "100 Years...100 Passions"
Nominated AFI's "100 Years...100 Thrills"


I wonder if Griffith ever put Lillian Gish into a role where her character doesn't suffer through much of the film. It always seems like she's crying or running for her life.

Gish plays Anna, a naive country girl that goes to the city to be with her wealthy aunt. While there, she meets Lennox Sanderson, a womanizer. He convinces Anna to marry him and keep it a secret. She heads back home and her secret meetings happen less and less. When she becomes pregnent, he tells her that they weren't actually married, that he had tricked her, and he left. Anna's mother dies soon after, and Anna moves into a room at an inn. While there, she gives birth and cares for her baby, but it becomes sick and dies. The woman running the inn finds out that she doesn't have a husband and kicks her out.

Anna finds her way to a farm and, after some hesitation, they take her and give her work to do (The farm is owned by Squire Bartlett). As it happens, a boy on the farm falls for Anna when he sees her, but he (David) is already arranged to be married to a woman named Kate. Kate draws the attraction of a scientist and her neighbor. Who is her neighbor? Why, it's Lennox of course! One day Lennox and Anna cross paths at he tells her that she has to leave but she refuses. Lennox reminds her that once they find out about her past, they will kick her out.

Well, what do you know! One of Squire Bartlett's children is in town one day when she runs into the woman innkeeper that booted Anna. She sees Anna outside of a window and tells the Bartlett child about her past. She informs Squire Bartlett of what happened. After some investigating, Squire Bartlett finds out the truth about Anna

During the middle of winter, during a terrible blizzard at night, Bartlett does what anyone would do. He kicked out of the house right then and there. But, before Anna goes running off, she reveals that Lennox tricked her and that he was the father of the baby. All hell breaks loose as Anna runs off and David runs off after her.

Where it gets the AFI nomination for Thrills is the scene that follows. She passes out on some ice that happens to be on a river. The ice breaks loose and she is sent down the river while David jumps between large pieces of ice on the river to make a daring rescue right before she was about to go down a waterfall. I was actually quite impressed with this scene. Even though during this time there was still a lot of inconsistency between shots, I was impressed that it tooked as good as it did (even though in some shots, you could easily tell the waterfall was only a few feet high.)

In the end, everything is forgiven, David marries Anna, Kate marries her scientist, and in the comedic relief portion, the Bartlett child that ratted Anna out marries some dead beat from the town. At this point, one of the first man on man kisses to be on screen happened (for a completely comedic purpose). The dead beat goes to kiss his wife, but she is distracted, bends down and he kisses another dude.

The film would become one of the most popular silent films made, taking in over five million dollars at the box office.

I have noticed that something that has become all too common in silent films is not common in a D.W. Griffith film. The pace of some of these silent films are really slow, to the point of painful boredom, and I'm talking about movies that are only 90 minutes or less. However, Griffith shows why he is considered the best silent film director in these movies. This movie was nearly two and half hours, yet it never dragged down. It kept a nice, steady pace throughout the movie. But, one thing I am getting a bit tired of is seeing Lillian Gish play the same basic character. The damsel in distress, the depressed, wounded girl. This was the third time where I see her play this through the entire film. However, looking at my list, we will get to see miss Lillian Gish with director D.W. Griffth one more time.

For historical rating, it's rated high. Voted as one of the top romantic movies in cinema history, an impressive chase/rescue scene at the end and the 5th biggest grossing silent movie.

For entertainment, well, it is a romance movie. And a long one, too. While the pace was good, the story was mildly interesting, it was filled with too many coincidences for my tastes. Coincidences just don't sit well with me. The Bartlett's neighbor just happens to be Lennox Sanderson. The woman innkeeper just happens to go to that town, on that day, and see Anna for that minute, and..and...and it just keeps going on. I don't like stories that rely too much on extreme coincidences, and this one did.

Historical Rating: 8/10
Entertainment Rating: 4/10

Last edited by sabotai : 05-03-2009 at 09:36 PM.
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Old 09-02-2006, 04:42 PM   #53
sabotai
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The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)
Directed By: Robert Wiene
Starring: Lil Dagover, Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Fredrich Feher
Length: 71 min


A twist ending! I love it!

The movie starts off with a man named Francis (Fredrich Feher) telling another person how he and his wife had gotten engaged.

Dr. Caligari (Werner Krauss) shows up at a carnival to display is somnabulist (sleepwalker), Cesare (Conrad Veidt). Cesare has been sleeping for 24 years and awakens at the command of Dr. Caligari to answer questions about anything. One person, a friend of Francis' and a "competitor" to win the hand of the one they both love, asks when will he die, and Cesare answers, in a horror-like fashion, that the man will ide at dawn tomorrow. And then it happens.

The police suspect Dr. Caligari, but he escapes when the police are inspecting the cabinet that Cesare live in, basically, and find a dummy. Cesare was not in the box, as he was trying to murder the woman Francis was in love with. The attempted murder is foiled. Francis goes to a hospital to ask if any of them know a Dr. Caligari, and finds out that Dr. Caligari is the head of the hospital! Francis, along with several employees of the hospital, break into his office one night and find his journal, proving that he is the man who was at the carnival. They capture him, put him in a straightjacket.

Then it cuts back to Francis telling the man about his wife, and we find out that Francis is actually locked away in the insane asylum, along with is "wife", Cesare, and other people who appeared in his story. Dr. Caligari is still the head of the hospital and is attacked by Francis. They lock Francis away as the movie ends. But as the movie fades out, Dr. Caligari puts on his glasses and looks the way he did in Francis' story. We are left not knowing if any part of Francis' story was true, but in what will become tradition for horror mivies, we get a "The End?" ending instead of a "The End." ending.

A very satisfying twist ending that didn't feel cheap at all. The opening of the movie gives hints at the twist ending to come, as the characters say wierd things and act unusual.

The German Expressionism in this film is far more noticable than in Der Golem. Every set was twisted and surreal. It's clear that this film influenced Tim Burton not only in set design, but Edward Scissorhands has a bit more than a passing similarity in appearance to Caligari's somnabulist Cesare, and for that same movie, the structure is the same. Start off with the main protagonist telling a story to someone else, playing out the story, and then coming back at the end.

For historical rating, this film is mentioned far more than Der Golem, and is talked about as the beginning of the horror genre. I'm not even sure if you could overstate the amount of influence this movie had over the entire genre (as well as other genres) for the entire history of film. It even influenced music artists like Rob Zombie (the music video for "Living Dead Girl") and the Red Hot Chili Peppers (the music video for "Otherside"). Somone even adapted the movie as an opera.

As far as entertainment goes, this is so far my favorite silent film. It was suspenseful, the pace was good, it was unpredictable and smart. I don't think I ever thought "Now, why the hell are you doing that!? You idiot!!" during the movie, like I do in a lot of horror movies. I enjoyed this one a lot and it will probably make it onto my list of DVDs to buy.

Historical Rating: 9/10
Entertainment Rating: 8/10

Last edited by sabotai : 05-03-2009 at 09:36 PM.
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Old 09-03-2006, 05:47 PM   #54
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Excellent writeups on the last two despite being challenging.
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Old 09-03-2006, 06:50 PM   #55
sachmo71
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I also loved The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. I watched it for a class on the Weimar Republic.
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Old 09-10-2006, 11:32 PM   #56
sabotai
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An updated List of movies to 1923 as I've added 4 more.

Upcoming Movies

The Last of the Mohicans (1920)*
The Sheik (1921)
Little Lord Fauntleroy (1921)**
Orphans of the Storm (1921)***
The Kid (1921)
Through The Back Door (1921) **
The Three Musketeers (1921)
Shadows (1922)
Robin Hood (1922)
Oliver Twist (1922)
Tess of the Storm Country (1922)**
Nosferatu (1922)
The Ten Commandments (1923)
Safety Last (1923)
Our Hospitality (1923)
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923)

* - I've actually watched this one already. Look for the review tomorrow!

** - Added because I wanted to throw some Mary Pickford movies into it, seeing as how she was a big star and one of her movies, aside from one not on DVD, doesn't appear on my list until 1926.

*** - Added because I've become a fan of Lillian Gish, and this was the last movie she did with director D.W. Griffith

Lost Films or Films Not on DVD
(these are movies that are on my list, but I can't watch because they have not made it to DVD yet, or they have been lost)

Within Our Gates (1920)
The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse (1921)
Dr. Mabuse, Der Spieler (1922)
Scarmouche (1923)
La Roue (1923)
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Old 09-11-2006, 03:38 PM   #57
sabotai
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The Last of the Mohicans (1920)
Directed By: Maurice Tourneur, Clarence Brown
Starring: Wallace Beery, Barbera Bedford, Alan Roscoe, Lillian Hall
Length: 73 min.


It's not going to be easy for a movie to follow up a great movie like The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. This film is regarded well, but I did not like it much and it may have to do with it being watched after watching a movie I loved.

The Monro sisters, along with Major Duncan Heyward and psalmist David Gamut, are being led to Fort William Henry by an indian guide, Magua. They get lost and Magua disappears when they come across a scout named Hawkeye and his indian friends, Uncas and Chingackgook. Cora Monro is immediately drawn towards Uncas.

Magua was setting up an ambush but coming across Hawkeye and his Mohican friends ruined it. However, they are still in trouble as they seek a cave for hiding. Magua and his party end up fidning them and taking the Munros, Heyward and Gamut prisoner. Another battle ensues as Hawkeye and the Mohicans try to free them.

They eventually end up in a "trial"-like situation where the cheif sets the young, blonde haired Monro free, but the dark-haired Cora Monro is sent off with Magua. Uncas follows them. Cora finds an edge of a cliff and threatens to jump if Magua does not let her go, so they play the waiting game as Magua sits and waits for Cora to fall asleep. A long time passes, and just as Uncas reaches them, Cora wakes up as Magua tries to grab her and jumps. Magua and Uncas fight, and Magua wins by killing Uncas. Hawkeye returns the favor, and shoots Magua dead. After this, a long funeral scene ends the movie.

The film was, in a word, boring. There's not much more to say than that. The acting was bad, the directing was decent, however. The ending just didn't make much sense. Uncas says he's going to follow them to Magua and Cora as they are leaving the village, yet she still jumps instead of waiting for rescue. And the funeral scene...just end the damn movie already!

Historically it's rated decent. It's preserved in the Library of Congress, and is one of the more highly regarded adaptations of the book. Having not read the book, I do not know how faithful the adaptation was.

Entertainment, again, boring. I just couldn't really get into the movie. Some of the fighting scenes were hard to follow. The pace was up and down like crazy. Sometimes it would go a long time before anything really happened, and then you're smacked with a lot of hard to follow action. A bad rating on this type of movie is pretty bad coming from me, as this is one of the types of movies I generally enjoy.

Historical Rating: 5/10
Entertainment Rating: 3/10

Last edited by sabotai : 05-03-2009 at 09:38 PM.
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Old 09-28-2006, 03:43 PM   #58
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The Sheik (1921)
Directed By: George Melford
Starring: Rudolph Valentino, Agnes Ayres, Adolphe Menjou
Length: 80 Min.

Honors
#80 - AFI's "100 Years...100 Passions"


A romance movie........anyway....

The Sheik Ahmed Ben Hassan (Rudolph Valentino) meets a white woman, Lady Diana Mayo (Agnes Ayres) and is attracted to her. So when she leaves the safety of the city by herself, he kidnaps her and takes her as his wife. She fights him at first, but over time she ends up falling in love with him.

However, she hides it. The Sheik decides to free her after his friend, Raoul St. Hubert (Adolphe Menjou) talks him into letting her go. Before that can happen, Lady Diana is kidnapped by a rival sheik. Ahmed rescues her, but is critically injured. As Diani is nursing Ahmed back to health, she learns from Hubert that the Sheik is actually European and was adopted by the former sheik. When the Sheik had recovered, Lady Diana stays with him.

The film got mixed reviews from critics. It also changed things up from the novel it was based on. For instance, in the novel Lady Diana is raped by the Sheik, but they left that out of the movie entirely.

The movie did do extremely well with the female audience, and as a result, Valentino became one of film's first sex symbol. Obviously, the film is historically important as it spawned several spoofs and launched Valentino's career. Entertainment....well, I don't like romance movies very much, and I didn't really like this one either.

Historical Rating: 6/10
Entertainment Rating: 2/10

Last edited by sabotai : 12-16-2007 at 10:53 PM.
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Old 10-31-2006, 01:29 PM   #59
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I didn't get much movie watching done in the last month. I have watched 5 more and need to write those up.
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Old 10-31-2006, 02:21 PM   #60
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Liitle Lord Fauntleroy (1921)
Directed By: Alfred E. Green
Starring: Mary Pickford, Claude Gillingwater, Joseph J. Dowling
Length: 112 min.


Mary Pickford, a 29 year old woman, plays a boy, as in a child.

This movie seems to sum up everything that Pickford hated about her image. She got stuck playing children characters, and her image was so cemented in the role of "America's Sweetheart" that the public responded very negatively anytime she would play a part that was adult or sexual in any way.

In Little Lord Fauntleroy, The son of the Earl of Dorincourt (Claude Gillingwater) marries a commoner, and the Earl believes his son's wife was just marring him for his money. They have a child, Cedric (Mary Pickford). Cedric's father dies shortly after he is born and the Earl cuts off all contact until the Earl's other son dies, leaving Cedric as the only heir.

Cedric and his mother (also played by Mary Pickford) are invited to the Earl's estate as the Earl tries and gets to know his grandson. As the relationship grows, a woman shows up with a children claiming it to be the rightful heir. Their deception is exposed and the Earl, Cedric and Cedric's mother all become one big happy family.

Aside from watching Mary Pickford play the role of a boy, the movie itself wasn't really all that good, and it hardly ever gets referenced aside her other movies.

Entertainment Rating: 3/10
Historical Rating: 2/10

Last edited by sabotai : 05-03-2009 at 09:38 PM.
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Old 10-31-2006, 02:59 PM   #61
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The Kid (1921)
Directed By: Charlie Chaplan
Starring: Charlie Chaplan, Edna Purviance, Jackie Coogan
Length: 68 min

Honors
AFI's "100 Years...100 Movies" Nominee
AFI's "100 Years...100 Laughs" Nominee


Chaplan directs and stars, as always, as The Tramp. In this movie, The Tramp finds an abandoned child in an alley. After a few comical tries to leave the baby with someone else, he ends up keeping the child and raising him. 5 years later, the kid (played by Jackie Coogan) is The Tramp's partner in crime. The Tramp is a winder replacer/fixer (it would seem) and Coogan goes around smashing windows so they have to get their windows fixed.

One day the kid gets sick and a doctor is called. The doctor finds out that the kid isn't actuall The Tramp's child, so the police come to take him away. The Tramp chases after and is able to rescue the kid, but it's only temporary. The kid is reunited with his birth mother, a woman who has made it big as an actress since abandoning her child. The movie ends happily as the woman reunites the kid with The Tramp at her house.

The movie itself was good, but I guess I was expecting a bit more, considering Chaplan's reputation and fame. This film lauched Jackie Coogan's career as Hollywood's first child actor at the age of 7. Coogan's finanaces from being a child actor star was the inspiration behind the California Child Actor's Bill, a Bill that stated parents of child actors must put 15% of the actor's income into a trust. Coogan's mother and step-father took Coogan's estimated $4 million that he earned. Coogan sued, but only received $126,000.

Entertainment Rating: 7/10
Historical Rating: 8/10

Last edited by sabotai : 12-16-2007 at 10:53 PM.
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Old 10-31-2006, 04:59 PM   #62
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Good to see this back!
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Old 10-31-2006, 09:02 PM   #63
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I'm a little confused about the Mary Pickford roles. She plays a child - was it trick photography? If she also played the mother, was split screens used?
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Old 10-31-2006, 10:14 PM   #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buccaneer View Post
I'm a little confused about the Mary Pickford roles. She plays a child - was it trick photography? If she also played the mother, was split screens used?

From the screenshot it looks like she might be standing in front of a screen with the mother footage on it, ala Journey to the Center of the Earth and countless other old sci fi movies that involved massive monsters.
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Old 10-31-2006, 10:16 PM   #65
sabotai
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buccaneer View Post
I'm a little confused about the Mary Pickford roles. She plays a child - was it trick photography? If she also played the mother, was split screens used?

Back then, they way they did effects along these lines was through double/multiple exposure of the film. They would film the actor doing one thing, rewind the film, and then rerecord over the film.

I found this on imdb's site:
  • In scene in which Little Lord Fauntleroy meets Dearest (both parts being played by Mary Pickford) the kiss-on-the-cheek cut took 15 hours to film and lasts 3 seconds on-screen due to the complexity of the multiple exposures. To ensure stability between takes, the camera used by cinematographer Charles Rosher was weighted down to the tune of close to a ton.
As for when she was on screen with other actors, a lot of the time, it was close enough to only see from the waist up. I'd imagine that she was standing on a lower platform than everyone else. Just speculation though, since the DVD didn't have a "Making Of" featurette on the DVD.
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Old 10-31-2006, 10:26 PM   #66
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I think I saw that TCM had Scaramouche on the other day. Idon't know what year that version was, but you might want to see if TCM will be showing it.
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Old 10-31-2006, 10:31 PM   #67
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I guess it was the 1952 version. never mind
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Old 11-13-2006, 01:15 AM   #68
sabotai
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The Three Musketeers (1921)
Directed By: Fred Niblo
Starring: Douglad Fairbanks, Leon Bary, George Siegmann, Eugene Pilete
Length: 119 min.


I'm sure everyone knows the story of The Three Musketeers, so I won't bore with a retelling of that story. Quick plot summery: D'Artagnan (Douglad Fairbanks) travels to Paris to join the Musketeers. He's refused, but taken under the wings of Artho (Leon Bary), Pathos (George Siegmann) and Aramis (Eugene Pilete). Much action ensues.

The film is very action packed, with D'Artagnan picking fights with just about anyone. The stunts are pretty impressive, and the stunt where Fairbanks handsprings with one hand with a sword in the other is considered one of the best stunts of the silent film era.

Where the film fails, for me, is the character of D'Artagnan himself. The Three Musketeers is one of the many books I wish I had read, would like to read, but have not gotten around to it. I can't speak as to whether or not the character is a faithful interpretation. What I can say is that the D'Artagnan in this film is whiney and childish. I just could not, for the life of me, cheer on this character. The character simply wasn't likeable at all.

While the film had some nice fight scenes, I just could not get into it.

For the stunts and fight scenes that are ranked very high for the silent film era, it gets a decent Historical Rating, but as far as Entertainment Rating goes, it gets hurt a lot by the frequently annoying personality of many of the characters.

Entertainment Rating: 4/10
Historical Rating: 6/10

Last edited by sabotai : 12-16-2007 at 10:53 PM.
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Old 11-15-2006, 12:30 AM   #69
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Through The Back Door (1921)
Directed By: Alfred E. Green
Starring: Mary Pickford, Gertrude Astor, Wilfred Lucas, Helen Raymond
Length: 89 min.


Jeanne (Mary Pickford) is left with a maid as a child when her mother marries a wealthy man. Years pass before her mother shows up to get her, but the maid had grown so attached to the little girl that she tells the mother that the child had recently died.

When the child becomes a teenager, Germany invades her country, and the maid sends her off to America to find her real mother. When she gets there, with 2 orphan Belgian children, her mother lives in a mansion with many servents. She is repeatedly denied access to her mother, and is hired as a maid, claiming the orphans as her own.

As time goes on, and her chances at teller her mother who she is are thwarted, she learns of a plot against her mother and step-father.

I found the movie to be much better than the previous Pickford movie I had seen (Little Lord Fauntleroy). First off, Pickford actually plays a woman (teenage girl) in this film. I found the plot to be a little quicker and more involved than in Fauntleroy. There's just more going on and it doesn't drag.

Still, the movie's drawback for me is one of personal preference. I find plots that rely on repeated occurances to be annoying. I mean, she's trying to hand her mother a letter this whole time, and then she tries and leave it for her on her nightstand, the mother accidently knocks it on the floor. There's just too many coincidences going on. Pickford's character is not assertive at all in trying to get her mother the information that shows her who she is. That causes a lot of these situations and I found myself rolling my eyes a few times.

Annoying plot devises aside, it was a pretty decent movie. Low Historical Rating since, much like Little Lord Fauntleroy, the movie isn't referenced much at all. (Also, for the image above, I could not find a pic of the movie, so I had to go with movie poster.)

Entertainment Rating: 5/10
Historical Rating: 3/10

Last edited by sabotai : 12-16-2007 at 10:53 PM.
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Old 11-15-2006, 12:49 AM   #70
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I hated The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari to be perfectly honest. It was one of the most boring movies I'd ever watched, but that's just me. I do understand its historical and stylistic significances, though.

Love this dynasty, by the way.
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Best Non-Sport Dynasty: May Our Reign Be Green and Golden (CK Dynasty)

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Dynasty of the Year: May Our Reign Be Green and Golden (CK Dynasty)
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Old 11-15-2006, 07:58 AM   #71
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Agreed Izulde. This is a great dynasty.
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Old 11-15-2006, 01:48 PM   #72
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I hated The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari to be perfectly honest. It was one of the most boring movies I'd ever watched, but that's just me. I do understand its historical and stylistic significances, though.

Love this dynasty, by the way.

Dr. Caligari is definitely a movie you'll either love or hate. There's not much middle ground to work with. It's kind of like Abstrat Art (which I don't like, btw. ), it either connects with the viewer or it doesn't.

It's also a movie where the ending is either a good payoff or it just flops for the viewer (along the same lines as movies like The Sixth Sense, 12 Monkeys or Memento. In those kinds of movies, the ending either lifts the whole movie up or makes it fall flat on its face, depending on the viewer).
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Old 11-16-2006, 11:58 PM   #73
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Orphans Of The Storm (1921)
Directed By: D.W. Griffith
Starring: Lillian Gish, Dorothy Gish, Joseph Schildkraut, Frank Losee
Length: 150 min


Griffith's last movie starring Lillian Gish (along with her sister, Dorothy Gish)

Henriette (Lillian Gish) and Louise (Dorothy Gish) are orphans who are raised together as sisters. Louise goes blind and Henriette promies to take care of her. They make a trip to Paris in search of a cure for Louise's blindness. Along the way, an aristocrat takes an interest in Henriette, but she refuses. Apon reaching Paris, the aristocrat kidnaps Henriette, leaving Louise alone.

Louise is taken in by a begger, who imprisons her and forces her to beg on the streets. Meanwhile, Henriette is saved by a kind aristocrat named Chevalier de Vaudrey (Joseph Schildkraut). She falls in love with him, and he helps her to find her sister. She says she can not be with him until she finds her sister.

The movie is set in the same time period as the French Revolution, so unlike a movie like Through The Back Door, that has to rely on coincidence, forced situations and weak chacters to keep it moving, this film had a lot of external conflict to keep the sisters apart.

I said in a previous review that it seems like Lillian Gish plays the same part over and over again, and the same thing goes for this film. The tortured woman who expierences bad moment after bad moment, until the end where everything works out. Same exact character here.

While I have appriciated Griffith's movies, one of the reasons I haven't enjoyed them as much is because they seem to follow the same basic formula. Lillian Gish plays a woman with "baggage". In this movie, it's her lost, blind sister. In Way Down East, it was having an illegitimate child. In Broken Blossoms, it was her father. She ends up falling in love, in some form, with a man who, at first, can't or won't accept her baggage (mostly because of social conventions). But, in the end, after the climax that the external force of the movie has built up, all is well.

Each movie puts its own twist on the basic premise. In Broken Blossoms, for instance, it had a trajic ending. In Way Down East, instead of the climatic conflict being between people, it was a person against nature. And in this movie, her baggage is wanted (her blind sister), instead of unwanted.

However, having said all of that, and after seeing the same basic plot a couple of times, I would have to say that this one is my favorite. It had lots of action, a constantly changing backdrop (the French Revolution), and interesting characters. I still wouldn't give this a very high Entertainment Rating, but higher than the previous Griffith/Gish movies. However, its Historical Rating suffers as it is not remembered nearly as well as a movie like Way Down East, or any of Griffith's other masterpieces.

I haven't given many of Griffth's movies high marks, but I'm really appriciative of his work. While I won't feel the urge to watch any of his movies again (maybe the Babylon story in Intolerance), I do admire his work. He was definitely a visionary when it came to directing. He may have been formulatic when it came to writing, but his ability to direct and innovate with camera angles, at the very least, make the films easy to watch.

Entertainment Rating: 6/10
Historical Rating: 5/10

Last edited by sabotai : 05-03-2009 at 09:39 PM.
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Old 11-18-2006, 01:29 PM   #74
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Shadows (1922)
Directed by: Tom Forman
Starring: Harrison Ford, Marguerite De La Motte, Lon Chaney
Length: 70 min.


Unlike Richard Barthelmess's portrayal or a Chinese man in Broken Blossoms, Lon Chaney's use of make up actually makes him look Chinese.

Yen Sin (Lon Chaney) finds himself in a small community, named Urkay, on the beach after a terrible storm destroys his ship. In the same storm, Sympathy Gibbs (Marguerite De La Motte) loses her husband. Yen Sin decides to stay in town, even though he is labeled a heathen by the communtiy.

Shortly after, a new pastor comes to town, John Malden (Harrison Ford). He soon falls in love with Sympathy and they wed. The two become friends with Yen Sin, with the pastor quoting the Bible to Yen Sin in an attempt to convert Yen Sin, none of which succeed. Yen Sin also befreinds some of the children in the community.

Soon after the wedding, while Sympathy was pregnent, John had to leave to attend a conference. He receives a telegram that his wife gave birth, but on the same night, receives a letter from Sympathy's husband, who everyone thought had died. He doesn't want to cause trouble, but the husband will keep quiet only if the pastor pays him off. He does so, but continues to get demands for money from her husband.

This also puts a strain in his marriage. Her husband is still alive, and so he doesn't allow himself to be with Sympathy.

Much like with Outside The Law, it seems like the only reason to mention on watch the film is because it displays the talents of Lon Chaney. It was a more enjoyable movie, even if the "twist" ending was obvious.

Entertainment Rating: 5/10
Historical Rating: 3/10

Last edited by sabotai : 12-16-2007 at 10:54 PM.
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Old 11-20-2006, 07:09 PM   #75
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Robin Hood (1922)
Directed By: Allan Dwan
Starring: Douglas Fairbanks, Enid Bennett, Sam de Grasse, Wallace Beery
Length: 127 min


The first adaptation of Robin Hood.

This film focuses much more on the corruption of Prince John and his followers than the other Robin Hood films I have seen. In fact, "Robin Hood" doesn't show up until more than halfway through the film.

The movie starts off with the Earl of Huntingdon (Douglas Fairbanks) beating Sir Guy of Gisbourne in a joust. King Richard the Lion-Heart (Wallace Beery) is so impressed, he befriends Huntingdon and takes him along as his second in command to fight the crusades. The King leaves his brother, Prince John (Sam de Grasse) to rule his country. He ends up sending the country into poverty because of his power-tripping corruption. He and his followers live it up in the castle while the country starves.

Maid Marian (Enid Bennett) gets word to Huntingdon about the corruption and he plans to leave. However, Richard has him imprisoned for desertion. Huntingdon escapses, returns to England and takes on the name of Robin Hood.

This was the first film that had a Hollywood premiere. It was also one of the most expensive movies made, according to imdb.com it costs $1.5 million to make. They built an entire medieval town for the scenes in Nottingham. Also according to imdb.com, the movie grossed $2.5 million.

In this movie, Robin Hood's antagonist is Prince John, unlike many of the other films, or legends that Robin Hood is based on, where the antagonist is the Sheriff of Nottingham. One thing I didn't like about the film is that, as previously mentioned, "Robin Hood" is in less than half the movie. When I watch a Robin Hood movie, I like watching him fight the Sheriff's men, taking from the rich and giving to the poor, etc. But for the first half of the movie, it was essentially setting up Robin Hood's introduction. It spent way too much time getting Richard out of the country and getting John into power.

Another thing I didn't like was that characters like Friar Tuck and Will Scarlett were nothing more than extras. They were hardly used at all in the story. They were just kind of introduced, and that was it. The only exception was the character of Little John, who was the Earl of Huntingdon's squire before becoming Robin Hood. There was hardly any character developement, outside of Robin Hood. A largely boring film for the first 75-80 minutes, and then it ends just as it's getting good.

Entertainment Rating: 5/10
Historical Rating: 8/10

Last edited by sabotai : 12-16-2007 at 10:54 PM.
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Old 11-24-2006, 10:52 PM   #76
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Upcoming Movies

Beyond The Rocks (1922) - Romance
Nanook of the North (1922) - Documentary
Haxan: Witchcraft Through The Ages (1922) - Foreign Documentary (Sweden)
Oliver Twist (1922) - Drama
Tess of the Storm Country (1922) - Drama
Nosferatu (1922) - Foreign Horror (German)
The Shock (1923) - Crime Drama
The Ten Commandments (1923) - Epic Drama
Safety Last (1923) - Comedy
Our Hospitality (1923) - Comedy
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) - Drama
The Last Laugh (1924) - Foreign Drama (German)
The Navigator (1924) - Comedy
Thief of Bagdad (1924) - Adventure
Mikael (1924) - Foreign Drama/Romance (German)
Aelita (1924) - Foreign Adventure/Sci-Fi (Russia)
Wizard of Oz (1925) - Fantasy
The Lost World (1925) - Fantasy
Strike (Strachka) (1925) - Foreign Drama (Russia)
Ben-Hur (1925) - Epic Drama
Don Q, Son of Zorro (1925) - Adventure
The Eagle (1925) - Adventure/Romance/Comedy
Seven Chances (1925) - Comedy
The Gold Rush (1925) - Comedy
Battleship Potemkin (1925) - Foreign Drama (Russia)
The Phantom of the Opera (1925) - Horror
The Freshman (1925) - Comedy

Lost Films or Films Not on DVD
(these are movies that are on my list, but I can't watch because they have not made it to DVD yet, or they have been lost)

Dr. Mabuse, Der Spieler (1922)
Scarmouche (1923)
La Roue (1923)
Greed (1924)

Last edited by sabotai : 11-24-2006 at 11:39 PM.
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Old 12-22-2006, 05:58 PM   #77
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Beyond The Rocks (1922)
Directed By: Sam Wood
Starring: Rudolph Valentino, Gloria Swanson
Length: 81 min


This film had been lost until April 2003 when a copy was found in a private collection in the Netherlands.

This romance was based on a 1906 novel written by Elinor Glyn.

The plot has become a well known storyline to me. A poor, attractive girl named Theodora (Gloria Swanson) marries a wealthy man. She does it not out of love, but to help her sick father. He can not afford medical attention, but with the rich man's money, she can help her dad. She basically gets forced into the marriage by her greedy sisters.

On the honeymoon, however, she meets Lord Hector Bracondale (Rudolph Valentino). They fall in love, but do not allow the relationship to flourish. As time goes on, they can not help it. They must see each other, but know it is wrong.

And that's essentially the film. Scene after scene of them being together, but knowing they shouldn't. It was, to me, in a word: boring. Seriously, it was just flat out boring. I usually don't go for romances, but this movie was just a constant flow of scenes where they get close, pull away, get close, pull away, get close, pull away....enough already.

At least it was short...

Entertainment Rating: 2/10
Historical Rating: 5/10

Last edited by sabotai : 12-16-2007 at 10:54 PM.
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Old 12-22-2006, 06:20 PM   #78
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Nanook Of The North (1922)
Directed By: Robert J. Flaherty
Starring: Nanook and his much family
Length: 79 min


Credited as being the first feature length documentary, Flahery's "Nanook Of The North" follows Nanook, an eskimo of the Inuit tribe, and his family as they live their lives. We see Nanook trading, hunting, fishing, building an igloo after a long day's travel, etc.

The film is criticized, however, because many of the scenes, if not all, are staged. TO be honest, I don't see how you could do a documentary any other way back then. It's not like they had cameras and microphones that were easily moved around and could be left recording. They had equipment that required them to set up and shoot for relatively short periods of time. For instance, the interior igloo shots were not actually inside of an igloo. The Inuits built a 3-walled igloo because they had to. The camera was buliky and would not capture any images inside an actual igloo.

Also criticised because Flaherty encouraged Nanook and others to hunt with spears instead of guns (although what they were hunter were actual wild animals). Flaherty wanted to capture what it was like for the Inuits without European influence.

While these actions (staging scenes) have become unethical in documentary work, during his time, with this subject matter, I simply can't see how he could have done it without re-enacting scenes.

Nanook died in 1922 when he was caught in a snowstorm while out hunting. His death was reported in newspapers around the world. The film was a huge success for Flaherty, who went on to make several more documentaries.

Entertainment Rating: 6/10
Historical Rating: 7/10

Last edited by sabotai : 12-16-2007 at 10:54 PM.
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Old 12-29-2006, 12:24 PM   #79
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Just started following this dynasty over the holidays. Nice job! Very interesting, please keep it coming.
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Old 12-30-2006, 10:21 PM   #80
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Just started following this dynasty over the holidays. Nice job! Very interesting, please keep it coming.

Thanks. I took a bit of a break (longer than I thought I would) to catch up on more current movies I had wanted to see (plus, you can watch silent movies for only so long before you cry out for someone to actually say something . I'll be getting this back on track soon.
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Old 02-25-2007, 10:33 PM   #81
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Haxan: Witchcraft Through The Ages (1922)
Directed By: Benjamin Christensen
Starring: Meran Pederson, Elith Pio, Clara Pontoppidan, John Anderson
Length: 87 min

Now this was one wierd movie.

This documentary starts off with the director, Benjamin Christensen, showing several illustrations of witchcraft and explaining them (he even points to parts of the illustrations with a pencil). After that introduction, most of the rest of the movie is a dramatization of what happened with a person was accused of witchcraft in medival times.

The film is made to show the absurdity of witchcraft, what witches were accused of doing, and the injustice of the investigations and trials. The end of the documentary describes "hysteria" and how the symtpoms of hysteria are similar to some of the traits of witchcraft. Since then, hysteria has been rejected as a mental condition, but back then it was accepted.

The dramatization of Medival Europe is a weird movie by itself. The scenes and chracters are way, WAY over the top. Certainly done on purpose to add to the absurdity of witchcraft charges and beleifs during the time.

Pretty entertaining, thanks to the over-the-topness of the dramatizations. Historically, it ranks as one of the earliest documentaries films, and it's also thought of as an insiration for horrors movies as well. (see the article in the Jan/Feb issue of Rue Morgue).

Entertainment Rating: 6/10
Historical Rating: 6/10

Last edited by sabotai : 12-16-2007 at 10:55 PM.
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Old 02-25-2007, 11:12 PM   #82
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Oliver Twist (1922)
Directed By: Frank Lloyd
Starring: Jackie Coogan, Lon Chaney, George Seigmann
Length: 74min


A very good movie that showcased Jackie Coogan's acting ability.

Oliver Twist (Jackie Coogan) is born into a workhouse when his mother dies giving birth to him. Oliver is appreticed to an undertaker, but is sent back to the workhouse and eventually ends up in the service of a band of thieves led by Fagin (Lon Cheney).

A pretty short movie, almost too short for an adaptation of Dickens' novel. The movie seems like it fast forwards through the story. Because of that, the movie never gets boring, but sometimes you want at least a bit more out of the scenes.

The acting is top-notch. Jackie Coogan does a great job or portraying Oliver. His acting, both in his body movement and timing, is extremely well done. And of course, Lon Chaney's use of make-up captures the character of Fagin. Chaney's stance, always hunched over, and his movement, both walking and with his arms, brings the creepy character to life.

In most movies I have seen, usually there might be 1 good acting performance surrounded by bad acting, but in this movie even the supporting actors and actresses do a fine job.

I really enjoyed this movie, even though I would have liked several of the scenes to last a bit longer. Needed more Fagin, for one. Historically, it suffers a bit. The AFI didn't even nomiate the movie for its list of the 100 best movies, but it did gross over $2 million and is usually listed as on of Jackie Coogan's best films.

Entertainment Rating: 7/10
Historical Rating: 6/10

Last edited by sabotai : 12-16-2007 at 10:55 PM.
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Old 02-28-2007, 12:45 AM   #83
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Upcoming Movies

These are in no particular order. I'll be watching them in order by year, but I'll watch them in any order within the year.

1922 (2 Left)
Tess of the Storm Country - Drama
Nosferatu - Horror / German

1923 (8 Movies)
The Shock - Crime Drama
The Ten Commandments - Epic Drama
Safety Last - Comedy
Our Hospitality - Comedy
The Hunchback of Notre Dame - Drama / Horror
Salome - Drama
Why Worry? - Comedy
A Woman of Paris - Drama

1924 (9 Movies)
The Last Laugh - Drama / German
The Navigator - Comedy
Thief of Bagdad - Adventure
Mikael - Drama / Romance / German
Aelita - Adventure / Sci-Fi / Russia
Girl Shy - Comedy
The Last Laugh - Drama / German
The Marriage Circle - Comedy
Sherlock, Jr. - Comedy

1925 (11 Movies)

Tumbleweeds - Western
Wizard of Oz - Fantasy
The Lost World - Fantasy
Strike (Strachka) - Drama / Russia
Ben-Hur - Epic Drama
Don Q, Son of Zorro - Adventure
Seven Chances - Comedy
The Gold Rush - Comedy
Battleship Potemkin - Drama / Russia
The Phantom of the Opera - Drama / Horror
The Freshman - Comedy

1925 was originally up to 15 movies, but I'm making an effort to keep it under 10 movies per year so that it's actually possible to do this. I still may cut another movie or two from 1925 to get it down a bit, but I don't see anymore I can cut. The comedies I have listed are considered classics, Tumbleweeds is, I think, the first Western I've had a chance to see, Wizard of Oz and The Lost World are musts, Strike and Battleship Potemkim are musts, Phantom of the Opera is considered one of Lon Chaney's best pictures, so that's a must, Ben-Hur is considered a classic and is a must. I may chop off Don Q to get it to 10 movies (my soft limit), but that's a bit unique in that's it's, I think, the first sequal I get to watch (after watching the original).

Lost Films, Not on DVD or Cut

1923
The Covered Wagon - No DVD
The Daring Years - No DVD, Lost Film
Souls For Sale - No DVD

The Covered Wagon would have been the first Western I would have seen, but alas, no DVD for that so I'll have to settle for 1925's Tumbleweeds.

1924
Ballet Mécanique - Can't get
Greed - "Lost Film", No DVD
He Who Gets Slapped - No DVD
The Iron Horse - Western - Not on Netflix
Janice Meredith - Romantic Comedy - No DVD
Monsieur Beacaire - Romance - No DVD
Peter Pan - Action / Fantasy - Not on Netflix
The Sea Hawk Swashbuckler - No DVD

A couple of movies here I'm disappointed I can't watch. Greed is considered a lost film, even though there is a version you can watch. It was originally 10 hours long. It was shortened considerably and the cut out portions were destroyed. The final, stripped down version was a flop and was destroyed by critics.

From what I've read about Peter Pan, I'm going to be missing out. Netflix does not have the DVD, but there is a DVD out of the movie (on Amazon for $27). Oh well, nothing I can do about that, except buy it, which I'm not going to do.

1925
The Plastic Age - Romantic Comedy - Cut
Go West - Comedy - Cut
The Eagle - Adventure/Romance/Comedy - Cut
The Unholy Three - Crime / Drama* - Cut

The Big Parade - War / Romance - No DVD
The Heartbreaker - Comedy - No DVD
The Merry Widow - Romance - No DVD
The Monster - Comedy / Horror - No DVD
The Pleasure Garden - Crime Drama - No DVD
Thou Shalt Honor Thy Wife - Comedy / Danish - No DVD
Wolf Blood - Horror - No DVD

Go West is a Buster Keaton comedy. I cut it off the list since I also have Seven Chances for 1925, which is considered a much better Buster Keaton comedy. The Unholy Three is up on YouTube, so when I get to 1925, I might add it back to my list since it would be very easy for me to find the time to watch it (since I could watch it in parts, and not have to worry about Netflix turnaround).

The Big Parade is a highly prasied film, and it's not on DVD. A bit disappointed since it's a movie that takes place during WWI, something I have yet to be able to see.

Wolf Blood and The Monster both sounded like interesting movies. Wolf Blood may have been the first movie to show werewolves.

EDIT: Forgot to mention, The Pleasure Garden was Alfred Hitchcock's first movie that he directed. Shame I don't get to see it. It looks like The Lodger, released in 1927, will be the first Hitchcok movie I will get to see.

Last edited by sabotai : 03-04-2007 at 06:27 PM.
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Old 04-03-2007, 07:43 PM   #84
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Tess of Storm Country (1922)
Directed By: John S. Robertson
Starring: Mary Pickford, Lloyd Hughes, Gloria Hope, Forrest Robinson
Length: 118 Minutes


This movie was a remake of a 1914 movie also starring Mary Pickford and directed by our old friend Edwin S. Porter (which was based on a novel).

The story is of a community of squatters, and in particular a father named Orn Skinner (Forrest Robinson) and his daughter, Tess Skinner (Mary Pickford). A rich family that lives on a hill overlooking a lake owns all of the land. I don't know what "squatter laws" were back then, but he was unable to evict the people, mostly fisherman and their families, off of his land.

The father of the rich family, Elias Graves, on the hill tries to get them evicted, but one of his sons, Frederick Graves (Lloyd Hughes) defends the squatters to the point where his father decides to cut him off. One more problem, Frederick is in love with Tess. However, he's not the only one. Ben Letts, one of the squatters, also fancies Tess.

Elias Graves and his daughter's fiancee come up with a plan. Useing nets to is illegal, even though using nets is the only way for the squatters to fish enough to feed their family and earn money. Elias and the police go through the squatters 'town' and confinscate all of the nets. All of them, except the one Tess manages to hide.

One night, Orn Skinner, Ben Letts and few other squatters take the net to fish. Ben Letts also brings along Orn's rifle. Elias, his daughter's fiancee and the police show up. Ben Letts shoots and kills Elias' soon to be son-in-law. Orn is charged with the crime, since he is the one found near the body and it was Orn's gun. It also presents another problem. Elias' daughter is pregnant. A chld out of wedlock. *gasp*

She has the child, and Tess offers to take the kid, to save Elias' daughter the embarrisment of having a kid out of wedlock. During the climatic ending, Frederick finds the child and is shocked, SHOCKED, to find Tess has a child and doesn't want to have anything to do with her.

I'm trying to figure out something to analogize how out-of-wedlock childbirth is portrayed in movies back then, but I can't think of anything. Maybe it would be like finding out the chick you are in love with is actually a dude. That's how the people react to a character they think had a child out of wedlock.

Anyway, jumping to the end, it has the typical happy ending. The father is found out to be innocent when the police discover it was Ben Letts who committed the murder. Frederick and Tess live happily ever after Why no spoilers for this last part? Because I forgot what happened. I watched this a month ago, and I honestly can't remember exactly how the ending occured, in what ordered, etc. This was a pretty...forgetable movie, although looking at the Mary Pickford movies I've rated in the past, it was a my favorite Mary Pickford movie, but still not all that good.

Not that I'm saying there is something wrong with Mary Pickford herself. She was a very talented actress. I just haven't found much to like about her movies. They all seem to be the same general theme, she plays the same character type....they're just boring.

Entertainment Rating: 5/10
Historical Rating: 5/10

Last edited by sabotai : 12-16-2007 at 10:55 PM.
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Old 04-03-2007, 08:58 PM   #85
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Nosferatu (1922)
Directed By: F.W. Murnau
Starring: Max Schreck, Gustav von Wangenheim, Greta Schroder
Length: 94 min


The makers of this film could not get the rights from Bram Stoker's estate (Bram Stoker's widow), so they just changed the names and places and we have outselves a movie.

Count Orlok (Max Schreck) buys a home in a village far away. Hutter (Gustav von Wangenheim) travles to Orlok's home in the Carpathian Mountains. One of the coolest scenes in the movie happens here, when Hutter is dropped off far from his destination by the local "taxi". A mysterious coach rides up to him, lets him board, and then takes off. The coach moves at an unnatural speed and travels through a forrest of white trees (the video's color was inverted).

The first half of the film is based heavily on the novel. Essentially the way they get Orlok to the destination is axactly the same. When he meets Hutter, he sees a picture of his lover and immediately falls for her. She also starts to act really weird.

Count Orlok leavs his castle for the town of Wisborg while Hutter is trapped in the castle. However, Hutter manages to escape through a window, but is hurt when he falls. He wakes up in a hospital and leaves to warn the town.

Meanwhile, a new plague has broken out right after Count Orlok's arrival. Hutter manages to make it back to town and tries to protect his wife, but when he leaves to find help after she faints, Orlok makes his move.

I was very disappointed in the ending. Orlok just simply forgot that the sun was about to rise? He doesn't keep track of the time. Anyway, after he feeds on Hutter's wife, he steps back into the sunlight of the recently risen sun and is destroyed. Hutter's wife is dead (that's kinda cool).

This was the first movie on my list where I have already seen the movie. However, that was over 10 years ago when I watched in a high school German class. I liked it back then, I loved it now (despite the ending, but I've grown used to these "dumb-dumb" endings, where the villian just suddenly acts like a "dumb-dumb" and is defeated.).

I don't think I could describe the creepiness of this movie effectively. Unlike over German movies I have seen to this point (the early German Expressionist films featuring twisted, surreal enviroments), this one goes another direction. It's big. As it, BIG. The doorways are huge, the buildings are huge, the windows are huge. Everything was purposely made large, but it was also shot largely "on location". The castle scenes at Count Orlok's castle were shot at an actual castle , for just one example. The DVD had a slide show of the on location scenes.

And of course, the scenes only showing Orlok's shadow were very nicely done. Almost a testiment about how America was always about mass producing the same cookie-cutter plots while you have to go to the "indie" scene (which was nonexistant in America at the time, and I'm not sure you could call these German films "indie", but I think they had a diffrent business structure from the American studios) to get the real innovation.

Max Schrek made me shiver. Well not shiver, but the before mentioned shiver down my spine was no joke. When Hutter opens a door after suspecting Orlok is a vampire, there is Count Orlok, staring at him.

Entertainment Rating: 8/10
Historical Rating: 9/10

Last edited by sabotai : 05-03-2009 at 09:42 PM.
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Old 04-03-2007, 09:00 PM   #86
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For those wondering why this disapears for bit here and there, here's why. I started the Tess review at 8pm. It's now 10pm. Although I do take a break for a few minutes here and there to check forums and stuff, most of that time is spent finding pix and formatting them, looking up info, writing out the plot, etc. It takes too long. I'm going to have to change how I write them up to make them faster. The reviews lag far behind the movies I watch (I'm halfway through '23 right now).
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Old 04-04-2007, 12:32 AM   #87
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Movie Rankings

Nothing special, I just multiply the Entertainment Rating by 2, add the Historical Rating, and that's it.

The Shorts Top 5 (1902 - 1913)
1. The Great Train Robbery (1903) - 25
2. A Trip To The Moon (1902) - 24
3. Jack and The Beanstalk (1902) - 15
4. The Battle of Elderbush Gulch (1913) - 15
5. The "Teddy" Bears (1907) - 12

The Early Features Top 5 (1915 - 1919)
1. The Birth of a Nation (1915) - 22
2. Intolerance (1916) - 20
3. Broken Blossoms (1919) - 17
4. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (1917) - 13
5. The Cheat (1915) - 9

Top 5 Movies of 1920
1. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari - 25
2. Der Golem - 20
3. The Mark of Zorro - 19
4. Way Down East - 16
5. Outside The Law - 12

Top 5 Movies of 1921
1. The Kid - 22
2. Orphans of the Storm - 17
3. The Three Musketeers - 14
4. Through The Back Door - 13
5. The Sheik - 10

Top 5 Movies of 1922
1. Nosferatu - 25
2. Oliver Twist - 20
3. Nanook of the North - 19
4. Robin Hood - 18
5. Haxen: Witchcraft Through The Ages - 18
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Old 04-06-2007, 09:09 PM   #88
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sab, thank you for finally doing Nosferatu. I had been patiently waiting for your review of what I believe is the creepiest movie ever made. Very well done!
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Old 04-07-2007, 11:47 AM   #89
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Thanks Buc. Sorry for the wait, but yeah, Nosferatu is very creepy. I don't think any American horror movie I've seen really matches that "creepiness" factor.
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Old 04-13-2007, 05:39 PM   #90
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The Shock (1923)
Directed by: Lambert Hillyer
Starring: Lon Chaney, Virginia Valli, Jack Mower
Length: 96 minutes


A cripple is ordered by his mob boss to go to a quiet town and expose a banker they have been blackmailing. While there, he ends up falling for the banker's daughter, a woman who is already attached to another man.

I usually spend time while writing these up to look up information on the movie, the actors, etc. to see what is worth talking about. With this movie, I'll only say one thing. It had some pretty good scenes involving a collapsing building when a bomb blows up.

Other than that, this movie was bad. I did not like it at all. As Forest Gump says "And that's all I have to say about that."

Entertainment Rating: 2/10
Historical Rating: 1/10

Last edited by sabotai : 12-16-2007 at 10:56 PM.
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Old 04-13-2007, 06:17 PM   #91
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Safety Last! (1923)
Directed By: Fred C. Newmeyer and Sam Taylor
Starring: Harold Lloyd, Mildred Davis, Bill Strother
Length: 73 min

Premiere Magazine's 50 Greatest Comedis of All Time List (unranked list)
Nominated for AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies
Nominated for AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs


A naive boy (Harold Lloyd) moves to the city to make his fortune while leaving his girl (Mildred Davis - also Harold Lloyd's wife in real life) behind. When he gets there, he ends up just working in a department store, barely able to afford rent and food but keeps writing to his girlfriend about how great he is doing. She decides to show up one day and surprise him, and he tries to keep up his act of being successful. Hilarity ensues.

And boy does it. This movie had me laughing almost the entire way through.

The final scene, where Harodl Lloyd climbs up the department store, were inspired by Bill Strother who was a real-life "human-fly" (someone who cimbed buildings). The building he climbs up was un a hill, to exaggerate the height of Lloyd as he hanged from the building, but the danger was there. Lloyd later said that he had matresses below on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd floor as he went up the building, and he had a stuntman for the long distant shots. Still. had he fall, there was a good chance that even if he survived, his career would be over.

But that was comedy back then. People did their own stunts, and they were dangerous. (For instance, in Our Hospitality (a movie I'll be reviewing soon), Buster Keaton hangs on a branch at the top of a waterfall)

Harold Lloyd is oftan thought of as third after Chaplin and Keaton. That is partly because he was in possession of his films through the decades, and he did not release them. He kept them preserved, but he did not rerelease them like Chaplin's and Keaton's films were. Which makes it all more surprising that the most recognizable image from silent comedy is that of Harold Lloyd hanging from a clock high on top of a building.

Entertainment Rating: 8/10
Historical Rating: 8/10

Last edited by sabotai : 12-16-2007 at 10:56 PM.
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Old 04-13-2007, 07:29 PM   #92
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The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923)
Directed By: Wallace Worsley
Starring: Lon Chaney, Patsy Ruth Miller, Norman Kerry, Kate Lester
Length: 133 min.

Nominated for AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions


This was the first film adaption of Victor Hugo's novel, and was Universal's biggest hit of the silent era, grossing over $3 million. Lon Chaney, once again, demostrates his special ability with make-up and costume as he deforms his face and body into Quasimodo.

I'm sure everyone is quite familiar with the plot. Quasimodo lives inside of Notre Dame and is ordered by Jehen to kidnap the gypsy Esmeralda (Patsy Ruth miller), but she is saved by Captain Phoebus (Norma Kerry). As Quasimodo's punishment is being carried out, Esmeralda shows him pity.

Captain Phoebus then gets attacke dwith Esmeralda being framed. After she is convicted, Quasimodo and Captain Phoebus plan to rescue her, as well as the gypies.

Lon Chaney as Quasimodo was actually quite comical. His bahaivor, especially while he rang the bells of Notre Dame, just looked weird and funny. I've never been a fan of the Hunchback of Notre Dame, as this was kind of a chore to sit through, although the ending was shot pretty well.

Entertainment Rating: 5/10
Historical Rating: 7/10

Last edited by sabotai : 12-16-2007 at 10:56 PM.
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Old 04-13-2007, 07:53 PM   #93
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Why Worry? (1923)


Directed By: Fred C. Newmeyer and Sam Taylor
Starring: Harold Lloyd, Jobyna Rolston, John Aasen
Length: 60 min

Nominated for AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs


This was the first of Lloyd's to star Jobyna Rolston, who would go on to star with lloyd in several of his movies as a replacement for his former leading lady, Mildred Davis, after she retired when she married Harold Lloyd. Rolston may not be the hottest actress ever, but I'm starting to grow an appreciation for the appearance and mannerisms of women from Bucc's time. She was quite adorable in this movie.

The film is about a wealthy businessman who is a hypocondriac. He travels with is nurse (Jobyna Rolston) to a far off pacific island*. While there, a revolution takes place. At first, Lloyd is oblivious to the revolution, causing several hilarious situation. After helping out a giant (John Aasen), the giant serve Lloyd in helping to end the revolution just so that Lloyd can get some peace and quiet.

The film is funny, although not nearly as much as Safety Last!. This was the first film for John Aasen when he was discovered as a replacement for Cardiff Giant who died shortly after filming started for Why Worry?. He would go on to have a small career in Hollywood playing giants.

* - Orignally set in Mexico, the film was accused of unfairly stereotyping Mexicans, so Lloyd changed the location to an island in the Pacific. However, it's quite clear that the movie was meant to be set in Mexico, so much so that is where I thought it was set until I read about it on Wikipedia.

Entertainment Rating: 7/10
Historical Rating: 5/10

Last edited by sabotai : 04-15-2007 at 01:22 PM.
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Old 04-15-2007, 01:28 PM   #94
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Salome (1923)
Directed by: Charles Bryant
Starring: Alla Nazimova, Mitchell Lewis
Length: 74 min.


I only watched the first 20 minutes of this movie, and it was horrible. It's oftan called the first "art film". Minimal sets, over-the-top movements, people just acting flat out weird.

Which i can and have liked in movies before. But after 20 minutes, nothing had happened! Just a few comments about "paying attention" to Salome and that was it. "Nathing had happened" is a phrase people like to throw around when they don't like a plot or find it boring, but I mean it in an absolute literal way. Nothing happened!

After 20 minutes, I turned it off.

Entertainment Rating: 1/10
Historical Rating: 4/10
(Simply for it being the first "art film")
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Old 04-22-2007, 11:44 PM   #95
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The Ten Commandments (1923)



Directed by: Cecil B. DaMille
Starring: Theodore Roberts, Charles de Rochefort, Richard Dix, Rod La Rocque
Length: 136 min


I had been wanting to see this movie for awhile. The 1956 Charleton Heston "The Ten Commandments" was one of my favorite movies growing up, and it still is. Maybe that's why I was so let down.....no, that wasn't the reason.

The reason was because the Moses story, where the plagues infect Egypt and he leads his people out of slavery to receive the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai, all happens in the first 40 minutes of the movie. This wasn't one movie, it was two. For an epic, that's cheating.

The first 40 minutes were fine, but when the film STARTS right after the 9th plague, I got suspicious. And then when Moses parted the Red Sea a half hour into the movie, and was receiving the Ten Commandments at the 35 minute mark while his follows had a massive orgy, I was confused as to how the rest of the 100 minutes of movie would be filled.

That's when a modern times story began, and where the movie started to seriously suck. It was a morality play about the importance of the Ten Commandments in everyone's life. And that would be fine if everyone weren't such an insanely and comically over the top, one-dimension, cardboard cut-out character and the plot wasn't extremely predictable.

Getting back to the biblical story, the effects were nice. As can be seen in the clip above, I was a bit impressed with the parting of the Red Sea, considering it was 1923. Yeah, after the sea is split, it looks like two jello molds with a bit of water pouring over the sides, but like I said, 1923. It wasn't how pretty the effect is, it's about how resourceful it is.

Entertainment Rating: 4/10
Historical Rating: 6/10

Last edited by sabotai : 12-16-2007 at 10:57 PM.
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Old 04-23-2007, 12:01 AM   #96
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Our Hospitality (1923)



Directed by: John G. Blystone, Buster Keaton
Starring: Buster Keaton, Natalie Talmadge, Joe Roberts
Length: 74 min

Nominated for AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs


The first Buster Keaton movie on my journey, and it won't be my last.

Keaton's deadpan expression did not cease to make me laugh throughout the film. Everytime he blankly stared off into space as he was figuring something out, or when he would quickly look out of the corner of his eye, got to me. He pulls that off to perfection.

Our Hospitality is a movie about a rivalry between two families, to the point that they murder each other. Willie McKay (Buster Keaton) is taken by his mother, when he is one, away when her husband dies. He gorws up not knowing about the fued, but when he finds out about land in a far away town, he hops on a train and heads there.

When he arrives, the Canfield family finds him, and they spend the rest of the film trying to kill him, without their sister, Virginia (Natalie Talmadge), finding out since she had befriended Willie.

An absolutely hilarious movie. A bit of a hit to the Historical Rating, however, since it is not one of Keaton's more popular films.

Entertainment Rating: 8/10
Historical Rating: 7/10
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Old 04-23-2007, 12:20 AM   #97
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A Woman of Paris (1923)





Directed by: Charlie Chaplin
Starring: Edna Purviance, Carl Miller, Adolphe Menjou
Length: 84 min

Kinema Junpo Award for Best Artistic Film (1925)

"What ever happened to that Marie St. Clair?"

Charlie Chaplin's drama about a man and woman who become seperated, only to meet again years later.

I didn't see much that seperated this from most other romantic dramas of the time. It was well acted, and had a good pace, but it was pretty much the typcial romantic drama. One person was poor, the other wasn't, and they wanted to be together but various forces kept them apart, most importantly, another man.

But then the ending happens, and it kind of took me off guard. It didn't have a happy ending. In fact, the ending felt oddly modern. This was one of the first, if not the first, movie I've seen on my journey that didn't have the happy-ending conclusion. The poor man dies. He brought a gun, supposedly to shoot and kill the rich playboy that had his love wrapped around his finger, but then turns the gun on himself and commits suicide right there at the resturant they were at. After that, the woman finally leaves the playboy and ends up spending her time at an orphanage with the poor man's mother.

The ending really did it for me. It took the traditional movie plot for the time and turned it completely on its head.

The public did not receive the film well. They expected to see a Charlie Chaplin comedy, and did not get one (they didn't have TV commercials or movie trailers at the time). Chaplin did his best to make sure people knew this was a drama and he did not appear in the movie, but it turned out to be a flop. It did receive much deserved critical praise, though.

Entertainment Rating: 7/10
Historical Rating: 7/10

Last edited by sabotai : 07-23-2007 at 09:44 PM.
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Old 04-23-2007, 12:30 AM   #98
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And that ends 1923. Let's see how it turned out.

Top 5 Movies of 1923
1. Safety Last! - 24
2. Our Hospitaliry - 23
3. A Woman of Paris - 21
4. Why Worry? - 19
5. The Hunchback of Notre Dame - 17

A pretty good year. First year I've had with 3 20+ rated movies. But it also had 2 of the worst movies on my entire journey (The Shock and Salome). A very up and down year.

Here are the upcoming films for 1924

1924 (8 Movies)
The Last Laugh - Drama / German
The Navigator - Comedy
Thief of Bagdad - Adventure
Mikael - Drama / Romance / German
Aelita - Adventure / Sci-Fi / Russia
Girl Shy - Comedy
The Marriage Circle - Comedy
Sherlock, Jr. - Comedy
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Old 04-28-2007, 09:00 PM   #99
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Sherlock Jr (1924)



Directed by: Buster Keaton
Starring: Buster Keaton, Kathryn McGuire, Ward Krane
Length: 44 min

#62 on AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs


A really short movie, on the line of being a movie and a "short". But, it's a classic.

In this movie, Keaton plays a movie projectionist that falls for a girl who he does not think he has a chance with. He also thinks of himself as an amatuer detective. He also competes with another man for the woman's love. When the other man sets him up for stealing the woman's father's watch, the family turns him away.

He then goes into a daydream-sequence while at work. In his dream, he is a world class detective called Sherlock Jr.

This movie definetly is a classic and was hilarious. As with Keaton's previous movie, I was laughing almost throughout the enitre movie. I am quickly becoming a huge fan of Buster Keaton.

Entertainment Rating: 8/10
Historical Rating: 8/10
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Old 07-08-2007, 05:39 PM   #100
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The Last Laugh (1924)



Directed by F.W. Murnau
Starring Emil Jennings, Maly Delschaft, Max Hiller
Length: 77 min.
Genre: Drama

A very interesting film, not for its basic plot, but for the way it was filmed.

In the Last Laugh, an aging hotel doorman get demoted to working in the restroom when the manager sees he can no longer physically do the job of a doorman (carrying heavy suitcases), but he is so ashamed of it that he hides it from his family. He steals a uniform, wears it to and from work while changing before he gets to the hotel and after he leaves.

What's interesting about the film is that it's shot entirely without story cards. Murnau does such a great job of telling the story without the cards that I didn't even realize there weren't any until about 20 minutes into it. About the only part of the film I didn't like was the ending, which was forced on Murnau by the movie studio financing the film. Imagine that....

Entertainment Rating: 7/10
Historical Rating: 7/10

Last edited by sabotai : 12-16-2007 at 10:59 PM.
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