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Old 07-08-2007, 06:04 PM   #101
sabotai
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The Thief of Bagdad (1924)



Directed by Raoul Walsh
Starring: Douglas Fairbanks, Julanne Johnston, Brandon Hurst
Length: 155 min
Genre: Adventure / Fantasy

Kinema Junpo Awards
(Tokyo, Japan): Winner Best Entertaining Film
Nominated for AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies
Nominated for AFI's 100 Years...100 Thrills


One of Fairbanks' most famous roles. He plays the unnamde Thief of Bagdad.

The movie starts with essentially an exhibition of the thief's talents. However, once he catches site of the Princess (Julanne Johnston) while robbing the royal palace, he becomes obsessed with her. The Caliph (Brandon Hurst) brings princes to his palace to marry his daughter to one of them. The Thief disguises himself as one of the princes and is determined to win the Princess' hand, no matter what it takes.

A pretty good adventure film, especially for the day. What sets this move apart from Fairbanks' previous movies is the use of special effects. Magic carpet rides, underwater fighting, riding a winged horse, etc. A lot of special effects went into this movie, and they are pretty stunning for the day.

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

Last edited by sabotai : 12-16-2007 at 10:59 PM.
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Old 07-09-2007, 08:11 PM   #102
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Mikael (1924)



Directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer
Starring: Walter Slezak, Benjamin Christensen, Max Auzinger, Nora Gregor
Length: 86 min
Genre: Drama / German
Based On: Mikael by Herman Bang (1902 Novel)

Mikael (Walter Slezak) is a male model for the artist Zoret (Benjamin Christensen). Zoret is in love with his model and Mikael allows the relationship to continue as long as he is getting paid. However, when Zoret agrees to paint a portrait of Princess Lucia Zamikoff (Nora Gregor), Mikael falls in love with her and she falls for him.

Mikael sells the gifts Zoret had given him to help pay for the expensive gifts he gets for the princess, and when he runs out of those, he starts stealing from him. Zoret, still in love with his male model, ignores and lies about the thefts to others.

The thing that stood out most in the film, aside from Benjamin Christensen looking exactly like Craig T. Nelson, were the constant editing goofs. You have to get used to them when viewing films from before the 1920s, but by 1924, most filmmakers had gotten quite good at editing. Had this movie been released in say, 1919 or 1920, the editing would have been almost to the standard, but for 1924, it was bad. At several times in the movie, a character would be standing, a change in camera angle and they are sitting, another cut and they are standing again. While this happens from time to time in movies from '24, it happened just a bit too much in this one. It really was a distraction.

Aside for that, the movie was ok. Nothing special, the story was ok, the acting was ok. Gets a bit of help in the Historical rating since it's considered a landmark for gay cinema.

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

Last edited by sabotai : 12-16-2007 at 10:59 PM.
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Old 07-09-2007, 08:49 PM   #103
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Aelita: Queen of Mars (1924)



Directed by Yakov Protazanov
Starring: Yuliya Solntseva, Igor Ilyinsky, Nikolai Tsereteli
Length: 111 min.
Genre: Sci-Fi / Russian
Based on Aelita by Aleksei Tolstoi (1922 Novel)


One of the first full-length science fiction movies, if not the first.

Mars is ruled by a totalitarian government. Aelita (Yuliya Solntseva), daughter of the ruler, becomes obsessed with viewing Earth when the technology to see into the lives of everyday earthlings from Mars is developed. A signal is sent and reaches Earth. Los (Nikolai Tsereteli) and his partner Spiridinov pick up the signal and start building a rocket ship to go to Mars.

While this is happening, Los' wife gets too close to a man who rents a room from them for Los' liking and his personal life becomes one filled with anger and jealousy until one night, he snaps and kills his wife. Meanwhile, Spiridinov has left so Los assumes his identity, although one amatuer sleuth, Kravtsov (Igor Ilyinsky), is onto him.

The film was actually quite good. The sets for Mars were typical "pointy" designs that are seen in most sci-fi movies (the set designer was Sergei Kozlovsky), which may mean this film was the origin of the art design for many, many sci-fi films. You could have lifted the sets off this movie and put them in any 50s and 60s sci-fi movie and you wouldn't tell the difference.

The movie was met with mixed reviews in Russia when it was released. Some didn't like that it deviated a lot from Tolstoi's novel, including Tolstoi himself. The movie was a great success, though. So much so that Aelita became a comman name for newborn girls.

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

Last edited by sabotai : 12-16-2007 at 10:59 PM.
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Old 07-10-2007, 03:34 AM   #104
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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

As a side note, Buster Keaton is one of Jackie Chan's main inspirations.
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Old 07-23-2007, 07:47 PM   #105
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Girl Shy (1924)



Directed by Fred C. Newmeyer and Sam Taylor
Starring: Harold Lloyd, Jobyna Rolston
Length: 82 min.
Genre: Comedy
Based On: Original Screenplay by Sam Taylor, Harold Lloyd, Tim Whelan and Ted Wilde

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


In this comedy, Harodl Lloyd plays a tailor with a dream of becoming a writer. He writes a book called "The Secrets of Making Love", a guide to the many different kinds of men and women. The guide is played out in dream sequences, most of which was extremely funny.

While writing this book, Lloyd meet Jobyna Rolston and falls in love with her, and she falls for him. The problem is she already about to marry someone else.

Lloyd sends his book off to a publisher and it becomes a hit at the publsiher's office...as a comedy. The women who work there laugh at the book and then at Lloyd when he comes in to see about the progress of the book. At first it is rejected and Lloyd walks away humiliated, but the publisher decides to release the book as a comedy. Now that he's a success, he races off to stop the girl's wedding.

This movie was very funny. The 'dream' sequences that showed excerts of the book, the scene on the train where he helps to smuggle a dog on, and the final scene where he races to stop the wedding are all pretty funny. Marked down the historical rating a bit since this seems to be one of Lloyd's lesser remembered films.

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

Last edited by sabotai : 12-16-2007 at 10:59 PM.
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Old 07-23-2007, 08:03 PM   #106
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The Navigator (1924)



Directed by Donald Crisp and Buster Keaton
Starring: Buster Keaton, Kathryn McGuire
Length: 59 min
Genre: Comedy
Based On: Original Screenplay by Clyde Bruckman, Jean Havez and Joseph Mitchell

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


Buster Keaton decides that it's time for him to wed, so he asks his neighbor played by Kathryn McGuire to marry him. She rejects him immediately and Keaton returns home. He decides to go to Hawaii anyway, the place he planned for their Honeymoon. He ends up boarding the wrong boat. The boat he does board just happens to be owned by his neighbor's father.

And it just so happens that this woman goes onto the ship to look for her father, who was kidnapped. Both wake up the next morning as the only two people on the ship, which had been sent adrift. For awhile, they can't find anyone or each other on the ship, but eventually find each other and must fend for themselves.

The scenes in which they are looking for others, and the ones in which they try and feed themselves, are hilarious. The two play rish, spoiled people and they pull off the inability to take care of themselves to perfection. Definitely my favorite Buster Keaton movie so far. Each one I watch seems better than the next, but much like Lloyd's recent entry on my journey, I knock the Historical rating down a notch due to other movies being rated much higher historically.

I simply can't get enough of Keaton's deadpan expression.

Entertainment Rating: 9/10
Historical Rating: 7/10

Last edited by sabotai : 12-16-2007 at 11:00 PM.
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Old 07-23-2007, 08:27 PM   #107
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The Marriage Circle (1924)



Directed by Ernst Lubitsch
Starring: Marie Prevost, Adolphe Menjou, Florence Vidor, Monte Blue
Length: 85 min.
Genre: Romatic Comedy
Based On: The play "Nur ein Traum" (Only A Dream) written by Lothar Schmidt, adapted by Paul Bern

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


Our last stop in 1924 was a movie that made it onto my list at the last minute due to Adolphe Menjou's participation. After watching A Woman Of Paris, and finding out that Menjou became a star in large part because of that movie, I wanted to add another movie to the list that featured him. And so I added The Marriage Circle to my list. To be honest, I wasn't expecting much.

Mizzi (Marie Prevost) is married to Josef Stock (Adolphe Menjou), but the marriage has soured and is now completely love-less. He best friend, Charlotte (Florence Vidro) had just gotten married to a doctor, Franz Braun (Monte Blue). Mizzi becomes taken with Franz and moves in for the kill.

Franz is quite taken with Mizzi at first as well. The two start an affair (kissing during that time would probably equate sex in our's). Josef, however, has hired a private detective to follow Mizzi. He's hoping she has an affair because he wants out of the marriage. One other wrench thrown in is that Franz's partner is in love with Franz's new wife, Charlotte.

What follows is a pretty funny comedy. Adolphe Menjou, after a good dramatic performance in A Woman Of Paris, delivers with a very good comedic performance in this movie. He seems to be able to do both very well, and I'll have to see about adding more his movies to my list (looking at his list of movies in imdb.com, it seems he was workhorse starring in a lot of movies).

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

Last edited by sabotai : 12-16-2007 at 11:00 PM.
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Old 07-23-2007, 08:38 PM   #108
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1924 In Review

Clearly the best year to date. Most years have 2 or 3 20+ total rated movies, this year had 7 (out of 8). Perhaps it is the sign of the times. Since movies had really started taking off in the early 20's, it makes sense that with so many more movies being made, the several I would choose for this year would be better than in previous years (since the sample size would be so much larger). Also, again with movies becoming so popular, moviemakes got better at writing movie scenes and directing them, so the quality of movies got so much better.

Or maybe it was just a really great year for movies and in 1925, things come back down. Maybe I just happened to pick (Netflix just happened to have) the kinds of movies I would enjoy for this year. Maybe I need to get tougher in my reviews. Time will tell.

The Movies of 1924
The Navigator - 25
Sherlock, Jr - 24
Aelita - 22
The Last Laugh - 21
Thief of Bagdad - 21
The Marriage Circle - 21
Girl Shy - 20
Mikael - 14

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

EDIT: Just saw that it's been almost a year since I started this. 7 more days. Technically it probably has been more than year since I watched several DVDs before I started. But either way, I made it through roughly 45 years of film over the last year. The journey started in 1883. The first 20 years were overviewed briefly in my first post (can't say too much about movies that only last several seconds each). Then the next 25 years took us from movies that lasted several minutes, including the classic "The Great Train Robbery" and "A Trip To The Moon", to the dawn of the feature length movie in the mid 1910s.

I'm about to watch the 1925 version of The Wizard Of Oz. Hopefully by this time next year, I'll be reviewing the 1939 version. The journey has been a slow one over the last several months. Sometimes it takes a bit of work to get through a silent movie. Here and there, I've taken some long breaks. I suspect it'll pick up more when I get to the dawn of sound, and I won't feel the need to take as many breaks and not take them for quite so long.

Last edited by sabotai : 07-23-2007 at 09:01 PM.
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Old 07-24-2007, 12:13 AM   #109
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Take all the breaks you want. It brings a grin to my face whenever I open the Dynasty section and see you have made another entry.

Keep at it.
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Old 07-24-2007, 10:30 PM   #110
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Keep up the great work, I am a huge fan of this thread.
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Old 07-25-2007, 01:27 PM   #111
sabotai
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Thanks guys, it's nice to know there are some people reading this and I'm not wasting my time.

Time to get back to it (review of Wizard Of Oz coming up shortly)
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Old 07-25-2007, 02:08 PM   #112
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Wizard of Oz (1925)



Directed by: :Larry Semon
Starring: Larry Semon, Olivar Hardy, Dorothy Dwan, Josef Swickard
Length: 72 min.
Genre: Comedy
Based on: L. Frank Baum's novel "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz", adapted by Larry Semon, Leon Lee, Frank Joslyn Baum

You may have looked at the genre label just now, and went "waaa?". I'll get to it, first a bit of history.

Larry Semon was a huge star. He was a comedian that made a lot of popular short films (I'd love to also add comedic short films to my journey, like Laural and Hardy, The Three Stooges, Our Gang, etc. but that would just be too much. Maybe someday in the distant future, I'll do a spin off - Sab's Journey through short comedy! Anyway...). Stan Laural joined up with Larry Semon at the start of his career, and it looked like he would end up joining Semon and making a great duo, but he actually left Semon's group early on. Later, Oliver Hardy would join Semon's troupe, and became an important member of it.

Larry Semon was wildly successful, was very wealthy because of it, and this film ruined his career, and to a large extent, his life. He would die penniless at the age of 39 in 1928 (although there is some speculation that he faked his death). In truth, he had left his studio, Vitagraph, two years before this film was released, and his career was dieing down since then. However, this movie finished him off.

The movie is one slapstick comedic stunt after another. Semon took the story of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, used some of the characters, and some of the situations, but for the most part, this movie had hardly any resemblance to the novel.

Larry Semon plays a farmhand on the farm that is owned by Dorothy's uncle, as does Oliver Hardy and another actor, a black man who is credited with the name G. Howe Black (now that's funny!). One of the criticisms of the movie today is the racism. Maybe I've gotten used to it because of the silent movies I have watched, but I didn't really see it. I mean, I can see how it would be racist today (a black man eating watermellon), but for the time, there isn't anything here that isn't in just about every other film of the time, and even by today's standards, I don't see all that much to get offended at.

As I said, the movie is one stunt after another, the same joke over and over again, and it's a pretty unfunny joke. When they get to the land of Oz, it's a basic monarchy. It's not a magical land. The ruler, Kruel, is corrupt and evil. The good guy, Prince Kynd, is looking for the rightful ruler of Oz, and Kruel is trying to stop the discovery of the real ruler, Queen....wait for it.....Dorothy. Yes, Dorothy is really the ruler of Oz. She was taken to Kansas and left on the doorstep of her "uncle" and "aunt".

The Scarecrow, The Tin Woodsman and The Cowardly Lion are not in the movie. What happens is that the 3 farmhands, who were taken with Dorothy to Oz by a tornado, dress up as these characters. Larry Semon dresses up as a Scarcrow and Oliver Hardy dresses up as the Tin Woodsman in an effert to fool Kruel. Later, the black farmhand dresses up as a lion (see, he's cowardly and then he dresses up as a lion...the cowardly lion). So, that's how the scarecrow, tin woodsman, and cowardly lion are worked in.

All in all, I can see why this movie ruined Larry Semon's career. It was terrible. Absolutely terrible. He took a kid's fantasy story (a wildly popular story) and turned it into a terrible slapstick comedy. Imagine if someone took Harry Potter, played one of the supporting characters and turned himself into the main focus of the movie, and threw out just about everything and made it into a slapstick comedy. I don't think it would go over very well, and neither did this movie.

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

Last edited by sabotai : 12-16-2007 at 11:00 PM.
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Old 10-20-2007, 05:23 PM   #113
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It's been way too long since I've updated this. In the last almost 3 months, I've only watched a handful of movies from my list. Got a little sidetracked as I watched through Battlestar Gallactica season 1, before that I caught up on some more recent releases. And generally, I've been playing a lot more games as I got back into WoW, EU3, and with the recent release of Half Life 2: Episode Two, I went back and replayed Half Life, Half Life 2 and HL2: Episode One.

Anyway, enough excuses. Time to get this back on track. The next several reviews will not have pictures with them. Sorry for that, but I really want to get caught up with these. Maybe I'll edit some in later.
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Old 10-20-2007, 05:39 PM   #114
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Well, if it's any motivation at all, I love this thread, and it's really inspired me to dig some of this stuff up over the last year.
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Old 10-20-2007, 05:56 PM   #115
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Tumbleweeds (1925)

Directed by: King Baggot
Starring: William S. Hart, Barbara Bedford, J. Gordon Russell
Length: 78 min.
Genre: Western
Based on: Story by Hal G. Evarts, adaption by C. Gardner Sullivan


William S Hart's last movie. He is considered the first western movie star.

Don Carver (William S. Hart) is a drifter, aka tumbleweed, who hates the idea of settling down and starting a family. That is, until he meets Molly Lassiter (Barbera Bedford). After seeing her for the first time, he falls in love with her (they fell in love so easy back then...), and suddenly decides that he likes the idea fo settling down. But it won't be that easy as someone else has his eyes on Molly as well.

The government opens up the Cherokee Strip for homesteaders, but every one has to register and wait for the appointed date until they can make any claims on the land. Those who do not, called Sooners, will be arrested. Carver gets hired to clear out some leftover cattle drivers from the land the day before people will be allowed to make claims. Perfect timing for him to get framed as a Sooner.

The next morning, they fire the gun and the race for land grabs is on. Some pretty good action in this scene. Some describe as some of the best action scenes ever filmed (I don't know about that...).

The movie had a lot more in common with the typical romance movie from the time with a little comedy thrown in than what you imagine as a western. It really felt like a romance film set in the "old west" (which wasn't all that old in 1925).

Hart always insisted that his movies feature realistic sets and props, since Hollywood's version of the "old west" was more of a charictature of the "old west" at the time. I haven't been able to watch any other westerns, so I don't have a reference to compare the sets and props, but the movie definitely had a very "gritty" feel to it.

All in all, I don't like it that much, mainly because of how it wasn't really a western, as I said, but a romance movie set in the late 1800s west. Historically an important film, but not one I would recommend to anyone except for people interested in movie history.

Entertainment Rating: 4/10
Historical Rating: 6/10
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Old 10-20-2007, 06:24 PM   #116
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The Lost World (1925)



Directed by: Harry O. Hoyt
Starring: Bessie Love, Lewis Stone, Wallace Berry, Lloyd Hughes
Length: 106 min.
Genre: Adventure / Fantasy
Based On: "The Lost World" by Arthur Conan Doyle (1912 Novel)


Willis O'Brian obviously did not invent stop-motion animation, but the techniques and items he created made him the most well known pioneer of stop motion. He created ball socket armatures and crated materials to use as skin. A film he worked on in 1916 called Nippy's Nightmare was the first movie to have scenes with live actors and stop motion at the same time.

Willis O'Brian's creative use of stop-motion is pretty much the only reason to see this movie.

Professor Challenger has claimed to have found real dinosaurs deep in the Amazon, and will take anyone who will go to see them. The last time he went, one of his men was left behind, so a newspaper pays for the expedition for the exclusive to the story, both of the dinosaurs and of the rescue of the missing man.

As they head to the plateau where the man was last seen, a brontosaurus knocks down a tree they used as a bridge, trapping them. From there, they continue to look for the lost man while having to dodge encounters with the dinosaurs.

The movie switches between following the explorers and a showcase of O'Brian's claymation. The claymation scenes are very interesting. For one of the first uses of the technique in a feature length film, I was pretty impressed. It actually makes me wonder why stop-motion looks the way it does in movies from the 70s and 80s. With how it looks in a 1925 movie, you'd think it would have progressed a lot more, but some of the stop-motion I've seen in movies that are relatively recent didn't look really all that much better than in this movie.

Entertainment wise, the movie was "bleh". I pretty much hated all of the characters. But I would definitely recommend this for those who want to see what cutting edge special effects were like in 1925.

Entertainment Rating: 5/10
Historical Rating: 8/10
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Old 11-09-2007, 11:11 PM   #117
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Glad to see a new one.
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Old 11-12-2007, 05:21 PM   #118
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Seven Chances(1925)

Directed by: Buster Keaton
Starring: Buster Keaton, T. Roy Barnes, Ruth Dwyer
Length: 56 min.
Genre: Comedy
Based on: A Play written by David Belasco (Adapted by Roi Cooper Mergue)


This plot will sound familiar to some people as it was remade not too long ago.

A man (Buster Keaton) is in love, but is then told that he must marry by 7 pm on a certain date (in this movie, it happens to be today) to inherent a fortune. He proposes to his love (Ruth Dwyer) and she accepts. However, in a moment of miscommunication, she thinks he is only marrying her to get his money, and she backs out.

The race is on a the man and his business partner (T. Roy Barnes) try and find him a bride. A series of hilarious scenes occur as Keaton is repeatedly turned down as he proposes to every woman he can meet.

His partner gets the bright idea to put it in the afternoon edition of the newspaper. A horde of women, all dressed in wedding dresses, go looking for the man. He gets word that his love has decided to marry him afterall, so he must get back to her and marry her while evading groups of wanna-be brides.

A very good Keaton flick, but not his best. It had a lot of laugh out loud moments, but it just felt like it missed something. For those wondering the earlier reference, this movie was remade in 1999 as "The Bachelor" starring Chris O'Donnell and Renee Zellweger.

A must see for Keaton fans, but I still like The Navigator as my favorite Keaton comedy. And for a bit of trivia, this was Keaton's least favorite of his movies.

Entertainment Rating: 7/10
Historical Rating: 6/10
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Old 11-12-2007, 05:55 PM   #119
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The Freshman (1925)

Directed by: Fred C. Newmeyer, Sam Taylor
Starring: Harold Lloyd, Jobyna Ralston
Length: 76 min.
Genre: Comedy
Based on: Original Screenplay by Sam Taylor, John Grey, Tim Whelan, Ted Wilde

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

Harold Lamb (Harold Lloyd) is going off to college, but unfortunately for him, his only training for college life was seeing a recent movie comedy.

Lamb arrives at college mimicing a short dance down by a comedy in a college comedy whenever he meets someone new. His silly antics immediately make him a target and everyone on campus makes fun of him as they pretend to treat him as one of the popular kids. He continuously finds himself in bad situations as he's egged on by his "friends".

As he tries to be the big man on campus, a girl (Jobyna Ralston) that works at the boarding house where Lamb is staying falls for him. Lamb is oblivious to this. He gets the idea to go out for the football team, where the coach makes him the tackling dummy for the day as a goof. He felt bad about not letting Lamb on the team after he withstood all of that punishment, so he lets him on the team as the waterboy, but doesn't tell him and lets him think he is a researve player.

The night of a big dance that Lamb is hosting, he has a suit made for himself, but it isn't quite finished in time. The proceeding scene is one of the funnier scenes I've seen in a comedy. His suit keeps falling apart while the tailor, in hiding, keeps trying to fix it. Lamb keeps retreating to get his suit fixed, but once one thing is fixed, two or three more pieces fall off.

He finds out that he is nothing but the college fool, and is determined to make everyone think he's not just a joke. When the coach runs out of players in the last football game, Lamb gets sent in and after nearly costing his team the game a few times, scores the game winning touchdown.

This is by far my favorite Lloyd movie to date. Harold Lloyd felt this movie was a much more character-centric movie than his previous films, so to help himself get into character, it was filmed in sequence. All of the scenes were very funny, and it got better as the movie went on. I know movies hardly present a sport realisticly, but just watching the football scenes in this movie does show just how far football has evolved from 1925.

Harold Lloyd had wanted to do a football movie for awhile, but this movie, his most successful on the 1920s, started off a wave of college movies that last into the 30s.

Entertainment Rating: 8/10
Historical Rating: 9/10
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Old 12-16-2007, 11:28 PM   #120
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Stachka (1925)
English: Strike


(The entire movie on google video, for anyone wanting to watch it)

Directed By: Sergei M. Eisenstein
Starring: Grigori Aleksandrov, Aleksandr Antonov, Yudif Glizer
Length: 82 min
Genre: Drama / Propaganda
Based On: Original Screenplay by Grigori Aleksandrov, Sergei M Eisnstein, Ilya Kravchuvsky, Valeryan Pletnyov


A soviet propanda film set during the rule of the Czars. The story is about a factory strike that occurs after the rich owners of the factory bring in spies to look over the workers. One worker gets falsely accused of stealing, and hangs himself on the grounds. That is the last straw for the workers, and they strike. Revolt would probably be a better for for it.

During the beginning, the workers and their families are happy about the strike. They have grown tired of the repressive owners and the terrible work conditions. Time drags on, however, and the owners simply reject every offer made by the workers who are trying to negotiate down some of the owners unreasonable demands.

Familes starve and are broken apart. The rich owners, however, stay rich. There is one scene that shows four of the very fat owners sitting around a table, indulging themselves on very expensive food and drink.

The owners grow tired of the strike and the military is aclled in. The striking workers are slaughtered. During this scene, Eisenstein also showed footage of cattle being slaughtered, pretty much throwing that metophor in your face.

I thought the movie was quite good, even if it was pretty absurd, but seeing how it was a propaganda film, of course it was absurd. This was Eisenstein's second film, and it showed he was a visionary in terms of cinematography.

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

Last edited by sabotai : 12-16-2007 at 11:29 PM.
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Old 12-16-2007, 11:57 PM   #121
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Bronenosets Potyomkim (1925)
English: The Battleship Potemkin



(enitre movie)

Directed By: Sergei M Eisenstein
Starring: Aleksandr Antonov, Vladimir Barsky, Grigori Aleksandrov
Length: 75 min
Genre: Drama / Propaganda
Based On: Original Screenplay by Sergei M Eisenstein and Nina Agadzhanova


Based on the true story, The Battleship Potemkin is a dramatized version of a mutiny that occured in 1905.

The first part of the film shows the crew being served ortten and maggot infested meat. The troops refused to eat it and this makes their commanding officer angry. When the commanding officer tries to punish the crew, they mutiny. This sparks rebellous activity on land as well.

The people of Odessa rise up with the sailors, and the Czarist military is sent in. The Odessa Steps sequence is one of the most famous scenes in cinama history. The scene shows the milatry slaughtering the people of Odessa as they protest. At one point, a mother is shot, and a baby carriage with her baby inside starts rolling down the steps. Many films, including The Outsiders, have paid homage and/or spoofed this scene.

This movie, and the same goes for Stachka, is very violent. This movie was also banned at times in many nations, including in the Soviet Union itself. However it wasn't long before it was accepted. It was even names the greatest movie ever made at the World's Fair in Brussels in 1958.

Entertainment Rating: 8/10
Historical Rating: 9/10
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Old 12-18-2007, 06:03 PM   #122
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Don Q, Son of Zorro (1925)

Directd By: Donald Crisp
Starring: Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Astor, Jack McDonald
Length: 111 min.
Genre: Adventure / Romance
Based On: The novel "Don Q's Love Story" by Kate and Hesketh Pritchard (Adapted by Jack Cunningham)

Douglas Fairbanks plays both Zorro and Cesar (Zorro's son) in this sequal to his 1920 movie "The Mark of Zorro".

It is a standard love story. Cesar falls for a woman, Dolores de Muro (Mary Astor), and has to compete with another man for her. It is clear that Dolores chooses Cesar over her other admirer, Don Sebastian (played by Donald Crisp). Dolores' father(Jack McDonald), a general, would lover for her daughter to marry Cesar.

However, Don Sebastian ends up killing a friend of Cesar's. When Cesar is found standing over the body, he is framed for the murder. Dolores' father gives Cesar a dagger and offers him a chance to take the honorable way out (hint: he means suicide). Cesar pretends to stab himself and falls off the balconey into the water below.

Cesar hides out in the ruins of a family castle, using the name Don Q. His enemies track him there, as does Zorro, and there is a battle sequence featuring both Cesar and Zorro fighting and defeating the enemies. Cesar ends up with Dolores, and they do the super happy ending.

The movie featured the usual Douglas Fairbanks swordplay, which is always nice, but the movie didn't really bring anything new to the table. It was, what has become, a pretty standard and formulatic adventure-romance.

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

Last edited by sabotai : 12-18-2007 at 06:56 PM.
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Old 12-18-2007, 06:55 PM   #123
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Ben-Hur: A Tale Of The Christ (1925)





Directed By: Fred Niblo
Starring: Ramon Novarro, Francis Bushman, May McAvoy
Length: 143 min.
Genre: Adventure / Drama / Religious
Based On: The Novel "Ben Hur: A Tale Of The Christ" by Lew Wallace (Adapted by June Mathis)


[Taken directly from Wikipedia]

Judah Ben-Hur is a wealthy Jew and boyhood friend of the powerful Roman, Messala. When an accident leads to Ben-Hur's arrest, Messala, who has become corrupt and arrogant, makes sure Ben-Hur and his family are jailed and separated.

Ben-Hur is sent to work in the galley of a Roman warship. Along the way he unknowingly encounters Christ, the carpenter's son who offers him water. Once aboard ship, his attitude of defiance and strength impresses a Roman admiral, Quintus Arrius, who allows him to remain unchained. This actually works in the Admiral's favor because when his ship is attacked and sunk by pirates, Ben-Hur saves him from drowning.

Arrius then treats Ben-Hur as a son and over the years, the young man grows strong and becomes a victorious chariot racer. This eventually leads to a climactic showdown with Messala in a chariot race, in which Ben-Hur is the victor.

Ben-Hur is eventually reunited with his mother and sister, who are suffering from leprosy but are miraculously cured by Christ.

[End Wikipedia theft]

The film features a few scenes filmed in Technicolor, the birth of Christ being one of them. It was the first time I had gotten to see Technicolor on my journey. The Ten Commandments filmed the exodus scene in technicolor, however the scene was hand-tinted frames on the version I saw. There had been a few movies filmed entirely in Technicolor prior to Ben-Hur, but the process was expensive and not feasible to use in the enitre movie due to its already massive budget. The Black Pirate, a 1926 movie, is the fourth full-length movie shot entirely in Technicolor on my list (the first one I will get to on my journey).

The film was the most expensive silent movie made, and despite its huge box office success, it did not end up in the black. Unfortunately, they didn't have DVD and TV money to fall back on back then.

Part of the reason for the cost was the chariot race. They used over 2 dozen cameras to film the race (one of the assistant directors of the race was William Wyler, the man who directed the 1959 version of Ben Hur), and they shot over 200,000 feet of film. They only used 750 feet of film for this very long sequence, so that should tell you just how much they had to edit.

The movie was good, and it was really neat watching some of the first uses of Technicolor. The only downside was that it left some characters alone for long stretches of time (namely, Ben Hur's mother and sister) that it was really difficult telling what was going on when they suddenly appeared on screen. Other than that, I really enjoyed this film.

Entertainment Rating: 7/10
Historical Rating: 9/10

Last edited by sabotai : 12-18-2007 at 06:56 PM.
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Old 12-18-2007, 11:11 PM   #124
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The Gold Rush (1925)


(Entire movie - It's been in the public domain since 1953)

Directed By: Charles Chaplin
Starring: Charles Chaplin, Mack Swain, Georgia Hale
Length: 96 min
Genre: Comedy
Base On: Original Screenplay by Charles Chaplin

The Tramp (Charles Chaplin) heads to Alaska to participate in the gold rush.

Here is a detailed plot summery: http://www.filmsite.org/gold.html

This movie was hilarious. One scene, in which a cabin is sliding acrossed the ice, and doors are opening and shutting, and the Tramp and the other 2 men in the scene keeps getting kicked out of the cabin, fall back into the cabin, over and over, had me rolling. The film also included the infamous "roll dance".

The only real downside is that I watched a rerelease of the movie that had Chaplin narrating the movie, instead of the original silent movie. You'd think a narrated movie would be easier to watch than a silent movie...but not really. The timing of the set ups between narration and what was on screen seemed off. I thought it was more dstracting than anything.

Entertainment Rating: 9/10
Historical Rating: 9/10
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Old 12-18-2007, 11:29 PM   #125
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The Phantom of the Opera (1925)


(full movie - got to love public domain!)

Directed By: Rupert Julian
Starring: Lon Chaney, Mary Philbin, Norman Kerry
Length: 93 min.
Genre: Horror / Romance
Base On: The Novel "The Phantom of the Opera" by Gaston Leroux

Lon Chaney plays the gruesome Phantom of the Opera. Once again, he does an outstanding job at not only acting, but at the make up. The studio thought so highly of Chanet's work on his makeup, they didn't show it during the trailer. They simply referenced it as something the crowd would not believe.

Plot summery at Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Pha...281925_film%29

Mary Philbin, I thought, was terrible. She vastly overacted in every scene she was in. Every time they showed her, especially close up, it was a terribly over-acted expression and body movement.

Unfortunately, on the version I saw, it did not have the technicolor sequence in it. Other than that and Philbin's terrible acting, I actually enjoyed this movie. It wasn't "great", but it was enjoyable and I thought I was really not going to like it. Historically, it is probably Chaney's most well-known, at least most reference, movie. We've all seen the Phantom's unmasking a dozen times throughout our lives in various commericals, movies, TV shows, etc.

Entertainment Rating: 7/10
Historical Rating: 9/10

Last edited by sabotai : 12-18-2007 at 11:30 PM.
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Old 12-18-2007, 11:59 PM   #126
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1925 Year In Review

Another up year as I had several 20+ rated movies. It started out slow, including one of the worst movies I've ever seen in the 1925 version of the Wizard of Oz, and a lackluster introduction to the Western genre with Tumblweeds. I thought it was going to be a down year, or show that 1924 was a fluke, however, once we got to the big budget movies, the innovative foreign movies and the classic comedies, the year was saved.

The advances in technology can be seen clearly. The addition of Technicolor sequences in big budget movies like Phantom of the Opera and Ben-Hur showed that it wouldn't be long until movies being made entirely in color would become the standard (unfortunately, a little thing called the Great Depression would get in the way of that).

Not just color, but in set design, the technology that controls the sets, the attention to detail, etc. have been drastically improving over the years, as has the innovation and determination to create the scenes the directors wanted. I know they have spent a ton of money on sets in the past, going back to Intolerance (1916), but just a couple of years prior to 1925, there's no way the movie studio pays such an enormous amount of movey to film that chariot race in Ben-Hur, but the movies were taking off and were big bucks.

Movies of 1925
1. The Gold Rush - 28
2. Bronenosets Potyomkim (The Battleship Potemkin) - 25
3. The Freshman - 25
4. Ben-Hur - 23
5. The Phantom of the Opera - 23
6. Stachka (Strike) - 22
7. Seven Chances - 20
8. The Lost World - 18
9. Tumbleweeds - 14
10. Don Q, Son of Zorro - 12
11. Wizard of Oz - 6

1926 Movies (Updated List - Subject to Change)
*Faust - German / Horror
*The Adventures of Prince Achmed - German / Animated
Battling Butler - Buster Keaton Comedy
The Black Pirate - Douglas Fairbanks Swashbuckler
Flesh of the Devil - Drama starring Greta Garbo
The Sea Beast - Moby Dick adaptation starring John Barrymore
The Son of the Shiek - Sequal to The Shiek starring Rudolph Valentino
Sparrows - Drama starring Mary Pickford
The Temptress - Drama / Romance starring Greta Garbo
Mat (Mother) - Russian film about the 1905 revolution

* - The only two movies that are absolute to make the list (I already have them sitting on my desk from Netflix). Faust is a must and The Adventures of Prince Achmed is the first full-length animated movie, so that's a must.

I'll probably cut one of the Garbo movies and maybe Son of the Shiek if I find other movies I would rather see (I'll keep at least one Garbo movie since I have not seen anything with her in it yet). The only other movie I consider a "must" would be The Black Pirate, since it's the first chance I'll get to see a movie shot entirely in Technicolor (2-Tone, but still). The Sea Beast looks like it gets terrible ratings, so that might go too. So far all I have done was go through the list on Wikipedia of 1926 movies and see which ones were on Netflix. I'll probably find a few more and update the list soon.

Last edited by sabotai : 12-19-2007 at 12:27 AM.
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Old 02-24-2008, 09:06 PM   #127
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I was sick for most of January, and then I was the Best Man in a wedding near the beginning of February so I had that to deal with. Finally am able to get back to this.

Sparrows (1926)

Directed by: William Beaudine
Starring: Mary Pickford, Roy Stewart, Gustav von Seyffertitz
Length: 84 min.
Genre: Drama


Mary Pickford, at age 32, plays a teenager named Molly that is living with nearly a dozen other children on a "baby farm" in the swamps. The farm is own by Mr. Grimes (Gustav van Seyffertitz). The children are worked all day. Whenever someone comes to the farm, Molly takes the children and hides.

Eventually, Molly leads the children on a daring excape through the swamps. At the same time, the police catch on to Mr. Grimes and the chase is on.

This movie has been highly rated by several websites, but I found the movie very boring. The pace is slow and it seems like, until the end chase scenes, that the movie simply repeats. The children work, the dhildren hide, over and over until they finally try to escape.

And, of course, at age 32, Mary Pickford doesn't pull off the young teenager look anymore. She had tried to get the studio to stop putting her in these roles for several years, but the studio insisted because she was "America's Sweetheart" and they were too worried about how the public would handle it if they put her in adult roles and romantic situations. This would be her last role playing a child.

Entertainment Rating: 5/10
Historical Rating: 7/10
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Old 02-24-2008, 09:32 PM   #128
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The Temptress (1926)


(8 minute excerpt)

Directed by: Fred Niblo
Starring: Greta Garbo, Antonio Moreno, Roy D'Arcy
Length: 106 min.
Genre: Drama / Romance
Based On: The novel "La Tierra de Todos" by Vicente Blasco
Ib߽ez

Manuel Robledo (Antonio Moreno) meets Elena (Greta Garbo) at a party and they fall in love (as that sort of thing happened easily back then). The next day, he finds out she is already married to someone he knows. At a dinner party later that night, it is learned that she was having an affair with a wealthy man named Fontenoy, who has gone broke spending his fortune on Elana.

Robledo returns to Argentina to finish the dam he was building. Elena and her husband show up, trying to escape the social criticism. While there, they get involved in a fight between Robledo and a local bandit named Manos Duras (Roy D'Arcy) and Elena's husband is killed. Elana returns to France. Several years later, Robledo completes his dam and returns to France with his fiance. He sees Elena and follows her, only to find that she has become a drunk.

The movie moved at a nice pace, after the beginning. The dinner party scene was long because it included a sequence that was shot under the table that showed men and women playing "footsy". I guess it was to show the people having fun and how they were carefree, but it caused me to feel that the movie stalled on the starting line.

After that, they get the movie to Argentina and that's when it picks up. From then on, it's a good tale of men all falling for the same woman and all scheming for time with her, except for Robledo who wants her to go away, the man who she wants to spend all of her time with.

I generally don't like romantic movies, and I'm getting tired of the silent romantic movie formula, but Greta Garbo is a fantastic actress and this movie deviated from that formula a bit. This was the first film of hers I got to see and I can say that now I am actually looking forward to her other movie from 1926, Flesh of the Devil, which seems to be the more highly regarded movie.

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

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Old 02-24-2008, 10:16 PM   #129
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Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achemd
English: The Adventures of Prince Achmed




(2 minute scene - Edit: Didn't realize it was in German. There are several clips up on YouTube if you want to see more.)

Directed by: Lotte Reiniger
Length: 81 min
Genre: Adventure / Animation
Based On: Several tales from "Arabian Nights"


Plot From imdb: A wicked sorcerer tricks Prince Achmed into riding a magical flying horse. The heroic prince is able to subdue the magical horse, which he uses to fly off to many adventures. While travelling, he falls in love with the beautiful Princess Peri Banu, and must defeat an army of demons to win her heart.

This is the earliest surviving animated feature film. There were two before it, but they are considered lost. Reiniger used silouette animation, which is the earliest form of the same animation style used in the early South Park episodes (which I'm sure is now done completely on computer).

As for the movie itself, it is presented like a children's movie. The plot is basic, yet fast moving. The silouettes are all distinctive so it's easy to follow who is one screen. A very enjoyable film.

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

Last edited by sabotai : 02-24-2008 at 10:17 PM.
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Old 03-05-2008, 10:00 AM   #130
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Faust (1926)


(Intro - first 3 minutes)

Directed by: F.W.Murnau
Starring: Goste Ekman, Emil Jennings, Camille Horn
Length: 106 min.
Genre: Fantasy / Horror
Based on: Faust by Goethe (but also draws from other versions of the Faust legend)


Mephisto (Emil Jennings) makes a bet with an angel that he can corrupt Faust's (Goste Ekman) soul, and if he wins, the domain of Earth will be his. Faust's village is hit by the plague, and Faust searches for an answer. Mephisto, shows up and offers to give him the power of the devil for one day so that he can help his people. Faust agrees, but when Faust tries to cure a woman wearing a cross, he can not get close to her. The villagers recognize that he is a servant of Satan now, and chase after him.

Mephisto then gives Faust youth, and takes him away from the village. Faust agrees to make the deal he made permanent to keep his youth. He falls for a girl, Gretchen (Camille Horn), and begins an affair with her. However, Mephisto frames Faust for the murder of Gretchen's brother, and Faust flees. Gretchen gives birth to Faust's child, but being as she had an affair out of wedlock, she is shunned by everyone, even when she is trying to find a place warm for her baby in the cold winter. When the child dies, she is put to the stake for murder.

Faust goes to her as she is being taken to the stake for execution, but Mephisto takes Faust's youth away. Faust runs to Gretchen as the fire is lit, and despite his old age, she recognizes him. When Mephisto goes back to the angel, he is informed that he lost the bet since Faust was stil capable of love.

The special effects in this movie were incredible (for the time, of course). They didn't come cheap, though, as the movie cost about 2 million marks to make, and the movie only made half of that back. However, the film did cement F.W.Murnau's career, as well as Emil Jennings. This would be Murnau's last film in Germany. Murnau was signed by Fox shortly before the release of Faust, and would go on to direct Sunrise (1927) which would be the start to his short career in Hollywood (he was killed in an car accident in 1931).

Emil Jennings also went to the US. He starred in The Last Command (1928), a lost film, and acted in the US until 1930. He returned to Germany, and continued acting until the mid 1940s.

Entertainment Rating: 9/10
Historical Rating: 9/10
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Old 03-05-2008, 11:00 AM   #131
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The Sea Beast (1926)

Directed by: Millard Webb
Starring: John Barrymore, Dolores Costello, George O'Hara
Length: 133 minutes
Genre: Adventure
Based on: The novel Moby Dick by Herman Melville


Captain Ahab (John Barrymore) and his half brother Derek (George O'Hara) compete for the affection of Esther (Dolores Costello), but it's no contest. Esther is completely in love with Ahab. Derek, bitter and jealous, pushes Ahab overboard while they hunt for the elusive white whale. Ahab loses a leg as a result, and returns home depressed and worried that Esther will leave him.

However, Esther, initially shocked, still loves Ahab, but Derek uses the situation to convince Ahab that Esther is ashamed to be around him. He also lies to Ahab, saying that he and Esther are now in love. Ahab lets Derek go, and becomes bitter. Unaware of his half brother's plot, he puts the full blame on the white whale.

The movie was good at times, and downright terrible at others. Part of the reason was the soundtrack. The makers of the DVD release put a modern sounding music score to it, and it was very distracting. It had rock music playing during the action sequences. Sounds good in theory, but really distracting. You are watching a move from the 1920s with music that the world won't know until decades later. Just didn't fit well.

The quality of the film was also pretty bad. Much of it was overexposed, making the white almost blinding. A few times, there is a letter held up to the camera to read, but it is impossible to read. You can't even see the writing. At times, you can't see what is going on in the background until the scene fades out.

There were also times when there are just too many title cards. The best movies are able to convey emotion and even dialogue through mannerisms and facial expressions. And this one did a fine job of that. The acting was fine and it didn't need the occasional bombardment of title cards.

Also, this was the first movie that John Barrymore and Dolores Costello worked on together, but they were lovers off the screen. John Barrymore fired the actress originally hired to play Esther so that he could put Dolores in the role. They would marry in 1928 and have 2 kids, one of them being John Drew Barrymore, Drew Barrymore's father.

Entertainment Rating: 4/10
Historical Rating: 6/10
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Old 03-05-2008, 07:18 PM   #132
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I need to catch up for I hadn't realized you had some updates the past few months. Glad to see this!
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Old 03-17-2008, 06:43 PM   #133
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The Black Pirate (1926)



Directed by: Albert Parker
Starring: Douglas Fairbanks, Billie Dove, Donald Crisp
Length: 88 min
Genre: Adventure


A son (Douglas Fairbanks) vows vengence for his father's death. He joins the pirates that murdered his father and works his way into favor with everyone onboard and is refered to as the "Black Pirate". When the pirates take a ship, along with a young woman names Isobel (Billie Dove), he convinces the crew that they should ask for ransom (instead of giving her to one of the pirates). The pirate who was to get the girl is upset about this, and sabotages the ship set to get the ransom.

The Black Pirate tries to save Isobel but is caught. He walks the plank, but manages to escape with the help of one of the pirates and swims to shore. He returns with a group of armed men and saves the day.

This was the 3rd movie filmed entirely in two-tone technicolor (Toll of the Sea (1922) and Wanderer of the Wasteland (1924) were the first two), although it had been used several times before (Ben-Hur and Phantom of the Opera used it for a few scenes). Also known as "Process 2", it would only be used once more to film an entire movie due to the technical problems associated with it. To film in Process 2, you needed two cameras, and afterwards, the two film strips were cemented together. This would cause problems with the focus of the film and would cause the film to cup irregularly causing damage to the film.

The film was not treated kindly by some reviewers of the day, claiming the film to simply be a bunch of colorful pirates and an assortment of stunts. The story was as present as many other silent movies, but Fairbanks knew what his audience wanted, and he gave them a lot of his trademark stunts, including one of his most well-known stunts, sticking a dagger into the sail of the ship and riding it down.

It was a fun film to watch, and a bit weird. All these years, I always thought sound came before color, but that really wasn't the case, although they only were a few years apart. Of course, color film would remain quite an expensive luxery and was treated, as in this case, as more of an experiment. This would be Fairbanks' only color movie.

Entertainment Rating: 7/10
Historical Rating: 8/10
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Old 03-17-2008, 07:30 PM   #134
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Son of the Sheik (1926)





Directed by: George Fitzmaurice
Starring: Rudolph Valentino, Vilma Banky, George Fawcett
Length: 68 min
Genre: Romance / Drama
Based on: The novel "The Sons of the Sheik" by Edith Maude Hill
Sequel to The Sheik (1922)


The Sheik's son, Ahmed (Valentino played both sons, the Sheik and his son) is just as rebelous as he was, and goes off and falls in love with a gypsie girl named Yasmine (Vilma Banky). The gypies that the girl is with ambush Ahmed, but Ahmed's servant saves him. Ahmed was led to beleive that Yasmine played a role in his kidnapping, so he takes her captive. It's implied that Ahmed rapes the woman (as shown above), but is obviously not shown. If you remember back to 1921, it was a controversy for the film to not include the rape scene from the novel, since the filmmakers were not sure how it would be received by the public. They included a form of that scene in this movie, and of the reviews from the day that I read, it wasn't mentioned.

When the Sheik learns of his son's deeds, he travels to his camp and insist he let the girl go. He does, but later learns that she actually had no involvement in his kidnapping. He returns to the gypsies, this time he frees her from her father who had been trying to force her to marry one of his henchmen. A large fight scenes occurs with both The Sheik and his son fighting the band of gypies. It reminded me a lot of the Son of Zorro climax.

This would be Valentino's last film. Shortly before the film's release, Valentino collapsed at the Hotel Ambassador in NYC. He went into surgery for a perforated ulcer, which was successful. However, infection set in while he was recovering and died on August 23rd, 1926. 100,000 people showed up for his funeral.

The movie would become a huge hit, in part because of Valentino's death. Many of his movies were rereleased throughout the 20s and 30s. Many critics thought of this film as Valentino's best.

Entertainment Rating: 6/10
Historical Rating: 9/10

Last edited by sabotai : 07-26-2008 at 05:51 PM.
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Old 03-17-2008, 09:43 PM   #135
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Sab, this is great! I hadn't seen it before but just read the whole thing and enjoyed every write up. The history in here is amazing! Please keep it up!
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Old 03-17-2008, 10:40 PM   #136
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Mat (1926)
English: Mother


(first 10 minutes - the rest is on YouTube)

Directed by: Vsevolod Pudovkin
Starring: Vera Baranovskaya, Nikolai Batalov, Aleksandr Chistyakov
Length: 90 min
Genre: Drama / Propaganda
Based On: The novel "Mat" by Maxim Gorky (written in 1907)

A film about the 1905 revolution against Czarist rule. Niovna (Vera Baranovskaya) mourns over her husband when he is killed during a worker's strike. Her son, Pavel (Nikolai Batalov) has been involved with the revolutionaries, and the police come and investigate. They find nothing, but they are going to arrest him and, most likely, execute him. Niovna, trying to save her son's life, gives the officers what they want, hidden pamphlets and weapons. They take her son to prison anyway.

She marches along with the revolutionaries as they assault the prison to free their men. The guards open fire, but they continue on. Many of the prisoners are able to escape, but just as mother and son are reunited, the son is shot dead. The mother picks up the flag and stands, holding it in the air. The guards, now on horses as they chase down the fleeing revolters, cut the mother down as she stood with the flag.

Another propaganda film from Russia that is meant to make the masses hate the Czarist rule and be proud of those who brought revolution to their country. As a film, it was decent. Many critics put on the same level as Eisenstein, but I wouldn't go that far. It did have that trademark Russian montage sequence during the prison break scene, but other than that, I'd say Eisenstein was a superior filmmaker. During the downtime of the film, Eisenstein had a way of keeping me interested. During the downtimes of this film, I was pretty bored with it.

Entertainment Rating: 5/10
Historical Rating: 6/10
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Old 03-17-2008, 10:41 PM   #137
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Thanks olie!
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Old 03-17-2008, 10:46 PM   #138
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Originally Posted by oliegirl View Post
Sab, this is great! I hadn't seen it before but just read the whole thing and enjoyed every write up. The history in here is amazing! Please keep it up!

+1

Great stuff, keep it coming.
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Old 03-17-2008, 11:14 PM   #139
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Flesh and the Devil (1926)



Directed by: Clarence Brown
Starring: Greta Garbo, John Gilbert, Lars Hanson
Length: 113 min
Genre: Drama / Romance
Based on: The play "The Undying Past" by Hermann Sundermann


Two childhood freinds, Leo (John Gilbert) and Ulrich (Lars Hanson), joined the military together and they head home on leave. Leo meets a woman at a party, Felicitas (Greta Garbo), and falls in love with her, as people back then had a habit of doing. While in her home, her husband (dun-dun DUN) enters. As it turns out, he's a powerful Count. He challenges Leo to a duel and Leo accepts and wins. To cover up the reason for the duel so that everyone involved could keep their honor, they make up a story about it being over words said during a card game.

The army punishes him by sending him to Africa for several years. Felicitas promises to wait for him. After three years in Africa, he is allowed to return. Apon returning, however, Leo finds that Felicitas has married Ulrich! (dun-dun-DUN!). Ulrich had no knowledge of their affair, which they eventually continue behind Ulrich's back. One night, Leo is caught with Felicitas by Ulrich while, after some angry words, Leo was strangling Felicitas. Felicitas tells Ulrich a lie, that Leo came there to kidnap her, and Ulrich then challenges Leo to a duel. Leo, to protect his friend from the truth, admits to Felicitas' lie and accepts the challenge.

When the duel starts, Leo refuses to protect himself and Ulrich demands that he raises his gun, which he half-heartedly does. Felicitas runs to them to get them to stop, but she falls through some ice and drowns. When this happens, it is like a veil had been lifted from their eyes and the two friends are friends once again.

Sound abusrd? It sure does. You see, Felicitas was the tempting flesh that caused men to sin (hence "Flesh and the Devil"). When she died, the desire for the men to sin vanished.

Ok, so the plot may not be as absurd as my brief writeup makes it seem (but there's no way to make it not sound absurd in brief summery form ), it is a romance film, and you know by now how I feel about them. The plot was fine, for the most part, and it just got crazy at the end.

That issues with plot aside, the film was very well done. A lot of the effects, camera angles, etc. were very impressive. From a filmmaking perspective, I really liked this film. It's obvious that Brown, and cinametographer William Daniels, weren't interested in just making another cookie-cutter romance film. They had innovation on their minds. And the acting of both Garbo and Gilbert was superb.

The movie was a massive success that made Greta Garbo one of the highest paid actresses at the time, and it was the beginning of Greta Garbo's relationship with John Gilbert. The passion between them in this movie was real, and they would go on to continue acting together into the 1930s. I'm actually interested in seeing how their relationship evolves in their films.

Entertainment Rating: 7/10
Historical Rating: 9/10
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Old 03-17-2008, 11:18 PM   #140
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Thanks molson.

The last review catches me up to today. I would have been done with 1926 today, but the DVD of Battling Butler came to me broken in the mail, so I have to wait on a replacement for that and then it's on to 1927 and the dawn of the talkies and the Oscars.
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Old 03-22-2008, 09:37 PM   #141
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Battling Butler (1926)

Directed by: Buster Keaton
Starring: Buster Keaton, Sally O'Neil, Snitz Edwards
Length: 71 min
Genre: Comedy

Alfred Butler (Buster Keaton) grew up spoiled, so his father sends him off on a hunting and fishing trip to make a man out of him. He is sent, of course, with a butler (Snitz Edwards) to handles ever need Alfred has.

On the trip, he meets a mountain girl (Sally O'Neil) and falls in love. He also notices a prizefighter, Alfred "Battling" Butler has the same name as him and he wants it stopped. He sends his butler off to propose to the mountain girl for him, but the girl's father and brother don't accept weaklings in their family. The butler lies and says that he and the Alfred "Battling" Butler in the newspaper are the same.

"Battling" Butler is expected to lose, and the butler reasons that when he does, no one will hear of him again. Except he wins, and when Alfred returns from "his fight", the town throws a parade and Alfred is married to the girl right away. However, Alfred leaves at once to go train.

When his new wife appears, the butler asks the real Battling Butler to help cover, at which point the real Battling Butler leaves the camp to let Alfred fight his next fight as punishment for Alfred flirting with Battling's wife. The trainers do their best to get Alfred in shape. In the end, the real Battling Butler fights and wins, and then shows up in the locker to beat up Alfred. Alfred ends up going crazy and knocks out the real Battling Butler. He confesses to his wife that he lied, but she says she is glad he's not a real prizefighter.

Overall, not one of Keaton's better movies. The sparring sequence is absolutely hilarious, and you can find it on YouTube (the uploader disabled embedding or I would have put it on the post). However, the rest of the film was a bit dull. Some funny parts here and there, but not nearly as good as his other movies. I was going to rate it about a 5, maybe as low as 4, but I'd say the sparring scene pushes it to a 6.

Entertainment Rating: 6/10
Historical Rating: 6/10
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Old 03-22-2008, 10:28 PM   #142
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1926 Year in Review

A better overall year than 1925, that saw a couple of really, really bad movies, but the high points of 1926 were also lower than the high points of 1925. I wasn't really blown away with any movie except for Faust.

The year I experienced was lacking a couple of things. For one, comedies. Only a lackluster film from Keaton. Charlie Chaplin's career is winding down, and won't have another feature-length film until 1928 (The Circus), and after that, City Light (1931) and Modern Times (1936) are his next offerings.

Harold Lloyd did have a movie out in 1926 (For Heaven's Sake), but it is not available on Netflix (It may have been on one of the Collections, but I didn't see it). Lloyd will continue to make a movie a year for a bit, but once the "talkies" take over, Lloyd's career fades pretty quickly as well (He'll make a movie every 2 years from 1930 to 1938, and then he makes a movie in 1947 to end his career).

Chaplin will be gone soon, Lloyd will be less visible, but Keaton sticks around for quite some time. It's soon to be seen which comidians step up to fill the void left by Chaplin and Lloyd.

The other thing I noticed missing were the big budget Hollywood epics movies. No Ben-Hur, no Phatom of the Opera. I'm sure there were some, but they either have not gotten to DVD yet or they didn't survive. (Or, I did watch them, and they didn't stand out).

Movies of 1926
1. Faust - 27
2. Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed - 23
3. Flesh and the Devil - 23
4. Son of the Sheik - 23
5. The Black Pirate - 22
6. The Temptress - 21
7. Battling Butler - 18
8. Sparrows - 17
9. Mat - 16
10. The Sea Beast - 14

Movie list for 1927

Berlin: Die Symphonie der Gro▀stadt - German documentary on the city of Berlin
Chang: A Drama of the Wilderness - Documentary of a village in South East Asia
The General - Buster Keaton comedy
Xixiang ji - Chinese drama / romance
La Sirene des tropiques - Josephine Baker drama / romance
Metropolis - Fritz Lang's dystopian Sci-Fil / Thriller
The Jazz Singer - Al Jolson musical drama - first movie to contain some synchronized sound ("Part-Talkie")
The Lodger - Alfred Hitchcock crime drama
It - Clara Bow romance
My Best Girl - Mary Pickford romance
Cat and the Canary - Horror
Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans - F.W.Murnau's first directing job in the US. Romance.
Wings - WWI war / romance movie (If I can find it)

Last edited by sabotai : 04-01-2008 at 06:53 PM.
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Old 06-06-2008, 05:26 PM   #143
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Metropolis (1927)



Directed by: Fritz Lang
Starring: Alfred Abel, Gustav Frohlich, Rudolph Klein-Rogge, Fritz Rasp, Brigitte Helm
Length: 153 min
Genre: Action / Dystopian Sci-Fi
Based on: Original Screenplay by Fritz Lang and, his wife, Thea von Harbou


Metropolis is as much of a movie as it is a work of art. Similar to Murnau's Nosferatu, Fritz's Expressionism is shown not with twisted set designs, but larger than life scenery. Everything in this movie is big. Doorways, staircases, machinary, it's all very large.

The movement of the workers at the M-Machine is probably the best example of how much of the movie is a choreographed dance, a moving work of art. It is also the best example of the overall theme of the story. Immediately after an accident occurs, new workers are rushed in to continue the work while the injured are carried off.

The main plot of Metroplis follows Freder (Gustav Frohlich), the son of the man who runs Metropolis, Joh Fredersen (Alfred Abel). Freder witnesses the accident at the M-Machine and is shocked by what he sees, and he also becomes infatuated with a woman preacher, Maria (Brigitte Helm). After witnessing the accident and the living conditions of the workers of Metroplis, Freder decides to help them.

The film had numerous cuts when it was released in the late 1920s. When originally released, it was 210 minutes long, but it was recut and the part the was cut out is thought to be lost. In the American version, it was recut and the main plot was mostly cut out because it was thought to be too controversial.

The film was also one of the most expensive movies made. It cost 7 million marks, which would be about $200 million today.

One of the best movies I have seen so far, but it just felt like it was missing something. I dunno, maybe I'm just partial to F.W. Murnau, or I need to watch a few more Fritz Lang movies to really appriciate his writing and directing, which I will certainly be doing.

Entertainment I give it a solid 8, mostly because of the lost parts of the film. Having to sit up and quickly read through several screens describing important pieces of plot is possibly the most jarring thing that can happen while watching a movie. Granted, it's the way it has to be, but nonetheless, it slammed the brakes on the pace of the movie and my enjoyment of the movie whenever it happened. Historical, 10 out of 10. Many people believe it is the best silent movie ever made. A lot of people also have it as the best German Expressionist film. It would also be impossible to measure the film's influence, which started the moment the film was released to the present day.

Entertainment Rating: 8/10
Historical Rating: 10/10
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Old 06-24-2008, 12:37 AM   #144
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Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927)



Directed By: F.W. Murnau
Starring: Janet Gaynor, George O'Brien
Length: 95 Minutes
Genre: Romance / Drama
Based On: Die Reise nach Tilsit, A short story by Hermann Sundermann.



1927-1928 Best Cinematography
1927-1928 Best Actress (Janet Gaynor - awarded for body of work, not just this movie)
1927-1928 Most Unique and Artistic Production (only year awarded)

1929 Kinema Junpo Award (Japan) for Best Foreign Language Film


#63 AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions

Murnau was hired by Fox to bring his German Expressionism to the US. He was given the ability to make whatever film he wanted, and he chose to make a film version of a german short story.

The tale is pretty simple. A man (George O'Brien) is having an affair on his wife (Janet Gaynor). He goes so far as to plan to kill her, but when he gets her to go on a boat with him, he can't go through with it. His wife flees at first, scared of what he almost did, but eventually forgives him.

They then spend the night in the city, enjoying everything it has to offer. They head home at the end of the night, but get caught in a storm. The boat sinks, and his wife is lost. The village organizes a search and eventually find her when the sun starts to rise.

The acting in the movie was pretty good, and Murnau did a wonderful job. Murnau was the master of telling a story with limited title cards, and Sunrise was no exception. There were very long sequences where there were no title cards.

He continued his brand of German Expressionism in this movie, and that was to make things big. The scenes in the city, most notably the fair, were particalurly very Murnau-like. He also experimented with special effects. There is a scene where they are embracing in a resturant, and the background becomes very dream-like, and then fades back to the resturnat surroundings.

He used the same technique earlier in the movie when the couple was walking acrossed the street. The cars and city around them faded to a field and then back to the city. While they were crossing the street, you could see cars passing by in front of the couple. Of course, they looked like flat cardboard cutouts passing in front of the couple, but it was still something new.

Overall, this film felt like it was state-of-the-art, and a bit experimental. Unfortunately, the movie was not a financial success, and Fox started to limit what Murnau could do. He would make 2 more movied for Fox (Four Devils (1928), which is lost, and City Girl (1930)). Murnau quit Fox after the filming of City Girl, and went on to film a movie with Robert Flahery (Nanook of the North) in Tahiti called Tabu.

Entertainment Rating: 8/10
Historical Rating: 9/10
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Old 06-24-2008, 08:50 AM   #145
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This is a great thread.

You should consider starting a blog with this stuff.
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Old 06-25-2008, 05:55 PM   #146
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You are about to hit a movie I have actually seen. I look forward to see how you like Wings.
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Old 07-11-2008, 07:47 PM   #147
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Berlin: Die Symphonie der Gro▀stadt (1927)
English: Berlin: Symphony of a Great City*

Directed by: Walter Ruttman
Length: 72 Minutes
Genre: Documentary / City Symphony



This documentary is about the city of Berlin and a day in the life of the citizens of Berlin. It is broken up into 5 acts. Act 1 shows the city awakening and of the factory workers heading to work. Act 2 shows children going to school, merchants opening their stores, etc. Act 3 is the general life of citizens through the day. Act 4 begins with the factory workers' lunch break and ends when they go home. Act 5 is all about the nightlife of Berlin.

It was a very interesting film, but only in that it was interesting to see what Berlin looked like in 1927, how people lived their day, what kind of entertainment they liked, etc. The film is basically an hour long montage set to music.

While it was great to see what Berlin was like in '27, the movie was much more of a music video than a documentary. Many long sequences of montages that didn't really show anything nearly put me to sleep.

It's a great film to watch to see what Berlin looked like over 80 years ago, but it's not a very entertaining film.

* - The title is "Great City" in the english release, but the title literally translates to "Big City". A Gro▀stadt, by definition, is a city with more than 100,000 people.

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

Last edited by sabotai : 07-26-2008 at 05:50 PM.
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Old 07-11-2008, 08:19 PM   #148
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Chang: A Drama of the Wilderness (1927)

Directed By: Merian C, Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack
Length: 69 Minutes
Genre: Docudrama

Nominated for 1927-1928 Best Picture, Unique and Artistic Production



This docudrama is about Kru and his family in the nation of Siam (now Thailand). The film starts off by showing his family's daily life, but it is quickly interrupted when a leopard starts attacking his livestock. Kru sets up traps for the leopard, but it turns out that his farm is being attacked by several predators. He goes to the nearby village, recruits some men, and then set up many traps for the many intruders. The climax of the movie occurs when a group of elephants (called Chang in Siam), stampede on Kru's farm and the village.

Their previous movie was Grass, a documentary of a group of nomads in the Middle East. In this movie, though, they created a narrative involving Kru and his family (hence the genre "docudrama"). While the story was invented, the film makers were in real danger the entire time they were there, and some of the shots that they got of the animals were incredible.

However, the movie itself was underwhelming. At several points in the movie, it felt as though it was just repeating the same scenes over and over again. From a film making perspective, it was incredible. The narrative was just bland and uninteresting after awhile.

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

Last edited by sabotai : 07-26-2008 at 05:50 PM.
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Old 07-26-2008, 01:16 AM   #149
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Almost done with 1927. I've got 2 more movies to watch, The General, which I can watch online through Netflix, and Wings, which will be on TCM Sunday at midnight, so hopefully I don't forget. I'll probably do several write ups over the weekend and finish them up next week and then I can move forward to 1928.

Last edited by sabotai : 07-26-2008 at 05:52 PM.
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Old 07-26-2008, 06:47 PM   #150
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西廂記 (1927)
English: Romance of the Western Chamber





Directed by: Minwei Li, Hou Yao
Starring: Cigang Ge, Chichang Hu
Length: 49 minutes
Genre: Romance / Action

Base on: Play by Yuan Dynasty playwright Wang Shifu


After the fall of the Qing Dynasty in 1911, there was a major push for modernization, which included film. Movie making in China started in 1919 or 1920, and by 1925, there were dozens of production companies in Shanghai.

The story is that of a couple who fall in love, but due to social status, with one being the daughter of the prime minister and the other a peasant, they could not be together. Lucky for them, a bandit shows up and demands the prime minister's daughter. The prime minister says he'll promise his daughter to anyone whoever can help get rid of the bandits. The peasant calls on the help of General White Horse, who helps to save the day.

Only being 49 minutes long, it only focused on the main plot of the play, and left out the subplots. The plot was boring, and for the most part, the same as every romance plot of every american romance film. However, unlike the american romance films, this film also featured a lot of action, which became a big part of Chinese cinema very quickly.

Historically, I don't think this film was very different than many other films. The big one, The Burning of the Red Lotus Temple, was released in 1928. It was 27 hours long, and released as a series of 18 feature length movies from 1928 to 1931. The first part released in 1928 completely smashed box office records for China, completely sold out for weeks, and was the reason for a massive push for building and explanding the movie industry in China.

Unfortunately, it doesn't appear that The Burning of the Red Lotus Temple is available anywhere.

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

Last edited by sabotai : 07-26-2008 at 06:50 PM.
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