Italian film’s early master of the historical spectacle, Enrico Guazzoni, was responsible for the second of (at least) three film adaptations of Nicholas Patrick Wiseman’s classic novel about Christianity’s rise in ancient Rome. Aside from the usual great production values of these silent epics, what surprises here is perhaps the rather graphic violence. And, the film is further notable for being Elena Sangro’s debut (when she was still going by the name Maria Antonietta Bartoli-Avveduti) in the title role no less. Continue reading
This film comes from the Schloss Archive of His Highness, Herr Graf Ferdinand von Galitzien:
Born Franz Wygand Wüstenhöfer in Malstatt (Saarland), Hofer began his career as a stage actor and playwright in 1909. A year later he began working as a screenwriter for Messter’s Henny Porten series and for directors such as Viggo Larsen—Die schwarze Katze [The Black Cat] (1910)—and Walter Schmidthässler—Das Weib ohne Herz [The Woman Without a Heart] and Der Zug des Herzens [The Pull of the Heart] (both 1912). Continue reading
Early gender-bending silent comedy culled from the long out of print Origins of Film boxset. A must for anyone interested in gender and sexuality in film.
Lillian Travers, a New York heiress, pops down to Florida to surprise her fiance, Fred Cassadene, the house doctor at a prominent Saint Augustine hotel. The surprise, however, is Lillian’s when she finds Fred in a series of compromising situations with a certain wealthy widow staying there. When she can take no more, Lillian discovers a box forgotten at an old curiosity shop in which lies a hundred year old secret: a vial of four rare and exotic African seeds that promises to transform whoever swallows one from a woman to a man or vice versa. Continue reading
A poor woman, with no money for Christmas presents, tucks her three children in for the night, on Christmas Eve. Later, a poor, old beggar comes to her door and she lets him in to rest and warm up. When he suddenly leaves, she follows him to the front door of a church, where she finds an abandoned baby. The woman takes the baby home to care for it, even though she has almost nothing. Her acts of kindness are repaid with a Christmas miracle. Written by Detour 1945 Continue reading
It’s another one of Guazzoni’s ancient dramas, this time about Agrippina, the mother of Nero. After she manages to make him emperor of Rome, he finds her a nuisance.
Sadly she is immune to poison and sinking her ship didn’t kill her either – she simply swam ashore. In the end a sword through her stomach did the trick: Few people are immune to that.
Actually not all of the above features in the film… Basically Nero’s just cross because mamma doesn’t like his new mistress. Continue reading
The film’s plot is set during the war between Poland and the Soviet Russia (1919 – 1921). Wartime brutally encroaches on the life of a couple in love – Franek and Hanka. The Bolshevik troops cause damage to Polish villages and manor houses, and in one of the manor houses the invaders have a carousel. Luckily, the Polish cavalry comes to the relief just in time. Unable to wait passively, Hanka becomes a sister of mercy in one of the field hospitals near Vilnius, while Franek gains wide recognition after capturing a Russian spy. The significant documents found on the spy contributed to the capture of Vilnius. The bloody battles end with the Polish troops entering the town, and Hanka and Franek finally find each other again, although in quite surprising circumstances. The film ends with the documentary recording of the ceremony of incorporating Vilnius into the Polish borders, with the participation of Marshal Piłsudski, the highest commanders of the Polish army and some foreign guests. Continue reading
Plot Outline: A broadway actress uses her sex appeal to ruin a marriage only to dump her lover for a richer prospect.