? – 1925 Studio Tour (1925)

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Untitled and without any crew credits, this 32-minute silent documentary takes you on a tour of MGM in 1925, meeting the people who create the movies, and watching some of them do it. I found it fascinating, especially when some of the moviemakers were identified by the inter-titles. It was nice to be able finally to attach a face to some familiar names such as writers Agnes Christine Johnston, Jane Murfin, Waldemar Young and others who are identified and shown in closeups. I noted that Howard Hawks was included as a writer – he didn’t start directing until later. Less interesting were the showing of groups of unidentified crew members: about 50 cameramen lined up in a row, each hand cranking their cameras, seemed to serve no useful purpose. Unlike the writers, who were identified individually, the directors were all identified first in an inter-title, and the camera then panned across them standing in a row, but you could not tell which name belonged to which director. I did recognize Erich von Stroheim, but only because he was also a famous actor. When the actors and actresses were introduced as a group by inter-titles, it was much more fun, because identifying them became a game. I also saw three unlisted actors: Ford Sterling, William Haines and Sojin, and there are probably others. Continue reading

Louis Delluc – L’inondation (1924)

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Synopsis :
Dans un village paisible en bord du Rhône, Alban, jeune et honnête fermier, s’apprête à épouser la coquette et frivole Margot. Monsieur Broc, employé de mairie solitaire, retrouve sa fille adorée Germaine, devenue une charmante jeune femme. Germaine s’est éprise d’Alban. Lorsque celui-ci l’éconduit gentiment, elle s’effondre, fiévreuse, au grand désarroi de son père. La crue du fleuve inonde subitement le village et les alentours. Margot déclenche la colère d’Alban en fricotant avec son cousin Jean. Un soir elle disparaît. On la retrouve mystérieusement noyée. Continue reading

Louis Delluc – Fièvre (1921)

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Synopsis:
Louis Delluc was one of the most important silent pioneers in France and probably one of the first persons in that country who thought of the cinema as an Art. He was part of group called the “French Impressionist School” ( which also included Epstein, Abel Gance, Marcel L’Herbier and Germaine Dulac ) and was himself one of the first and most influential French film critics. Unfortunately Louis Delluc had a short career dying very young at the age of 33 from tuberculosis, denying the French and the rest of the whole world, his mastery of film and future accomplishments. Continue reading

Louis Delluc – La femme de nulle part [full version 68 min] (1922)

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Synopsis:
“Like his fiery study of a popular milieu in Fièvre, Louis Delluc’s early masterpiece of impressionist cinema, La Femme de Nulle Part, is almost impossible to see outside of rare archival projections in Paris. Shot in natural settings, and stripped of all that is not cinema, Delluc’s psychological drama featuring symbolist muse Eve Francis is an experiment in ‘direct style.’ A fascinating study in the relationship between past and present, memory, dream and reality, this revolutionary film would be a source of inspiration for successive filmmakers, from Francois Truffaut to Alain Resnais.” (NeilMac1971) Continue reading

Louis Feuillade – Le Gamin de Paris AKA Paris Urchin (1923)

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Two war orphans, Joseph, apprentice printer, and Lisette, typist, live with their grandmother in Belleville. Lisette loves his next door neighbor, the painter Amedee, but this one does not offer him a union. Joseph Amedee learning is the son of a general, advocates for Lisette and everything ends in marriage. Continue reading

Louis Feuillade – Gustave est médium (1921)

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Quote:
Gustave realizes he has acquired a telekinetic power.

Alors que ses collègues de l’administration départementale s’apprêtent à sortir déjeuner, Gustave dort profondément sur son bureau. Lorsque son chef passe et le trouve assoupi, il le réveille brutalement et le congédie. Dépité, Gustave rend visite à sa tante qui est en pleine séance de spiritisme. Elle demande aux esprits de lui désigner un médium et c’est Gustave que la table choisit en gigotant très fort. Ravi, Gustave teste ce nouveau don chez lui et les meubles font un raffut terrible à son approche. Il cherche à en tirer un profit et se fait engager par un déménageur. Avec lui, plus de problème, tables, chaises armoires, tout voltige et ses nouveaux collègues, ravis de l’aubaine n’ont qu’à le laisser faire. Gustave heureux gagne beaucoup d’argent. Malheureusement ses amis de l’administration rentrent de déjeuner et le réveillent. Gustave désolé est contraint de reprendre son ennuyeux travail de bureaucrate. Continue reading

Monta Bell – Lady of the Night (1925)

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Quote:
Directed by Monta Bell, who deserves to be remembered alongside Von Stroheim and other directorial giants of the era, the picture stars Bell’s favorite actress, Norma Shearer, in a dual role. She plays a

rich girl, Florence, and a poor girl named Molly, a gangster’s moll.

Having the same actress play both roles is the brilliant touch. The women, of course, look alike, yet no one in the film notices. In the eyes of the world they’re totally different people. The audience, however, sees them as through the eyes of an omniscient observer — recognizing plainly that these women are, essentially, the same. Continue reading