Alfred Hitchcock – Murder! (1930)

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An actress in a travelling theatre group is murdered and Diana Baring, another member of the group is found suffering from amnesia standing by the body. Diana is tried and convicted of the murder, but Sir John Menier a famous actor on the jury is convinced of her innocence. Sir John sets out to find the real murderer before Diana’s death sentence is carried out. Continue reading

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Sergei M. Eisenstein – Stachka AKA Strike (1925)

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Russia, 1912. Sick of the conditions under which they have to toil for a meagre salary, the workers at a factory are on the brink of rebellion. The flashpoint comes when one of their number hangs himself after having been unjustly accused of stealing a tool by his foreman. The workers walk out on mass, refusing to return until their managers have agreed to their terms. The factory owners, fat industrialists with a taste for luxury, are infuriated by this illegal revolt and resolve to bring the workers to heel – by any means possible… Continue reading

René Clair & Francis Picabia – Entr’acte (1924)

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Experimental and avant-garde offering from director René Clair that was produced by the French dance company Les Ballets Suis, and features the members mourning the loss of their star dancer, Borlin. Outrageously surreal and silly, it offers such sights as a funeral procession with the hearse being pulled by a camel and the dead occupant giving a final performance. Eric Satie (who is uncredited) composed the music and makes an appearance towards the end. Continue reading

Jean Cocteau – Le sang d’un poete AKA The Blood of a Poet (1930)

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Synopsis

A poet creates a drawing of a living mouth, which transfers to his hand when he tries to wipe it from the canvas. Later, when he touches a statue with his afflicted hand, the statue comes to life. As a punishment, the poet is condemned to walk the corridor of the Hotel of Dramatic Follies, where he spies on various tableaux directed by the statue.
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Charles Chaplin – The Gold Rush [+Extras] (1925)

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Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader wrote:
Charles Chaplin’s best-loved film, with the tramp down-and-out (as usual) in Alaska, where he looks for gold, falls in love with a dance-hall girl (Georgia Hale), eats his shoes for Thanksgiving dinner, and ends up a millionaire. The blend of slapstick and pathos is seamless, although the cynicism of the final scene is still surprising. Chaplin’s later films are quirkier and more personal, but this is quintessential Charlie, and unmissable. The film has been issued in several different forms with different sound tracks and cuts, including a 72-minute version butchered by Chaplin himself in the 40s. Hold out for the 1925 original, which runs 82 minutes. Continue reading

Victor Sjöström – Körkarlen AKA The Phantom Carriage (1921) (HD)

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The last person to die on New Year’s Eve before the clock strikes twelve is doomed to take the reins of Death’s chariot and work tirelessly collecting fresh souls for the next year. So says the legend that drives The Phantom Carriage (Körkarlen), directed by the father of Swedish cinema, Victor Sjöström. The story, based on a novel by Nobel Prize winner Selma Lagerlöf, concerns an alcoholic, abusive ne’er-do-well (Sjöström himself) who is shown the error of his ways, and the pure-of-heart Salvation Army sister who believes in his redemption. This extraordinarily rich and innovative silent classic (which inspired Ingmar Bergman to make movies) is a Dickensian ghost story and a deeply moving morality tale, as well as a showcase for groundbreaking special effects. (-Criterion) Continue reading

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