It is the fifth anniversary of the death of Adolphe Noblet who died in a train wreck. His servant and friends still worship him but don’t care much for his wife Sylvaine’s second husband Gustave with whom she has recently had a child. Sylvaine’s friends recommend that she use a new hairdresser, Leopold Trebel. However, when this womanizing coiffeur arrives, he turns out to be Adolphe suffering from amnesia. A doctor restores his memory using hypnosis but in the process wipes out everything that has happened to him over the last five years. Continue reading
A young flapper tricks her childhood sweetheart into marrying her. He really loves another woman, but didn’t marry her for fear the marriage would end in divorce, like his parents’. Complications ensue.
To contemplate Clara Bow and Gary Cooper together onscreen is to fear these irresistibly watchable stars will cancel each other out. After all, what else could happen when two performers who consistently steal scenes in other films appear with each other? In the 1927 silent Children of Divorce, nothing quite that dramatic happens, it’s pure pleasure to see them together. Now the film is available in its DVD/Blu-ray world premiere, in what is also the 50th release for the always meticulous Flicker Alley. Continue reading
One of the last great German Expressionist films of the silent era, Joe May’s Asphalt is a love story set in the traffic-strewn Berlin of the late 1920s. Starring the delectable Betty Amann in her most famous leading role, Asphalt is a luxuriously produced Ufa classic where tragic liaisons and fatal encounters are shaped alongside the constant roar of traffic.
In Berlin, a policeman called Holk is summoned to a jeweller’s shop, where a beautiful young woman has tried to steal a diamond. En route to the police station, the woman takes Holk back to her apartment on the pretext of collecting some papers and ends up seducing him. Soon he finds himself caught between his duty and the woman he is falling in love with. Continue reading
Gabrielle, an ambitious but innocent would-be young chorine, trumps a music hall publicity stunt to become the new Parisian nightclub Cinderella. But this lighter-than-champagne-bubbles story is only a pretext for LA REVUE DES REVUES’s white-hot, non-stop procession of outrageously and scantily attired exotic dancers, showgirls, and acrobats including the Tiller’s Follies Girls, Ruth Zackey and the Hoffmann Girls, and danseuse russe Lila Nikolska. But it’s Josephine Baker, “the high priestess of primitivism”, who triumphs in two show stopping numbers in which “her clownish backfield-in-motion Charleston shimmy is unlike anything else in the movie and perhaps unlike anything anyone ever did”. Continue reading
Once upon a Time (a.k.a. Der var engang) is an atypical film for the Danish filmmaker Carl Theodor Dreyer, a departure from his more usual realistic dramas into the realm of fantasy and fairytale. It was the only film that Dreyer made for the independent film producer Sophus Madsen, a Danish film enthusiast whose only other production was Laurids Skands’s all but forgotten Livets Karneval (1923). The film was adapted from a play by Holger Drachmann, written in 1885, that was itself based on Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale Svinedrengen and Shakespeare’s The Taming of the
Shrew. From the outset, this was conceived as a lavish production, but it soon ran into financial difficulties. Even though some scenes were cut – including an extravagant market sequence – the film still ended up with a 150 per cent overspend on its 90,000
kroner budget. Continue reading
August 1914. As his regiment sets sail for France, an army captain is sent back to India on a secret mission. He averts a tribal revolt by winning the love of a girl whom the tribe regard as a goddess. Continue reading
The tale of a dancer rejected by her lover and forced to endure other indignities in order to support her child is shown in avant garde style and traditional narrative techniques, with camera angles and architectural design defining the emotional states of the characters. Featuring Eve Francis, Jaque Catelain and Marcelle Pradot. Continue reading