Charles Chaplin – The Gold Rush [+Extras] (1925)

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29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Charles Chaplin   The Gold Rush [+Extras] (1925)

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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29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Victor Sjöström   Körkarlen AKA The Phantom Carriage (1921) (HD)

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

Victor Sjöström – He Who Gets Slapped (1924)

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29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Victor Sjöström   He Who Gets Slapped (1924)

Sandra Brennan at allmovie.com wrote:
This compelling and exceptionally well-executed silent drama, from new MGM studio executives Irving Thalburg and producer Louis B. Mayer is based on a highly-regarded Russian play and features the studio’s biggest stars, Lon Chaney, John Gilbert and Norma Shearer. Directed by noted Swedish filmmmaker Victor Sjostrom, it is the story of a scientific genius who is humiliated by his philandering wife and a major career set-back. To express his pain, bitterness and anger he becomes a circus clown who seems to enjoy the frequently cruel slapstick antics of his new colleagues. While in the circus, he finds a chance at renewal when he falls for a lovely bareback rider. But will he at last find happiness? Or will tragedy continue to be his closest companion? Continue reading

Robert J. Flaherty – Nanook of the North [+Extras] (1922)

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29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Robert J. Flaherty   Nanook of the North [+Extras] (1922)

Roger Ebert @ Chicago Sun-Times, September 25, 2005 wrote:

There is an astonishing sequence in Robert J. Flaherty’s “Nanook of the North” (1922) in which his hero, the Inuit hunter Nanook, hunts a seal. Flaherty shows the most exciting passage in one unbroken shot. Nanook knows that seals must breathe every 20 minutes, and keep an air hole open for themselves in the ice of the Arctic winter. He finds such a hole, barely big enough to be seen and is poised motionless above it with his harpoon until a seal rises to breathe. Then he strikes and holds onto the line as the seal plunges to escape.

There is a desperate tug of war. Nanook hauls the line 10 or 12 feet out of the hole, and then is dragged back, sliding across the ice, and pulls again, and again. We can’t see, but he must have the line tied to his body — to lose would be to drown. He desperately signals for his fellow hunters to help him, and we see them running across the ice with their dogs as he struggles to hold on. They arrive at last, and three or four of them pull on the line. The seal prevails. Nanook uses his knife to enlarge the hole, and the seal at last is revealed and killed. The hunters immediately strip it of its blubber and dine on its raw flesh.
Continue reading

Castleton Knight – The Flying Scotsman (1929)

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29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Castleton Knight   The Flying Scotsman (1929)

Synopsis:

‘A young fireman on the Flying Scotsman train falls in love with the beautiful daughter of the driver who is about to retire. The young fireman has replaced another named Crow who was sacked for drinking on the job and is planning to wreck the express on the driver’s last trip.’
– trunkeyts (IMDb) Continue reading

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