Joe May – Asphalt (1929)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Synopsis wrote:
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.

thespinningimage.co.uk wrote:
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

Joe Francis – La revue des revues AKA Parisian Pleasures (1927)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

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

Carl Theodor Dreyer – Der var engang AKA Once Upon a Time (1922)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Quote:
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

Marcel L’Herbier – Eldorado (1921)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Synopsis wrote:
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

Henri Desfontaines – Belphégor (1927)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Restored by “La Cinémathèque Française” in 1988

Plot :
A ghost has been seen during the night in the Louvre Museum (Paris), and a guard is found dying near the statue of Belphégor, a god of Moabites and Ammonites. A young reporter, Jacques Bellegarde, begin to investigate but soon he’s being threatened by some letters sent by … Belphégor

It’s a silent mini-serie in 4 parts, after a popular book of Arthur Bernède, in the style of the 1st Fantômas (in fact, René Navarre was Fantômas in the Louis Feuillade’s movie)

Nearly 40 years later, a remake of this serie was made with Juliette Greco and met a great success in France, and is much better known that this one. Continue reading

Jean Epstein – Coeur fidèle AKA The Faithful Heart (1923)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Quote:
In Coeur Fidèle’s accompanying 44-page booklet, Jean Epstein, at a 1924 address, argues his film as “romantic” rather than”realist”, the label with which Italian poet Ricciotto Canudo assigned it before his death. The truth is that Epstein’s largely unknown masterpiece provides a fascinating agreement of the two styles, oscillating with seamless precision between reverie and sincerity. Marie (Gina Manès) is in love with Jean (Léon Mathot), a kind-hearted man who works on the Marseille docklands, but Marie’s adoptive parents want to marry her off to the obnoxious and unemployed drunk Petit Paul (Edmond Van Daële), and the scene is set for a sensational melodrama to unfold. Continue reading