George W. Hill – Min and Bill (1930)

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Plot: Min owns the waterfront hotel where Bill, the captain of a fishing boat, lives. Also living and working in the hotel is Nancy, whom Min took in some years ago as an abandoned girl. Now that Nancy is older, the truant officer and the police think that she should be moved to a different environment, and Min is torn between her attachment to Nancy and her concern that the waterfront may not be the best place for a young woman. Matters are brought to a head by the sudden re-appearance of Belle, Nancy’s disreputable mother. Written by Snow Leopard Continue reading

D.W. Griffith – Lady of the Pavements (1929)

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Art Cinema Corporation production; distributed by United Artists Corporation. / Produced by Joseph M. Schenck. Screenplay by Sam Taylor, with dialogue by George Scarborough, from the short story “La Paiva” by Karl Gustav Vollmoeller. Set design by William Cameron Menzies. Costume design by Alice O’Neill. Theme song “Where Is the Song of Songs for Me?” by Irving Berlin. Cinematography by Karl Struss. Assistant cameraman, G.W. Bitzer. Intertitles by Gerrit Lloyd. Edited by James Smith. Music arrangement by Hugo Riesenfeld. Presented by Joseph M. Schenck. / © 4 February 1929 [LP79]. Premiered 22 January 1929 at the United Artists Theatre in Los Angeles, California. General release, 16 February 1929. / Standard 35mm spherical 1.37:1 format. Movietone sound-on-film sound system. / A silent version of the film was also released in eight reels at 7495 feet. / Silent film, with talking sequences, synchronized music and sound effects. Continue reading

Louis Delluc – La femme de nulle part (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. Continue reading

William A. Seiter – Little Church Around the Corner (1923)

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The Little Church Around the Corner is important as the first major financial success for the fledgling Warner Bros. studios. Kenneth Harlan plays a mining-town clergyman who falls in love with his benefactor’s daughter. He is about to settle into a life of cozy complacency when a group of miners come to his doorstep, asking that the minister plead to the owners for better living conditions. To prove himself to be “one” with the miners, Harlan moves into their shanty community. This causes a rift with his sweetheart’s father, who happens to be one of the owners. A cave-in, an angry mob and a supposed miracle are part and parcel of this 1923 adaptation of the war-horse Marion Russell play, which is directed with a sure, subtle hand by William A. Seiter. ~ Hal Erickson Continue reading

Fred Niblo – Way Out West [Pre-Code] (1930)

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Plot/Synopsis: from ROVI
A pleasant enough western parody starring one of the victims of sound, William Haines, Way Out West is the story of a carnival huckster forced to work on a western ranch in order to repay a couple of cowboys he once fleeced. There’s a sandstorm, a fist-fight with the ubiquitous crooked foreman (Charles Middleton), a pretty female ranch owner (Leila Hyams), and sundry other western clichés thrown in to prove the star’s manly qualities.The light-weight Haines played many such roles, but reshuffling due to sound (not to mention a quarrel with MGM studio head, Louis B. Mayer), ended his career. Haines later became a fashionable interior decorator. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi Continue reading

Joe May – Das Indische Grabmal: Die Sendung des Yoghi AKA Mysteries of India, Part I: Truth (1921)

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A jealous & vindictive Rajah sends a powerful Yogi to entice a famous English architect into constructing a marvelous mausoleum in which to inter the prince’s faithless wife.

THE Indian TOMB: THE MISSION OF THE YOGI is a perfect example of the grand German cinema epics created during the silent era. Berlin film mogul Joe May turned the full resources of his modern Maytown studio over to the production, using 300 workmen to create the lavish sets necessary to tell such an exotic tale. Continue reading