Silent

Ewald André Dupont – Das alte Gesetz aka This Ancient Law (1923)

Baruch Mayr, son of an orthodox rabbi from a poor shtetl in Galizia, decides to break with the family tradition and leave the shtetl to become an actor. Due to this behaviour his father bans him from his family. Baruch, who joined a small burlesque troupe is discovered by an Austrian Erzherzogin (archdutchess) who introduces him to the director of the most important Theater in Vienna, the Burgtheater. Baruch receives a contract there and becomes more and more an assimilated jew. Read More »

Carl von Haartman – Korkein voitto AKA The Highest Prize (1929)

Ferdinand von Galitzien’s review from the IMDb:
The Baron Henrik von Hagen is an idle Finn bourgeois (as you can see, decadent people are all over the world…); after eleven years, he meets again an old acquaintance, Madame Vasilyevna, a foreigner who during her youthful days was a ballet dancer while Herr Baron was her faithful cavalier. Once they are reunited again in Helsinki, Herr Baron discovers that Madame Vasilyevna earns her living with a new hobby: she likes very much painting frozen Finn landscapes but especially the ones around military bases. Read More »

Sidney Drew – A Florida Enchantment (1914)

Quote:
Early gender-bending silent comedy culled from the long out of print Origins of Film boxset. A must for anyone interested in gender and sexuality in film.

Synopsis:
Lillian Travers, a New York heiress, pops down to Florida to surprise her fiance, Fred Cassadene, the house doctor at a prominent Saint Augustine hotel. The surprise, however, is Lillian’s when she finds Fred in a series of compromising situations with a certain wealthy widow staying there. When she can take no more, Lillian discovers a box forgotten at an old curiosity shop in which lies a hundred year old secret: a vial of four rare and exotic African seeds that promises to transform whoever swallows one from a woman to a man or vice versa. Read More »

Abel Gance – La Dixième Symphonie AKA The Tenth Symphony (1918)

Synopsis:
A young girl, rich and orphaned (Emmy LYNN), harrassed by a deprived adventurer (Jean TOULOUT) and by his sister, kills the latter. The adventurer blackmails her. A year later, the girl marries a famous composer, an admiror of Beethoven (Séverin MARS). The adventurer starts courting, secretly, the composer’s daughter (Elizabeth NIZAN) – daughter by a previous marriage. The composer, on finding out that a sordid relationship had existed, in the past, between his wife and the adventurer wrote, on the occasion of his daughter’s engagement, a symphony describing his unhappiness. The composer hereby defines the theme of the 10th symphony: “At the feet of his master Beethoven , a musician distraught by the treason of women, tries to forget and express his sadness”. Read More »

Jean Epstein – Le lion des Mogols (1924)

The first film Epstein made for Albatros stars Ivan Mosjoukine as a Mogul prince in exile. After getting caught up in such vices of the Occident as drinking, movies and women, the prince eventually returns to his Khanate and to his waiting bride. Read More »

Jean Epstein – La belle Nivernaise AKA The Beauty from Nivernais (1923)

Plot from IMDb:
Bargeman Louveau finds an abandoned boy, Victor, and with the authorities permission takes him back to his own family where he raises him. 10 years later Victor and Louveau’s daughter Clara have fallen in love, and it is then that Louveau is called to Paris, where it has been discovered that Victor is really the son of Maugendré, a charcoal shipper on the Nivernaise canal. Meanwhile, Victor protects Clara when a jealous bargehand attacks her and he manages to save the family barge from crashing into the lock. Returned to his real father, Victor is sent away to be educated but misses Clara and his life on the barges. When Maugendré realizes this he lets him return and when they are married he gives Victor and Clara a barge of their own. Read More »

Jean Epstein – Six et demi onze (1927)

Quote:
Female infidelity leads a man, Jean, to commit suicide. When he is dead his brother, Jerôme, starts having an affair with the same woman, Mary. But… there is a photography left of her first brother, who the second is getting closer to finding – hence the title (6,5 X 11 – an film negative format).

Wonderfully photographed with moving camera, superimposed pictures and a contrast that leaves nothing to be desired. Interesting use of the close-up to emphasize the story as well. And notice the use of the mirror to show how the story is about to repeat itself. The mice-en-scene could, throughout the film, be though to have come directly from a display of state-of-the-art modernist interior design architecture – stunningly beautiful. The men in this film all wear lipstick, silk garments and nail-polish in their very chic upper-class fashion. Oscar Wilde would not be let down. Do not miss this film, should you ever get the chance to see it. Read More »