Silent

Ernst Lubitsch – Die Puppe AKA The Doll (1919)

Quote:
The Baron of Chanterelle (Max Kronert) demands that his nephew Lancelot (Hermann Thimig) get married to preserve the family line. A skittish and effeminate fellow, Lancelot does not wish to marry, so when his uncle presents him with 40 enthusiastic brides, he hides out with a group of monks. The gluttonous monks learn about Lancelot’s potential cash reward for his nuptials, so they cook up a plan: he can marry a doll… Read More »

Grigori Kozintsev & Leonid Trauberg – S.V.D. – Soyuz velikogo dela AKA Union of the Great Cause (1927)

(imdb)
A failed Russian Revolution succeeded magnificently on screen., 3 June 1999
Author: Theodore J. van Houten from Haamstede, 4328 ZG 1 Netherlands

S.V.D. was released in August 1927. A beautiful costume drama, it is on the other hand a somewhat expressionistic, poetical fantasy. Its photography and images are more important than its desired political contents. The script, written by the inspiring historian Yuri Tinyanov (director Leonid Trauberg [1901-1990]could speak about Tinyanov for hours) supplied a failed love story, a political intrigue involving two czars, and a traveling circus background. The picture glorifies the 1825 ‘Decembrists’ uprisal: officers in the imperial Russian army are fed up with the new czar’s autocracy. Read More »

Yakov Bliokh – Shanhkayskiy dokument AKA The Shanghai Document (1928)

The Shanghai Document is an early documentary film. This silent film was directed by Yakov Bliokh (1895-1957) and was released in the USSR in 1928. The film portrays Shanghai, China in the early 1920s. It shows the contrasts between the world of Western expatriates (including Britons, Americans, New Zealanders, Australians, and Danes) who live in the luxurious Shanghai International Settlement, and that of the Shanghainese inhabitants, who spend their days laboring. The events which inspired the film revolve around the Chinese nationalist revolution (1925-27), including the May Thirtieth Movement, and the First United Front of the Chinese Communist Party, and the Nationalists (the Kuomintang), and its collapse in February 1927 when Chiang Kai-shek ordered a purge of the Communists in Shanghai and in other cities held by the revolutionaries. Read More »

Jean Renoir – Tire-au-flanc AKA The Sad Sack (1928)

A pretty rare early (and silent) Renoir, a kinda romantic-army-comedy about a fragile burgeoisie son who has (together with his his butler) to attend a full army drill. Several romantic interests soon kick in… Read More »

Grigoriy Kozintsev & Leonid Trauberg – Shinel AKA The Overcoat (1926)

The Overcoat is a 1926 Soviet film directed by Grigori Kozintsev and Leonid Trauberg, based on Nikolai Gogol stories Nevsky Prospekt and The Overcoat.

A young clerk, disappointed in love in early life passes his life in paper work. He centres his interests in a new overcoat but is robbed and assaulted on the way home. He gets sick and dies. Read More »

Fritz Lang – Frau im Mond AKA Woman in the Moon (1929)

Synopsis:
Thirty years ago, at a scientific conference, Prof. Manfeldt presented his theory on the existence of gold on the Moon. It was greeted with laughter by the assembled academics. Today, Herr Helius has ambitious plans to build a spaceship… and take it to the Moon! Windegger, his chief engineer, will be going, and so will Prof. Manfeldt, now living in a cramped garret alone with his theory. But there are disagreements with the financiers who insist that their man Turner also accompany the flight… The unmanned Rocket H 32 brings back valuable information from the dark side of the Moon. Helius is upset by the news of Windegger’s engagement to the pretty Friede. And the financiers have a secret agenda: to control the world’s gold supply… Finally, the Spaceship “Friede” is ready as it rolls out on its gantry for takeoff. The staged rocket works as planned, but the acceleration is fierce. As they approach the Moon, they discover a stowaway on board, Gustav, a little boy… Read More »

Loftur Guðmundsson – Ísland í lifandi myndum AKA Iceland in Moving Pictures (1925)

There is very little information available online on this little gem, the first ‘feature-length’ film shot exclusively in Iceland by an Icelandic director, the pioneer Loftur Guðmundsson. Director and crew travelled all around the country with the ambitious goal of documenting all the aspects of the local life at the time. Fishing plays an important role (being then, by far, the number one national industry); one can also witness the humble beginnings of ‘city-life’ in the capital, one of the first (or was it the very first?) cars driving in Iceland, beautiful pastoral shots of farm-lands, ladies posing in the national costume, as well as fighters indulging in the national sport, ‘glyma’. The 21st century traveller will be able to recognize a number of landmarks. The images are often naive, genuine, and captivating. In my opinion one of the most valuable Icelandic films. –Ewolve Read More »