Giovanni Pastrone – Cabiria (1914)

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Standing out from all the stumbling efforts toward a new expression of cinema, Giovanni Pastrone’s story of the Second Punic War, Cabiria , demands special attention. Compared to the other colossal Italian spectacles of its time, it had an integrity and sense of purpose. From the beginning it was regarded as something special, and its premiere at the Teatro Vittorio Emmanuele, Turin, on 18 April 1914 was a great occasion. The film’s accompanying score by Ildebrando Pizzetti, performed by an orchestra of 80 and a choir of 70, added to the excitement. Viewed today, the film has lost little of its epic poetry to the zeitgeist, though the acting performances may seem dated. Continue reading

John Ford – 3 Bad Men (1926) (HD)

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Storyline: In 1876, an old man finds gold in the Sioux lands, provoking a gold and land rush from immigrants to Dakota. On the way to Custer, the lonely cowboy Dan O’Malley helps to fix the wheel of Mr. Carlton’s wagon and flirts with his daughter Lee Carlton. Later, Lee and her father are attacked by horse thieves and Mr. Carlton is murdered; however, the outlaws “Bull” Stanley, Mike Costigan and “Spade” Allen save her from the criminals and head with her to the camp where the pioneers are waiting for President Grant proclamation to explore the lands. In the site, the corrupt Sheriff Layne Hunter rules with his henchmen with horror and injustice. The trio of outlaws decides that Lee needs to get married and select Dan to be her husband. When Bull’s sister Millie Stanley is murdered by Hunter’s right arm Nat Lucas, “Bull” organizes the men to chase Hunter. But it is 1877 and the gold and land race of wagons is ready to start. Continue reading

Frank Lloyd & Josef von Sternberg – Children of Divorce (1927)

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Synopsis wrote:
A young flapper tricks her childhood sweetheart into marrying her. He really loves another woman, but didn’t marry her for fear the marriage would end in divorce, like his parents’. Complications ensue.

aclassicmovieblog wrote:
To contemplate Clara Bow and Gary Cooper together onscreen is to fear these irresistibly watchable stars will cancel each other out. After all, what else could happen when two performers who consistently steal scenes in other films appear with each other? In the 1927 silent Children of Divorce, nothing quite that dramatic happens, it’s pure pleasure to see them together. Now the film is available in its DVD/Blu-ray world premiere, in what is also the 50th release for the always meticulous Flicker Alley. Continue reading

Joe May – Asphalt (1929)

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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)

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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

Aki Kaurismäki – Juha (1999) (HD)

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A farmer’s wife is seduced into running away from her stolid older husband by a city slicker, who enslaves her in a brothel.

Quote:
Literature is full of triangle dramas, but very few of them can beat Juhani Aho’s “Juha” (1998) for deepness of emotions and understanding of all three parties. The story is straight and strong, yet full of detail, just waiting to be ruined by cinematic means.
I had planned to film “Juha” almost as long as we had planned to make a silent movie with composer Anssi Tikanmäki. One day we were clever enough to put the ideas together and the catastrophe was ready.
Afterwards I’m not surprised that all efforts (except Tati’s “Mon Oncle”) to make a silent film during the last decades have somehow failed; the easiness of explaining all by words has polluted our story telling to a pale shadow of original cinema.
We can never again make films like “Broken Blossoms”, “Sunrise” or “Queen Kelly” because since film started to gable with mumble and all that hoochie-coochie and fancy words, stories have lost their purity, cinema its essence: innocence.
(Aki Kaurismäki) Continue reading

Louis Lumière – Débarquement du congrès de photographes à Lyon (1895)

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Débarquement du congrès de photographes à Lyon

Maths Jesperson on IMDb wrote:
Members of the French Photographic Society arrive from a riverboat to their congress venue in Neuville-sur-Saône on a summer day. They go ashore across a wooden landing stage. Among the many men in straw hats are also a few women in long skirts. Some of the men lift their hats toward the photographer when passing. Many of them are carrying their own cameras. Continue reading