Silent

Phil Jutzi – Mutter Krausens Fahrt ins Glück AKA Mother Krause’s Journey to Happiness (1929)

Quote:
In the middle of an economic crisis, the workers are living in poverty and struggling to find a little happiness and get a warm meal. Mother Krause lives with her two grown-up children, as well as a shady “bed lodger” and his lover – a prostitute with a child – on just a few square metres. In next to no time, tensions build up, and soon crime is involved too. Mother Krausen’s painstakingly preserved order collapses. This story has lost hardly any of its relevance. In those days, columns of marching workers calling out “Join the ranks!” indicated a possible way out. But the older generation went to the dogs. Read More »

Kôkichi Tsukiyama – Shibukawa Bangorô (1922)

A film on the life of Bangorō Shibukawa, the founder of the Shibukawa-ryū school of jūjutsu. To paraphrase Tadao Satō’s blurb on the back cover of the video, this is an important film for three reasons.
1. It is an almost perfectly well preserved copy of one of only few full-length movies still available of the first superstar in Japanese cinema history, the very famous Onoe Matsunosuke. Read More »

Robert Reinert – Opium (1919)

Quote:
English doctor Professor Gesellius is in China researching the effects of opium. He frees a young woman named Sin from a den of inequity run by Nung Chiang. When he sails for home with the girl, Chiang swears vengeance. In England, it emerges that Sin is the illegitimate daughter of one of Gesellius’ colleagues, whose son is having an affair with the doctor’s wife. The son is poisoned and Gesellius becomes a murder suspect. He flees to India with Sin, pursued by the vengeful Nung Chiang … Read More »

Victor Sjöström – Körkarlen AKA The Phantom Carriage (1921)

The last person to die on New Year’s Eve before the clock strikes twelve is doomed to take the reins of Death’s chariot and work tirelessly collecting fresh souls for the next year. So says the legend that drives The Phantom Carriage (Körkarlen), directed by the father of Swedish cinema, Victor Sjöström (The Wind), about an alcoholic, abusive ne’er-do-well (Sjöström himself) who is shown the error of his ways and the pure-of-heart Salvation Army sister who believes in his redemption. Based on a novel by Nobel Prize winner Selma Lagerlöf, this extraordinarily rich and innovative silent classic (which inspired Ingmar Bergman to make movies) is a Dickensian ghost story and a deeply moving morality tale, as well as a showcase for groundbreaking special effects. Read More »

J. Searle Dawley – Frankenstein (1910)

Frankenstein, a young medical student, trying to create the perfect human being, instead creates a misshapen monster. Made ill by what he has done, Frankenstein is comforted by his fiancée but on his wedding night he is visited by the monster. A fight ensues but the monster, seeing himself in a mirror, is horrified and runs away. He later returns, entering the new bride’s room, and finds her alone. Read More »

Tod Browning – West of Zanzibar (1928)

For 18 years Phroso, known as Dead Legs by his cronies, plots his revenge, becoming a pseudo-king in East Africa, nearby where Crane has set up an ivory business. When the daughter is grown, having lived in a brothel in Zanzibar thanks to Dead Legs, Phroso put his plan into action, resulting in revenge and retribution all around. Read More »

Tod Browning – The Unholy Three (1925)

Lon Chaney — the Man of a Thousand Faces — used his makeup skills, astonishing physicality and profound empathy to create Quasimodo, the Phantom of the Opera and more of the Silent Era’s greatest horror roles. In this hypnotic mix of creepiness and crime, he plays a ventriloquist who dons a granny disguise to team with a strongman and a little person in a bizarre robbery scheme that ends in murder. The film marks an even more fateful alliance than that of the Unholy Three: the collaboration between Chaney and director Tod Browning, who would helm seven more Chaney movies before making Sound Era horror history with Dracula and Freaks. Read More »