Tag Archives: 1910s

Lois Weber – Shoes (1916)

Quote:
Eva Meyer is poor shop girl working at a five-and-dime. She is the sole wage earner for three younger sisters, a mother who struggles to hold everything together, and a father who prefers beer and penny dreadfuls to work. Each week, Eva returns to her cold-water flat and dutifully hands over her meager earnings to her mother. But her wages barely cover the grocer’s bill and cannot provide for decent clothing. With only cardboard to patch the holes in the soles of her shoes, Eva’s life becomes harder with each rainy day and every splinter. In constant pain and with no solution in sight, the disheartened girl considers the uninvited advances of Charlie, a cad with clearly dishonorable intentions.
So begins Lois Weber’s SHOES, perhaps her finest masterpiece and one of the great feminist films in the history of cinema. Read More »

Maurice Tourneur – The Wishing Ring: An Idyll of Old England (1914)

AMG wrote:
According to film historian William K. Everson, to offer a fully detailed synopsis of Maurice Tourneur’s delightful period piece The Wishing Ring “would do a disservice to its charm.” Suffice to say that the film’s wide-eyed heroine Vivian Martin comes into possession of a ring which she believes to have magical powers. Armed with this belief alone, the girl is able to change the course of her entire life. Read More »

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 »

Nino Oxilia – Rapsodia satanica aka Satan’s Rhapsody (1915)

Quote:
Rapsodia Satanica (1915) was the last film directed by Nino Oxilia and is undoubtedly one of the finest achievements of the early Italian cinema. In it, Oxilia spins a variation on the Faust myth, embodied here by the diva Lyda Borelli. Typical of extravagant D’Annunzian aestheticism at its height, Rapsodia Satanica was one of the summits of what was later called the “tail coat film.” Diametrically opposed to the “cinema of reality” practiced by Serena, Martoglio and others, “tail coat films” set their melodramatic stories in the salons and villas of the upper middle class and the aristocracy, deploying narrative structures contrived to showcase their actors and especially its actresses. This had the effect of accentuating their physical presence and turning them into stars – probably the first stars in movie history. The success of the “dive” contributed to the development of motion picture grammar in its special use of the close-up.
Written by Anthony Kobal Read More »

Johannes Pääsuke – Retk läbi Setumaa AKA Journey through Setomaa (1913)

Estonia’s first ethnographic film. Made by Johannes Pääsuke in 1913 on his expedition to Setomaa, the South-Eastern region in Estonia. Read More »

Urban Gad – Zapatas Bande AKA Zapata’s Gang (1914)

Storyline
Comedy about a film crew shooting a movie about guns and robbers, when real robbers turn up. Having to go home in robbers costume, they are mistakingly accused. In the end the real robbers are brought to justice. Read More »

Albert Capellani – The Red Lantern (1919)

[The Red Lantern] tells the story of a Eurasian, Joan of Arc-like heroine, Mahlee, who forsakes her own people to live among white Europeans, until political tumult draws her back across the color line to foment anti-imperialist uprising in China’s 1900 Boxer Rebellion. While Mahlee literally “hears voices” (à la Joan of Arc) that compel her to revolutionary action, star actress Alla Nazimova doubles in this role as Mahlee and as her estranged white [half]-sister, Blanche Sackville. Blanche’s sister from another mother (i.e., their white British father’s Chinese mistress), Mahlee struggles with her simultaneous attraction and repulsion towards her kinfolk colonizers — and more pointedly with the politics of British colonialism in fin-de-siècle China. Read More »