Tag Archives: 1920s

Tod Browning – The Thirteenth Chair (1929)

Although his murdered friend was by all accounts a scoundrel a true “bounder” Edward Wales is determined to trap his killer by staging a seance using a famous medium. Many of the 13 seance participants had a reason and a means to kill, and one of them uses the cover of darkness to kill again. When someone close to the medium is suspected she turns detective, in the hope of uncovering the true murderer. Read More »

Mannus Franken & Joris Ivens – Regen aka Rain (1929)

Quote:
A day in the life of a rain-shower. As a city symphony Joris Ivens films Amsterdam and its changing appearence during a rain-shower. A very poetic film with changing moods, following the change from sunny Amsterdam streets to rain drops in the canals and the pooring rain on windows, umbrellas, trams and streets, untill it clears up and the sun breaks through once again. Although it seems to be one day it took Ivens a long time to film what he wanted to film (for even in Amsterdam it doesn’t rain every day). With The Bridge, Rain became his major breakthrough as an avant-garde film artist. In 1932 Joris Ivens asked Lou Lichtveld (who also made the music for Philips Radio) to make a sound version of it, and in 1941 the film inspired Hanns Eisler to compose his “Fourteen ways to describe rain” in the context of a ‘Film Music Project’. 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 »