Tag Archives: 1920s

Clarence G. Badger – It (1927)

This is the movie that gave Clara Bow, the film world’s first sex symbol, her lasting nickname. She will allways be “The It Girl”. “IT” is roughly sex appeal, or in the words of novellist Elinor Glyn: “‘IT’ is that quality possessed by some which draws all others with its magnetic force. With ‘IT’ you will win all men if you are a woman—and all women if you are a man. ‘IT’ can be a quality of the mind as well as a physical attraction.” Read More »

Jean Epstein – La belle Nivernaise AKA The Beauty from Nivernais (1923)

Quote:
Bargeman Louveau finds an abandoned boy, Victor, and with the authorities permission takes him back to his own family where he raises him. 10 years later Victor and Louveau’s daughter Clara have fallen in love, and it is then that Louveau is called to Paris, where it has been discovered that Victor is really the son of Maugendré, a charcoal shipper on the Nivernaise canal. Read More »

Fred Niblo & Dorothy Arzner – Blood and Sand [extended version] (1922)

Synopsis:
Juan is the son of a poor widow in Seville. Against his mother’s wishes he pursues a career as toreador. He rapidly gains national prominence, and takes his childhood sweetheart Carmen as his bride. He meets the Marquis’ daughter Dona Sol, and finds himself in the awkward position of being in love with two women, which threatens the stability of his family and his position in society. He finds interesting parallels in the life of the infamous bandit Plumitas when they eventually meet by chance. Read More »

Nina Agadzhanova & Lev Kuleshov – Dva-Buldi-dva aka Two-Buldi-Two (1929)

“A father and son, both clowns, are to perform together for the first time, but the civil war separates them, and the elder Buldy, tempted for a moment to acquiesce to the White forces, casts his lot with the revolution. At the climax Buldy Jr. escapes the Whites thanks to flashy trampoline and trapeze acrobatics; the gaping enemy soldiers forget to shoot. Even Kuleshov’s more naturalistic films show flashes of kinetic, stylized acting. A partisan listens to a boy while draping himself over a door. A Bolshevik official answers the phone by reaching across his chest, twisting his body so the unused arm can hike itself up, right-angled, to the chair.”
by David Bordwell Read More »

Benjamin Christensen – Häxan AKA Häxan Witchcraft Through the Ages (1922)

Quote:
Fictionalized documentary showing the evolution of witchcraft, from its pagan roots to its confusion with hysteria in modern Europe. Grave robbing, torture, possessed nuns, and a satanic Sabbath: Benjamin Christensen’s legendary silent film uses a series of dramatic vignettes to explore the scientific hypothesis that the witches of the Middle Ages and early modern era suffered from the same ills as psychiatric patients diagnosed with hysteria in the film’s own time. Far from a dry dissertation on the topic, the film itself is a witches’ brew of the scary, the gross, and the darkly humorous. Christensen’s mix-and-match approach to genre anticipates gothic horror, documentary re-creation, and the essay film, making for an experience unlike anything else in the history of cinema. Read More »

Tod Browning – The Unknown (1927)

Quote:
A criminal on the run hides in a circus and seeks to possess the daughter of the ringmaster at any cost. Read More »

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 »