Tag Archives: 1920s

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 »

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 »

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 »