Silent

Yakov Protazanov – Belyy oryol AKA The White Eagle (1928)

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Synopsis:
Lash of the Czar was one of several English-language titles for the Russian film Belyi Orel. The film was based on The Governor, a play by Leonid Andreyev. V.I. Kachalov plays the governor of a small Russian province who tries to treat the people under his authority with kindness and equanimity. But when a local factory goes on strike, the governor buckles under to pressure from the Czar and orders the wholesale slaughter of the strikers. He pays for this betrayal of his trust with his life — at the hands of a courageous Bolshevik spy. Anna Sten, who in 1934 was brought to the U.S. as Sam Goldwyn’s “answer” to Greta Garbo, appears as the governor’s wife. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
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Yuri Zhelyabuzhsky – Papirosnitsa ot Mosselproma aka The cigarette girl of Mosselprom [+Extras] (1924)

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Review
Though many casual film fans are of the opinion that the Russian silent cinema began and ended with Montage and Propaganda, several charming romantic comedies and dramas emanated from the Soviet film industry of the 1920s. The Cigarette Girl of Mosselprom tells the tale of a young man who falls in love with the title character (Yulia Solnsteva). She becomes a famous film star, and herself falls in love–not with the hero, but with her cameraman. No one ever gets what he or she truly wants in the story, though they continue to pursue their lost dreams to the bitter end. Revelling in The Unexpected throughout, Cigarette Girl of Mosselprom is capped by an adroit surprise ending. (Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide)
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Charles Chaplin – City Lights (1931)

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Quote:
The Tramp meets a poor blind girl selling flowers on the streets and falls in love with her. The blind girl mistakes him for a millionaire. Since he wants to help her and doesn’t want to disappoint her, he keeps up the charade. He befriends a drunk millionaire, works small jobs like street sweeping, and enters a boxing contest, all to raise money for an operation to restore her sight.

CHAPLIN HILARIOUS IN HIS ‘CITY LIGHTS’; Tramp’s Antics in Non-Dialogue Film Bring Roars of Laughter at Cohan Theatre. TAKES FLING AT “TALKIES” Pathos Is Mingled With Mirth in a Production of Admirable Artistry.

Charlie Chaplin, master of screen mirth and pathos, presented at the George M. Cohan last night before a brilliant gathering his long-awaited non-dialogue picture, “City Lights,” and proved so far as he is concerned the eloquence of silence. Many of the spectators either rocking in their seats with mirth, mumbling as their sides ached, “Oh, dear, oh, dear,” or they were stilled with sighs and furtive tears. And during a closing episode, when the Little Tramp sees through the window of a flower shop the girl who has recovered her sight through his persistence, one woman could not restrain a cry. Read More »

John Ford – Cameo Kirby (1923)

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The director formerly known as Sean O’Feeney is billed as John Ford for the first time here, and he helps make this one of John Gilbert’s best pre-MGM features. Cameo Kirby (John Gilbert), once a man of high social standing, has become a professional gambler and works the Mississippi riverboats of the 1800’s. An old man (William E. Lawrence) is being cheated in a crooked card game, and Kirby gets involved in the play, with the intention of giving the man his money back. Unaware of Kirby’s plans, the old man commits suicide. It turns out that Kirby’s sweetheart (Gertrude Olmstead) is the man’s daughter. But in spite of the tragedy, she comes to understand Kirby’s altruistic motives. Based on a story by Booth Tarkington, the melodrama is offset by solid performances and an exciting paddle-wheeler river race (a bit of action that one would expect from John Ford). An 18-year-old Jean Arthur made her movie debut in this film as a bit player. ~ Janiss Garza, All Movie Guide
Jean Arthur – Ann Playdell; Engenie Ford – Mme. Dauezac; Alan Hale – Colonel Moreau; William E. Lawrence – Colonel Randall; Jack McDonald – Larkin Bruce; Gertrude Olmstead – Adele Randall; Phillips Smalley – Judge Playdell; Richard Tucker – Cousin Aaron Read More »

John Ford – 3 Bad Men (1926)

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Synopsis (contains spoilers)
Set in 1877 during the Dakota land rush, 3 Bad Men gracefully blends the epic with the intimate. This seriocomic tale centres around three outlaws who redeem themselves by protecting pilgrims who need thier help to reach what 3 Bad Men explicitly calls the promised land.

The ostensible celebration of the pioneering spirit in 3 Bad Men is darkened not only by the necessity of the outlaws’ deaths but also by the fact that the promised land is morally tainted. The ground reserved for new settlers is former Indian homeland, seized by the white government that conquered the Sioux nation in the aftermath of the Custer massacre. Ford leaves that aspect largely implicit, reserving the role of overt villian for the corrupt sheriff of the town of Custer, Layne Hunter. Read More »

Mario Camerini – Rotaie aka Rails (1929)

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A young honeymooning couple are lured away to a seaside resort by a high-society sleazeball, who has plans to seduce the girl, while at the same time her hubby in desperation stakes all his money on the roulette wheels. Read More »

Roberto Roberti – Napoli che canta AKA When Naples sings (1926)

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From il cinema muto italiano 1923-1931:
Si tratta di una antologia di canzoni napoletane, interprete dai maggiori cantanti dell’epoca, i quali seguirono alcune prime visioni, cantando direttamente sotto lo schermo.

Translation:
This is an anthology of Neapolitan songs, singers from the major interpreter of the time, which followed some premieres, singing directly below the screen. Read More »