Silent

André Sauvage – Études sur Paris (1928)

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André Sauvage’s Études sur Paris has long takes, improvised shots, no special effects, music or plot—essentially unwatchable to devotees of today’s wiz-bang, graphics-heavy documentary vocabulary. Long before tourist bureaus produced pastry-puff shorts or anybody could shoot a space full of holes with their cameraphone, field documentation was a select sport. To be a shooter required strict patience, an adroit sense of composition, and a willingness to lose (and maybe more importantly, money to pay for) film. If less political in the assemblage of its pieces, this is a film that that rubs shoulders with Man With A Movie Camera, Manhatta or Symphony of a Metropolis. Read More »

Vsevolod Pudovkin – Konets Sankt-Peterburga AKA The End of St. Petersburg (1927)

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Filmed to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the 1917 Russian revolution, End of St. Petersburg was the second feature-length effort of director V. I. Pudovkin. Utilizing many of the montage techniques popularized by his contemporary Sergei Eisenstein, Pudovkin details the fall of St. Petersburg into the hands of the Bolsheviks during the revolution. Unlike Eisenstein, Pudovkin concentrates on individuals rather than groups (his protagonist is a politically awakened peasant played by Ivan Chuvelyov) humanizing what might otherwise have been a prosaic historical piece. The mob scenes, though obviously staged for ultimate dramatic impact, are so persuasive that they have frequently been excerpted for documentaries about the Russian Revolution, and accepted by some impressionable viewers as the real thing. Filmed just after his 1926 masterwork Mother, The End of St. Petersburg was followed by the equally brilliant Storm Over Asia.- allmovie.com Read More »

Leo McCarey – Mama Behave (1926)

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Funny, Entertaining. Charley Chase is great!, 4 April 2005
Author: chris-glo from So.CA
I happened to catch this on TCM one day – what a scream! A very entertaining short. Charley Chase was very talented! My husband and I try to watch the “silents” whenever we can but have mostly watched dramas with the bigger stars such as Valentino, Garbo, Chaney, etc. It is really a shame that the younger people today do not take the time to watch and appreciate the ones really responsible for the success of the movie industry. Back then, without sound to convey feelings with the spoken word, it took, I think, a great more amount of talent as an actor or actress to get the point across in mime. Facial expression and body movements were the only way this could be achieved. Just for fun, watch a new movie with the sound off. I think you would be surprised to find that you cannot follow it very well. Anyway, if you get the chance, check out silent movies. They are better than you think. And Charley Chase? I will be looking for more of his movies. Read More »

Aleksandr Medvedkin – Schastye aka Happiness [+Extras] (1932)

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Aleksandr Medvedkin’s Happiness, as rowdy as any Soviet silent movie, is a comic parable composed of equal parts of Tex Avery and Luis Buñuel. It satirizes the plight of a Soviet farmer who finds himself providing for the state, the church, and his peers at the expense of his personal satisfaction. A hapless young prole, Khmyr, is tasked by his wife with the goal of going out in the world and finding happiness, lest he end up dead and dissatisfied after a lifetime of toil, like his father. Through stylistic exaggeration and a systematic attack on pre- and post-Revolutionary Russia’s dearest institutions, the movie achieves a wide-ranging, and deeply wounding, attack on the limitations placed on personal freedom in Russian society Read More »

Viggo Larsen – Løvejagten AKA The Lion Hunt (1907)

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Synopsis
Two big game hunters are on safari in the jungle with their African guide. They observe zebras, ostrich and a hippopotamus, and catch a small monkey for a pet. During the night they are awakened by a lion which kills a small goat and then the hunters’ horse. The hunters shoot the lion as it stands by the water on a beach. They discover another lion and shoot it also. The lions are gutted and skinned. The happy hunters sit and smoke cigarettes afterward. Read More »

Abel Gance – La Roue (1923)

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Flicker Alley says…

Quote:

Never before released in the United States, this monumental French film is one of the most extraordinary achievements in the whole history of cinema. Written and directed by Abel Gance (Napoleon, J’Accuse), three years in production, and for its time unprecedented in length and complexity of emotion, La Roue pushed the frontiers of film art beyond all previous efforts. Said Gance, “Cinema endows man with a new sense. It is the music of light. He listens with his eyes.” Read More »

Sergei M. Eisenstein – Dnevnik Glumova AKA Glumov’s Diary (1923)

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The first film from Eisenstein.

From allmovie

” Eisenstein’s interest in film began with an appreciation of the work of D.W. Griffith, whose editing style influenced him in the production of his first cinematic endeavor, the 1923 five-minute newsreel parody Dnevnik Glumova. A stint with Lev Kuleshov’s film workshop followed, as did an increasing fascination with the burgeoning avant-garde.” Read More »