Tag Archives: 1920s

William K. Howard – The Valiant (1929)

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Paul Muni’s film debut. Muni earned an Academy Award nomination for his performance, the first of six in his long career.
A drifter with a clouded past accidentally kills the key witness to a crime, then sacrifices himself to the law under an assumed name rather than disgrace his family. In this manner, Muni is certain that he’s redeemed himself for his previous misdeeds–but a curious police inspector tries to probe his past. The Valiant was remade in 1940 as THE MAN WHO WOULDN’T TALK, with Lloyd Nolan in the Muni role. Read More »

Yasujirô Ozu – Wasei kenka tomodachi (1929)

A more than pleasant, funny and touching short(ened) burlesque comedy of young Y. Ozu.
Two friends provide shelter to an orphan girl they have accidentally knocked down. Read More »

Svatopluk Innemann – Milenky starého kriminálníka (1927)

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Synopsis:Factory owner Pardon, meets Olga, daughter of clairvoyant Stefanie Lesczynska at a ball. Their brief acquaintance is interrupted when Olga and her mother have to leave. Fifi Hrazánková has her sights set on the elligible Pardon. Pardon asks his Uncle Cyril Ponděliček if the girl could take over his position at work so that she may be dissuaded of her amorous intentions. Fifi seduces Pondělíček. In the meantime, Pardon meets Olga and Stefanie again by chance and offers them a place to stay at Ponděliček’s while Pondělíček passes himself off as Pardon. Ponděliček recognises Stefanie as his former lover, Olga is their daughter. Stefanie also recognises him, but Pondělíček declares that he is the thief named Kanibal whom the newspapers are all writing about. He locks Pardon, Stefanie and Olga in the cellar and, together with Fifi, he escapes. In the inn they happen to come across the real Kanibal who is being pursued by the police. The police mistakenly arrest Pondělíček. Pardon explains to the Police who Pondělíček really is. The real Kanibal is then apprehended. Pondělíček then marries Stefanie and they wish their daughter luck with the factory owner, Pardon. Fifi is thus finally cured of her romantic notions. Read More »

John S. Robertson – Annie Laurie (1927)


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Plot: The story of the famous battle between the Scots clans of Macdonald and Campbell, and the young woman who comes between them, Annie Laurie. Read More »

André Antoine – L’Hirondelle et la mésange (1920)


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André Antoine and the Realist Tradition

After its humiliating defeat in the 1870 Franco-Prussian War, France went through a social revolution. Over the next twenty years, many of its long-standing artistic traditions, such as the classical style of Academy painting, would be cast off in favor of new approaches, such as Impressionism. Live theater was one of the few holdovers from the pre-war era — formulaic pieces spoken by actors in dull declamatory style. But change was coming, voiced by the prophet of naturalism, novelist Emile Zola. “A work must be based in the real . . . on nature,” Zola wrote in Naturalism in the Theater. Zola explained that a playwright must observe facts, with no abstract characters or invented fantasies. Rising to meet this challenge, actor, and theater director André Antoine (1858-1943) founded the Theatre Libre, essentially a community theater, dedicated to showing new work by innovative writers. Antoine also staged works by controversial playwrights from outside of France, such as Ibsen and Chekhov. Under Antoine’s guidance, French theater became serious and legitimate. What is less known about Antoine is that he was also a film director, and a vital link in the development of the ‘realist tradition’ that has so enriched world cinema(…) Read More »

Teppei Yamaguchi – Kurama Tengu [+Extras] (1928)

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Quote:
In the past, screenings of silent films in Japan were extremely lively events that featured various sounds. Katsudo benshi, or motion picture narrators delivered passionate and eloquent narrations. Live music accompanied their performance. The period drama films in particular featured a new performance format that combined music played on Western and Japanese instruments, a collaboration impossible in a normal concert. The music of trumpets and violins blended with the sounds of shamisen and Japanese drums. In the climax scene, when our hero, the righteous samurai Kurama Tengu, rushed in on his horse to fight the Shinsengumi, the audience erupted in applause. Between sets, children selling rice crackers and other delicacies crisscrossed the theater shouting “Senbei, caramels” at the top of their lungs. In the Kurama Tengu series, the plot revolved around the adventures of the brave samurai Kurama Tengu and his loyal friend, the boy Sugisaku, so crowds of enthusiastic children loudly applauded the feats of their heroes. Read More »

D.W. Griffith – Lady of the Pavements (1929)

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Art Cinema Corporation production; distributed by United Artists Corporation. / Produced by Joseph M. Schenck. Screenplay by Sam Taylor, with dialogue by George Scarborough, from the short story “La Paiva” by Karl Gustav Vollmoeller. Set design by William Cameron Menzies. Costume design by Alice O’Neill. Theme song “Where Is the Song of Songs for Me?” by Irving Berlin. Cinematography by Karl Struss. Assistant cameraman, G.W. Bitzer. Intertitles by Gerrit Lloyd. Edited by James Smith. Music arrangement by Hugo Riesenfeld. Presented by Joseph M. Schenck. / © 4 February 1929 [LP79]. Premiered 22 January 1929 at the United Artists Theatre in Los Angeles, California. General release, 16 February 1929. / Standard 35mm spherical 1.37:1 format. Movietone sound-on-film sound system. / A silent version of the film was also released in eight reels at 7495 feet. / Silent film, with talking sequences, synchronized music and sound effects. Read More »