What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

Open, general discussion of silent films, personalities and history.
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Donald Binks

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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostMon Apr 23, 2018 8:05 am

Jim Roots wrote:Image


Binky, I can't quite pick you out in this picture. Are you the one wearing red?

Jim[/quote]

No I am in my normal day wear of gold lame jacket, green lurex trousers, tan shoes and pink shoe laces. I left the mauve Fedora at home as I didn't want to be too overdressed.
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she won't polish them..."You know what she's like." So I said:..."
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostMon Apr 23, 2018 9:46 am

I watched Moulin Rouge (1928) from the BFI/Studio Canal blu-ray.

A tremendous effort went into making this, and it shows. Lots of you-are-there dancing, with the energetic/gymnastic dancing of the late 1920s. Innovative camera moves and a decent plot keep us watching. Directed by Dupont and starring Olga Tschechowa, Eve Gray, and Jean Bradin; this love triangle entertains with the dancing and more dancing then leads us to an exciting chase near the end.

A lot of effort apparently went into the restoration as well.

Rick
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostMon Apr 23, 2018 1:08 pm

What appeared to be a semi-amateur film from Canada, LITTLE GRAY DOORS (1928) started off rather tediously as we see a little lad who won't do what his mother asks, hampered by what seemed a great flood of titles, many of them quite unnecessary. The film improves when the boy starts dreaming, and entering a tree stump, disappears into the bowels of the earth. Leprechaun-like creatures start to demolish his piano, women grumble at their offspring's dreadful habits, and the letters 'LOP' start appearing everywhere. What do they mean? An oddity, with a moral, which comes over rather unpersuasively, but whose second half is more inventive than the prosaic prologue.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostMon Apr 23, 2018 8:04 pm

I watched a Toonerville Trolley 2-reeler, Boozem Friends (1921), one of a handful of the series that has survived. I only vagely remember this cartton comic strip which ran from 1908 to 1955. This initial series of 17 films were shot 1920-22. Wiki says 7 survive, but I think it's more like 4 or 5.

Anyway, the action here mostly takes place at Bang's restaurant where Katrinka works in the kitchen and Sam McNutt is the counterman. The Skipper (who drives the trolley) is also present. Some funny intertitles and a couple of great sight gags make this interesting. The trolley itself just sort of shows up here and there.

Would make a great DVD set but the surviving copies are likely strewn among several archives.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostFri Apr 27, 2018 5:27 pm

I've long known that Samurai movies have a long history in Japan -- one of the Lumiere actualities from 1898 is Acteurs Japonais: Bataille au Sabre. However Orochi aka Serpent (1925) is the earliest full-fledged Samurai feature I've seen. In it, Tsumasaburô Bandô is a young samurai with ideals and a short temper, who develops a reputation as a bully and gets kicked out of his position by trying to defend the reputation of his calligraphy master's daughter -- no one will listen to his explanations. He takes to the road as a samurai and falls in with bad companions, always wondering why no one will see the good heart beneath his fearsome reputation.

This movie is offered as a tragedy of society's failure (the version I watched had a simultaneous Japanese and Russian audio track that made me think it must have done well in Soviet Russia as an indictment of Pre-Revolutionary society). I thought it was an indictment of people who failed to show a little forethought in their actions; if Our Hero (as the narrator referred to him) had shown a little discretion, he might have done a lot better for himself.

Nonetheless, one watches westerns for the riding and the gunplay, and one watches Samurai movies fo the fight scene, and there are some fine ones here, particularly the big finale. Although my cynical take on Our Hero rendered many serious sections comic, this is well worth watching as an early example of the genre.

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Mon Apr 30, 2018 6:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostSat Apr 28, 2018 6:24 am

Il Talismano aka Richard, the Lion-Hearted (1911) is an Italian two-reeler from 1911, based on the Walter Scott novel The Talisman. In this portion of the book, while Richard is sick, a foreign knight steals Richard's pennant from his camp, so the King orders him to fight his champion.

Like most of the well-produced Societa Italinaa Cines dramas of this period, it has beautiful sets, magnificent costumes and acting that would shame a couple of Jewish grandmothers haggling over the price of a bunch of radishes for a salad, meant to illustrate five or six lines of text that precede the action.

Yes, it's the "illustrated text" style of film-making, which had been going out of style for five years, although it would maintain its hold for epics for a while -- which this arguably is. I might be doing this movie a disservice, since I looked at the English-lagnuae version; it's possible the original Italian version had fewer and shorter titles. However, the sheer amount of over-the-top arm-waving made this a bore.

Bob
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostSat Apr 28, 2018 5:06 pm

Koi No Hana Saku Izu No Odoriko aka The Dancing Girl of Izu (1933) a college student on his way to visit a fellow student and a country festival falls in with a girl, her brother and his wife. Once they were mine owners, but they lost the mine and are reduced to wandering players. Meanwhile, an engineer visits a mine owner and demands a bonus now that the mine is profitable. The mine owner refuses. The engineer had high-tailed it out of town when things had gotten tough. Harsh words are exchanged.

Heinosuke Gosho's tale of tough times on the road and young love is a very well-told tale, with some fine acting and good camerawork. However, my academic nature cannot help but compare it to Ozu's works in the 1930s. The actor who plays the engineer, Reikichi Kawamura, was a regular in Ozu's films through 1947, and early on, the ingenue, Kinuyo Tanaka, sings a song in which she compares herself to a floating weed..... ding! ding! ding! ding! and so I started making comparisons and trying to decide who did what better.

Yet on reflection, any comparison is a false one, because even though the two directors worked in the same genre, they worked them to different ends. Story is what occurs when character meets situation and one or both must change; the path is plot; and the more believable all are (for realistic fiction, not symbolic fiction like sf or fantasy or westerns), the better; and for too much early Japanese film, it seems to me, character is twisted unrealistically to fit the convenience of the plot.

Both Gosho and Ozu were intent on realistic characters in realistic situations, but it seems to me that Ozu was far more interested in character. Perhaps that is why, after the war, he abandoned much camera movement and settled on a still camera at floor level and long takes: no flash, just people. Gosho, at least in this movie, is clearly interested in the plot, in how the characters are revealed and how they change.

Ozu, because he adhered less to plot as we understand it, seems less conventional than Gosho. We've seen youngsters fall in love in hundreds, if not thousands of works of fiction, and the only question is whether it's a happy or a tragic ending. To put it bluntly and unfairly, the story that Gosho wants to tell us is an oft-told tale, so he had better find some interesting way of telling it. Ozu's stories are more unconventional, and it is their unfamiliarity that fascinates us, their riddles that ensnare us. Yet Gosho, in telling his conventional tale in the same setting that Ozu used for his unconventional stories, tells this one just as well.

Bob
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostSun Apr 29, 2018 5:48 pm

The title today would suggest something entirely different, but Shukujo To Hige aka The Lady and the Beard (1931) is an early Ozu comedy with an entirely different point. Tokihiko Okada is graduating from college, but no employer wants to hire some one with a full, bushy beard, which he wears, he explains, like Abraham Lincoln, to keep the ladies away. However, after he rescues Hiroko Kawasaki from a street gang, she advises him in a friendly fashion, that the beard is getting in the way of his job-hunting.... so he shaves it, gets a job, and suddenly, he is the object of desire of Miss Kawasaki -- whom he likes -- but also a predatory rich girl and a gangster's moll.

It's a thoroughly Lubitschian set-up, but while Ozu in this period certainly is an international talent -- the inevitable movie poster on display is from the Laurel & Hardy version of The Devil's Brother -- the philosophical impulse is far more reminiscent of his previous year's effort, Walk Cheerfully.

The print I saw was not in good condition and the notes indicated that sections were missing. Certainly, some transitions were a bit abrupt, although that might be attributable to differences in comic timing between nations. The result is that while this is a thoroughly enjoyable piece, it's by no means anything special.

Bob
If no one listens, then it’s just as well. At least I won’t get caught in any lies I tell.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostMon Apr 30, 2018 5:50 am

boblipton wrote:I've long known that Samurai movies have a long history in Japan -- one of the Lumiere actualities from 1898 is Acteurs Japonais: Bataille au Sabre. However Orochi aka Serpent (1925) is the earliest full-fledged Samurai feature I've seen. In it, Tsumasaburô Bandô is a young samurai with ideal and a short temper, who develops a reputation as a bully and gets kicked out of his position by trying to defend the reputation of his calligraphy master's daughter -- no one will listen to his explanations. He takes to the road as a samurai and falls in with bad companions, always wondering why no one will see the good heart beneath his fearsome reputation.

This movie is offered as a tragedy of society's failure (the version I watched had a simultaneous Japanese and Russian audio track that made me think it must have done well in Soviet Russia as an indictment of Pre-Revolutionary society). I thought it was an indictment of people who failed to show a little forethought in their actions; if Our Hero (as the narrator referred to him) had shown a little discretion, he might have done a lot better for himself.

Nonetheless, one watches westerns for the riding and the gunplay, and one watches Samurai movies fo the fight scene, and there are some fine ones here, particularly the big finale. Although my cynical take on Our Hero rendered many serious sections comic, this is well worth watching as an early example of the genre.

Bob


I had the exact same impression of the "hero." He was just an idiot who never thought before acting.

Years ago on Mystery Science Theater 3000 they did a little Poverty Row morality picture called "I Accuse my Parents." While the film tried to display all of the main character's problems as stemming from his drunk parents, Joel and the Bots correctly pointed out old Jimmy was just plain stupid and a liar. I felt the same way about the main character of Orochi.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostMon Apr 30, 2018 6:21 am

I know I'm a little late to the party but I finally got around to watching my KS copy of On Dangerous Ground.

I enjoyed the picture, despite its obvious flaws. I did chuckle a bit at the whole scene with the Kaiser planning the war for his own purposes since I already know a bit of the history. Supposedly war pictures were popular at the front and troops would roar with laughter at the battle scenes and how staged and phony they looked considering how static, destructive and desolate the fronts actually were.

Films of the Great War are hard to come by these days as War 2 (as one British comedienne has taken to calling it) so eclipses it in the public eye.

Still, a nice release to have and I'm glad I chipped in for it.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostMon Apr 30, 2018 12:41 pm

Little Church Around the Corner (1923) was recently posted onto YouTube. The 66 minute film is not restored and without music, but the titles were all readable. It certainly has a story to tell, filled with tension, drama and romance.
Starring Clare Windsor, Kenneth Harlen and Hobart Bosworth (as the mine owner), the film begins when a homeless boy is adopted by the owner of the mine since his father had died working in the mines. The already religious lad grows up to become a minister and returns to the mining town just as there's been a cave-in.
As is often the case for me, DeMille's "The Affairs of Anatol" provided proper music when I watched.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostMon Apr 30, 2018 1:58 pm

Boblipton's posts led me on a side route to WHAT MADE HER DO IT?, an incomplete film from 1929/30, which despite its missing sections and variable image quality, is nevertheless absorbing viewing. Sumiko is a young girl sent by her father to the city to live with relatives owing to family poverty. On the way, she finds trouble enough, but is taken in by a rickshaw man. At one point, he behaves suspiciously, but he has only put a silver coin in her purse for luck. What she doesn't know is that her father has killed himself, and the uncle takes full advantage of her plight, putting her to work rather than sending her to school. Shortly after, an unsavoury-looking fellow turns up claiming to have known her father, but this seems like nonsense as the uncle then sells her to the horrid fellow, who runs a circus.

The circus is not the best of places to work, to put it mildly, and she escapes with a friend who is hurt in an accident, leaving Sumiko to fare alone... To tell more would not be a good idea, but WHAT MADE HER DO IT? (you will have to wait to find out the meaning of the title) is a powerful story of an innocent caught up in a harsh world of poverty, exploitation, despair and religious hypocrisy. There is an element of humour in one section where she is sent to work for a bourgeois family with one of the most spoilt daughters I have seen in a film.

WHAT MADE HER DO IT? was very highly regarded when first released, but misfortune seems to have accompanied it over the years. What we see here is only a shadow of the original film, but a shadow which is superior to many a film which has had better fortune.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostMon Apr 30, 2018 3:29 pm

earlytalkiebuffRob wrote:Boblipton's posts led me on a side route to WHAT MADE HER DO IT?, an incomplete film from 1929/30, which despite its missing sections and variable image quality, is nevertheless absorbing viewing. Sumiko is a young girl sent by her father to the city to live with relatives owing to family poverty. On the way, she finds trouble enough, but is taken in by a rickshaw man. At one point, he behaves suspiciously, but he has only put a silver coin in her purse for luck. What she doesn't know is that her father has killed himself, and the uncle takes full advantage of her plight, putting her to work rather than sending her to school. Shortly after, an unsavoury-looking fellow turns up claiming to have known her father, but this seems like nonsense as the uncle then sells her to the horrid fellow, who runs a circus.

The circus is not the best of places to work, to put it mildly, and she escapes with a friend who is hurt in an accident, leaving Sumiko to fare alone... To tell more would not be a good idea, but WHAT MADE HER DO IT? (you will have to wait to find out the meaning of the title) is a powerful story of an innocent caught up in a harsh world of poverty, exploitation, despair and religious hypocrisy. There is an element of humour in one section where she is sent to work for a bourgeois family with one of the most spoilt daughters I have seen in a film.

WHAT MADE HER DO IT? was very highly regarded when first released, but misfortune seems to have accompanied it over the years. What we see here is only a shadow of the original film, but a shadow which is superior to many a film which has had better fortune.


I saw this some time ago and had it indicated with a question mark, because it was preserved at Gosfilmfond, where films often survived in forms that had been severely edited for political commentary. The copy of the Mabel Normand feature Molly O' they held had, according to a lecture before a showing at Slapsticon in 2006, had all the jokes removed to turn it into a serious drama on the oppression of the lower classes (fortunately, the gags survived and were being reinserted). Although indication are that What Made Her Do It had not required such extreme editing, my issues with understanding early Japanese cinema made me suspicious.

Nonetheless, it appears to be an antecedent of several other films of the 1930s which show the poverty of the displaced classes, particularly several efforts by Ozu and the Gosho film I reviewed the other day. Still, I am hesitant to review works that have been seriously reworked by other hands after their release.... or even by the original hands long after their original releases. ( Raise your hand if you like the 1942 rerelease of The Gold Rush). This movie falls under that purview, which you have properly noted.

Bob
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostTue May 01, 2018 1:49 pm

boblipton wrote:
earlytalkiebuffRob wrote:Boblipton's posts led me on a side route to WHAT MADE HER DO IT?, an incomplete film from 1929/30, which despite its missing sections and variable image quality, is nevertheless absorbing viewing. Sumiko is a young girl sent by her father to the city to live with relatives owing to family poverty. On the way, she finds trouble enough, but is taken in by a rickshaw man. At one point, he behaves suspiciously, but he has only put a silver coin in her purse for luck. What she doesn't know is that her father has killed himself, and the uncle takes full advantage of her plight, putting her to work rather than sending her to school. Shortly after, an unsavoury-looking fellow turns up claiming to have known her father, but this seems like nonsense as the uncle then sells her to the horrid fellow, who runs a circus.

The circus is not the best of places to work, to put it mildly, and she escapes with a friend who is hurt in an accident, leaving Sumiko to fare alone... To tell more would not be a good idea, but WHAT MADE HER DO IT? (you will have to wait to find out the meaning of the title) is a powerful story of an innocent caught up in a harsh world of poverty, exploitation, despair and religious hypocrisy. There is an element of humour in one section where she is sent to work for a bourgeois family with one of the most spoilt daughters I have seen in a film.

WHAT MADE HER DO IT? was very highly regarded when first released, but misfortune seems to have accompanied it over the years. What we see here is only a shadow of the original film, but a shadow which is superior to many a film which has had better fortune.


I saw this some time ago and had it indicated with a question mark, because it was preserved at Gosfilmfond, where films often survived in forms that had been severely edited for political commentary. The copy of the Mabel Normand feature Molly O' they held had, according to a lecture before a showing at Slapsticon in 2006, had all the jokes removed to turn it into a serious drama on the oppression of the lower classes (fortunately, the gags survived and were being reinserted). Although indication are that What Made Her Do It had not required such extreme editing, my issues with understanding early Japanese cinema made me suspicious.

Nonetheless, it appears to be an antecedent of several other films of the 1930s which show the poverty of the displaced classes, particularly several efforts by Ozu and the Gosho film I reviewed the other day. Still, I am hesitant to review works that have been seriously reworked by other hands after their release.... or even by the original hands long after their original releases. ( Raise your hand if you like the 1942 rerelease of The Gold Rush). This movie falls under that purview, which you have properly noted.

Bob


The problem is, is this the best version we are likely to see, and any review must take this into account.

It took me some forty years to properly like THE GOLD RUSH as the first time I found Chaplin's commentary incredibly annoying and watched it with the sound off. It was only in the last few years that a decent copy came out and one could enjoy it to the full. WHAT MADE HIM DO IT?
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostTue May 01, 2018 1:56 pm

Frustrating, ain’t it?

Bob
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostTue May 01, 2018 2:04 pm

Big Silent Fan wrote:Little Church Around the Corner (1923) was recently posted onto YouTube. The 66 minute film is not restored and without music, but the titles were all readable. It certainly has a story to tell, filled with tension, drama and romance.
Starring Clare Windsor, Kenneth Harlen and Hobart Bosworth (as the mine owner), the film begins when a homeless boy is adopted by the owner of the mine since his father had died working in the mines. The already religious lad grows up to become a minister and returns to the mining town just as there's been a cave-in.
As is often the case for me, DeMille's "The Affairs of Anatol" provided proper music when I watched.


There is another upload on YT, with music, although the picture quality is just as poor.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostTue May 01, 2018 2:25 pm

earlytalkiebuffRob wrote:
Big Silent Fan wrote:Little Church Around the Corner (1923) was recently posted onto YouTube. The 66 minute film is not restored and without music, but the titles were all readable. .


There is another upload on YT, with music, although the picture quality is just as poor.


Thanks for the tip. I took a brief look at the opening moments.
Actually, the picture quality there is worse if that's possible; and the score...was much too much like a Tango for my ears, not supporting anything seen in the fuzzy opening images of the mining town. Later, when Hobart's character agrees to take the boy and educate him, the music suddenly sounds as if I'm watching a Chinese film.
It must simply be music added without any careful consideration to try and match anything.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostTue May 01, 2018 7:07 pm

Orizuru Osen aka The Downfall (1935): Isuzu Yamada was sold to a brothel as a young girl and is now working for a cruel and shady antiques dealer as a come-on in a deal. He is trying to swindle some monks, who need to rebuild their temple, out of some valuable statues. She has taken under her wing the very humble Daijirô Natsukawa, a would-be medical student. She wants him to be a great man and turns in her employers and pays for the boy's tuition.... but where is she to get money to let him complete his studies?

Kenji's Mizoguchi's film of a woman's dedication in an unthinking man's world is a slow and often harrowing movie, with many an elaborate set. It is very open in its attitudes towards its characters; Natsukawa is so humble, he is a wet rag; their employers are monsters; Nastukawa is an orphan with a blind grandmother to complete the air of pathos.

Mizoguchi uses camera movement in an interesting manner to mark the passage of the plot: the early scenes contain many pans, from one scene to the next, frequently zip cuts. As the movie progresses, however, the pans become slower, and cuts begin to dominate. It's just one of the techniques of silent movie-making that he would bring into the sound era.

Bob
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostWed May 02, 2018 8:24 pm

Show People in a beautiful 35mm print at the TCM Classic Film Festival last week, with live accompaniment by Ben Model. The film played beautifully, but unfortunately was interrupted by a fire alarm that cleared the theatre for a few minutes. Ben kept things going during the re-seating of the house playing selections from John Morris' score for Mel Brooks' Silent Movie to keep our spirits up.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostThu May 03, 2018 12:45 pm

After talking repeatedly about my favorite score to use with 'Silent' Silent Films, I decided to have a second look at DeMille's "The Affairs of Anatol." I don't think I've watched it fully since I had first recorded it to VHS many years ago.
The nearly two hour film is one of the many DeMille 'morality' stories, filled with surprises and very cleverly written titles from beginning to end. Anatol is a naïve spoilt rich man whose lofty ideals cause problems in his own marriage to his wife (played by Gloria Swanson). The final title in the story captures the message of the film.
There is so much good
in the worst of us,
And so much bad
in the best of us,
That it ill behooves
any of us,
To Talk about
the rest of us.

Watching the film, I now can appreciate how the constantly changing musical score (that's worked so well for watching other films), was carefully orchestrated for this old and often overlooked film. YouTube has an improved image version to my earlier VHS recording but for some reason, the sound level is somewhat inconsistent.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostThu May 03, 2018 5:30 pm

Gakusei Romansu: Wakaki Hi aka Days of Youth (1929): This Ozu film starts with a big, fat tracking shot, seemingly across half of Tokyo before it eventually settles on the lives of two college buddies: Ichirô Yûki Ichirô Yûki and Tatsuo Saitô. Like most college movies of the era, the academic life is something to be dreaded handworked around and after they get through finals, it's off to the ski resort, where the real plot of the story begins, the competition over pretty Junko Matsui that has been simmering since the first scene.

When looking at the early works of a great artist, you try to find the roots of his future greatness, but there's little of that here. The Ozu that is revered is still and contemplative and Japanese. This one has a moving camera and pratfalls and the American movie poster on the wall (in this one it's Seventh Heaven) and product placement for Sun Maid raisins and Libby's canned vegetables. Chishu Ryu is present in a small role as a fearsome professor, the core of Ozu's troupe, but the film is very international in its tenor, as if he is waiting for William Fox to swing through Japan in case the recently hired Leo McCarey doesn't work out. He was 26 when he made this, and still in the stage of his career when he probably didn't know what he wanted to know what he wanted to be when he grew up. A buddy comedy about two college boys? Let him at it!

It's obvious in its outline, has good acting and some nice situations. More than that no one can ask.

Bob
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostThu May 03, 2018 6:22 pm

Would definitely like to see that version of Show People.

Watched E.A. Dupont's 1923 Das alte Gesetz (aka This Ancient Law), an extremely interesting story about the son of a rabbi and his dream of stage stardom that is more an exploration of how two extremely different cultures can come together when faith collides with the secular world. Utterly fascinating albeit probably a half hour too long (you should see what I could do with Greed...) it is of that odd genre that pretty much culminates in The Jazz Singer about the Jewish experience in the modern world. That this film was made in Germany is somewhat mind-bending, particularly knowing that 10 years later there would be a much different portrayal of Jewish culture in the works. It is clear why Dupont left for greener pastures.

The print I watched was a lovely 3k scan for the Deutsche Kinemathek Berlin with modernist music by Phillipe Schoeller that mostly works, although when it doesn't it fails spectacularly. I guess when you've got Richard Strauss on screen playing a waltz you want to hear something other than squeaks and drones, otherwise it was oddly appropriate.
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boblipton

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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostThu May 03, 2018 6:33 pm

oldposterho wrote:Would definitely like to see that version of Show People.

Watched E.A. Dupont's 1923 Das alte Gesetz (aka This Ancient Law), an extremely interesting story about the son of a rabbi and his dream of stage stardom that is more an exploration of how two extremely different cultures can come together when faith collides with the secular world. Utterly fascinating albeit probably a half hour too long (you should see what I could do with Greed...) it is of that odd genre that pretty much culminates in The Jazz Singer about the Jewish experience in the modern world. That this film was made in Germany is somewhat mind-bending, particularly knowing that 10 years later there would be a much different portrayal of Jewish culture in the works. It is clear why Dupont left for greener pastures.

The print I watched was a lovely 3k scan for the Deutsche Kinemathek Berlin with modernist music by Phillipe Schoeller that mostly works, although when it doesn't it fails spectacularly. I guess when you've got Richard Strauss on screen playing a waltz you want to hear something other than squeaks and drones, otherwise it was oddly appropriate.


I have a review of this movie at the IMDb in which I praise it outrageously.... and it deserves it.

Bob
If no one listens, then it’s just as well. At least I won’t get caught in any lies I tell.
— Joe Darion
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostThu May 03, 2018 9:32 pm

Nice review! I totally agree with you on the opening of the Shakespeare book, oddly beautiful film making that I can't put my finger on why. The other scene that stuck with me was the intercutting between the [Yom Kippur?] celebration and the opening of Baruch's play. Very interesting.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostSun May 06, 2018 2:26 pm

Despite a very rough copy, SECRETS OF THE NIGHT (1924) is a particularly enjoyable comedy-mystery. The four directorss of a bank face ruin after lending $500,000 without collateral to an explorer who has gone missing. The bank examiner is due in the morning and the poor saps are in the soup unless they can think of something. James Kirkwood has a £600,000 insurance policy, which will become invalid if he kills himself so who will do the dirty deed?

The examiner is invited to a party (which seems to have sprung out of nowhere), and the household and guests include two ladies who are keen on Kirkwood, a zany companion, amusingly played by ZaSu Pitts and a black butler (Tom Wilson) given rather a lot of flapping around to do, as well as a grumpy coroner who is called in when a shot is fired and Kirkwood found on the floor. When foul play is suspected, there is much planting and replanting of the pistol in question, and the pace becomes admirably hectic and consistently amusing with suspicions and accusations flying in all directions and the unfortunate directors getting into even more of a stew than before.

Clearly based on a stage play ('The Nightcap' by Guy Bolton), Herbert Blache's film uses curtains to separate each act, a conceit which doesn't spoil the film one bit and in fact adds to it. Admittedly there are few surprises in the denouement, particularly if one has seen films such as THE BAT and SEVEN FOOTPRINTS TO SATAN. A very suitable accompaniment adds to the fun of a film which hardly stops for breath and provides a most pleasing evening's fun. A Universal production which would be well worth restoring.
Last edited by earlytalkiebuffRob on Sun May 06, 2018 2:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostSun May 06, 2018 5:47 pm

G.W. Pabst's The Love of Jeanne Ney (Die Liebe der Jeanne Ney) from 1927 is an interesting film in that it takes a meandering path through the characters as the film moves from the Bolshevik revolution to Paris. What is fascinating is how Pabst takes a benign view of the Bolsheviks (if not Bolshevism particularly) when, certainly in Hollywood at the time and more certainly in Germany a few years later, that was not usually the case. It's always a treat to see Brigitte Helm, here she's the blind daughter of Jeanne's detective uncle, Vladimir Sokoloff makes a sympathetic appearance as a kindly kommissar, but the real standout is fellow Metropolis actor, thin man Fritz Rasp. He steals the show as a creep's creep who has his fingers in any nefarious activity he can ooze his way into. .

Unfortunately the copy I saw was from an ARTE presentation which featured a live orchestra that was infuriatingly cut away to at inopportune moments of the film (I get it, I get it, they're playing the music live, now get back to the movie!). Still, it bodes well for the future BD as the film looked impeccable. It will definitely be one to add to the pile.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostMon May 07, 2018 3:23 pm

A Chinese movie from 1932, WILD ROSE features a gamine-type teenage beauty living in a poor village. A visiting artist becomes her friend and is gradually enchanted with her. In the meantime her father is offered the chance to have a large debt cleared if his creditor (a merchant with a face like a bag of crabs) can have her hand in marriage. A fight ensues, and the merchant is accidentally killed and the father's house burnt down. The merchant is misidentified as the father, who flees.

Soon after this, 'Wild Rose' is taken to the Big City, where her behaviour falls foul of the snobbish and wealthy father. The son decides to leave, living with the struggling people, and their successes and problems are followed with conviction...

Some nimble camerawork, this West-influenced film has the odd plot hole, and the ending is a little rushed. However, with the odd touch of perhaps Borzage and Capra, WILD ROSE is a sympathetic study of both rural and urban problems and becomes more absorbing as the film rolls on.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostTue May 08, 2018 9:15 am

I finally finished up the first volume of the Billy Dooley comedies. They aren't the best silent comedies out there but they are fun. I kind of wish I had found them when I was 13 as I would've enjoyed them more.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostFri May 11, 2018 2:18 pm

The Cavalier's Dream: A man in the costume of the ancien regime is dozing at a table in a bare room. A hood woman enters, gestures, and he wakes to find the table laden with food; but soon demons appear to torment him.

This forty-six-second film from Vitagraph was released in December. It is listed as Edwin S. Porter's first directorial effort. Since his first credit as a cinematographer was previous month, I think it fair to say that whoever differentiated the roles considers this one staged, while the earlier efforts were thought of as actualities -- although in truth, few films of the latter category were not carefully blocked and planned.

It is also clearly a primitive film, with simple staging, although the trick camerawork, the in-camera cuts and dissolves for transformations were clearly borrowed from other workers in the field, most probably Georges Melies, who had been doing trick films since 1896. Clearly Vitagraph had set its eye not only on competing with Edison, but with the field's leaders in France.

Bob
If no one listens, then it’s just as well. At least I won’t get caught in any lies I tell.
— Joe Darion
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostFri May 11, 2018 2:44 pm

A Trip to Berkeley, Cal. (1906): It's a three-minute film, shot from the front of a streetcar on its winding route about the prosperous small city around the University of California -- a far cry from the modern Berzerkley. Solidly middle-class people stroll the streets of the carefully landscaped community. Vehicular traffic consists of some horse-drawn wagons and one expensive-looking automobile. The only sign of civic disobedience occurs when the streetcar stops and the conductor and brakeman alight to grab a man and, grinning, hustle him to the side of the road..... don't walk on the tracks, sir, we've got a schedule to keep! Well sort of.

My, how things have changed.

Bob
If no one listens, then it’s just as well. At least I won’t get caught in any lies I tell.
— Joe Darion
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