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Silent Movies: Articles


Comedy Actress Rediscovered: 'She Could Be Chaplin!' Q&A with Film Historian Anthony Slide

Comedy actress Alice Howell on the cover of film historian Anthony Slide's latest book: Pioneering funky-haired performer 'could have been Chaplin' – or at the very least another Louise Fazenda. Rediscovering comedy actress Alice Howell: Female performer in movie field dominated by men Early comedy actress Alice Howell is an obscure entity even for silent film aficionados. With luck, only a handful of them will be able to name one of her more than 100 movies, mostly shorts – among them Sin on the Sabbath, A Busted Honeymoon, How Stars Are Made – released between 1914 and 1920. Yet Alice Howell holds (what should be) an important – or at the very least an interesting – place in film history. […]


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Comedy Actress Rediscovered: 'She Could Be Chaplin!' Q&A with Film Historian Anthony Slide



Women Suffrage Movie at SFSFF: Will Right to Vote Destroy The American Family?

Women suffrage movie 'Mothers of Men': Dorothy Davenport becomes a judge and later State Governor in socially conscious thriller about U.S. women's voting rights. Women suffrage movie 'Mothers of Men': Will women's right to vote lead to the destruction of The American Family? Directed by and featuring the now all but forgotten Willis Robards, Mothers of Men – about women suffrage and political power – was a fast-paced, 64-minute buried treasure screened at the 2016 San Francisco Silent Film Festival, held June 2–5. I thoroughly enjoyed being taken back in time by this 1917 socially conscious drama that dares to ask the question: “What will happen to the nation if all women have the right to vote?” One newspaper editor […]


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Women Suffrage Movie at SFSFF: Will Right to Vote Destroy The American Family?



'Die Nibelungen' Movies': Powerful Women in Masterful, 'Otherworldly' Germanic Tragedy

'Die Nibelungen: Siegfried': Paul Richter as the dragon-slaying hero of medieval Germanic mythology. 'Die Nibelungen': Enthralling silent classic despite complex plot and countless characters Based on the medieval epic poem Nibelungenlied, itself inspired by the early medieval Germanic saga about the Burgundian royal family, Fritz Lang's two-part Die Nibelungen is one of those movies I can enjoy many times without ever really understanding who's who and what's what. After all, the semi-historical, fantasy/adventure epic is packed with intrigue, treachery, deceit, hatred, murder, and sex. And that's just the basic plotline. As seen in Kino's definitive two-disc edition, artistically and cinematically speaking Die Nibelungen contains some of the greatest visual compositions I've ever seen. Filmed mostly in long shots that frame […]


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'Die Nibelungen' Movies': Powerful Women in Masterful, 'Otherworldly' Germanic Tragedy



Ernst Lubitsch Movies: Lost 'Touch' in Our Age of Sledgehammer Filmmaking

Ernst Lubitsch movies: Subtle, sophisticated 'Touch' all but gone from contemporary filmmaking. Ernst Lubitsch movies: The forgotten, passé 'Touch' Ernst Lubitsch and William Cameron Menzies were Turner Classic Movies' “stars” on Jan. 28, '16. (This is a fully revised and expanded version of a post published that day.) Lubitsch had the morning/afternoon, with seven films; Menzies had the evening/night, also with seven features. As a sign of the times, Ernst Lubitsch is hardly ever mentioned whenever “connoisseurs” (between quotes) discuss Hollywood movies of the studio era. But why? Well, probably because The Lubitsch Touch is considered passé at a time when the sledgehammer approach to filmmaking is deemed “fresh,” “innovative,” “cool,” and “daring” – as if a crass lack of […]


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Ernst Lubitsch Movies: Lost 'Touch' in Our Age of Sledgehammer Filmmaking





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