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Silent Movies: Articles


'Greed' Review: Erich von Stroheim Silent Masterpiece

Gibson Gowland, Jean Hersholt in Erich von Stroheim's Greed Erich von Stroheim's masterpiece and one of the best silent films ever made, Greed remains a powerful indictment against the deadly sin of the title. Based on Frank Norris' novel McTeague, Greed revolves around the misdeeds of a California dentist (Gibson […]


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'Greed' Review: Erich von Stroheim Silent Masterpiece



'A Woman of Paris' Movie: Charles Chaplin Goes Dramatic

Edna Purviance (left), A Woman of Paris I must admit that I'm not a fan of Charles Chaplin's comedies. Heresies aside, I did very much enjoy Chaplin's dramatic A Woman of Paris, an attempt to turn his frequent leading lady Edna Purviance into a star. Despite rumors to the contrary, […]


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'A Woman of Paris' Movie: Charles Chaplin Goes Dramatic



Ramon Novarro in 'Scaramouche': Silent Movie Classic

Alice Terry, Ramon Novarro in Rex Ingram's Scaramouche Ramon Novarro is back for the fourth and last installment of Turner Classic Movies' Sunday evening celebration of the 100 years of the Mexican Revolution. Tonight, Novarro's vehicle is Scaramouche (1923), one of his most prestigious critical and box office hits, and […]


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Ramon Novarro in 'Scaramouche': Silent Movie Classic



Douglas Fairbanks 'The Mollycoddle': Early Victor Fleming ('Gone with the Wind') Film

Douglas Fairbanks is 'The Mollycoddle' for pre-'Gone with the Wind's Victor Fleming Douglas Fairbanks has the title role in the 1920 movie The Mollycoddle. Now, what is (or was) a “mollycoddle”? As we learn in this Victor Fleming-directed comedy, a “mollycoddle” – at least in this particular case – is […]


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Douglas Fairbanks 'The Mollycoddle': Early Victor Fleming ('Gone with the Wind') Film



Ramon Novarro 'The Red Lily' & Pedro Infante 'Las Mujeres de Mi General': TCM

Ramon Novarro, Enid Bennett, The Red Lily Early Mexican-born screen heartthrob Ramon Novarro is back on Turner Classic Movies this evening with a presentation of Fred Niblo's silent melodrama The Red Lily (1924). That will be followed by another Ismael Rodríguez effort, Las mujeres de mi general (“The Women of […]


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Ramon Novarro 'The Red Lily' & Pedro Infante 'Las Mujeres de Mi General': TCM



Ramon Novarro 'The Student Prince' & Pedro Infante 'Mexicanos al Grito de Guerra': TCM Mexican Stars

Norma Shearer, Ramon Novarro, Jean Hersholt in Ernst Lubitsch's The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg Turner Classic Movies' Hispanic Heritage Month celebration continues with the showing of one silent film starring Mexican heartthrob Ramon Novarro, The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg (1927), and the Mexican period drama Mexicanos al grito […]


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Ramon Novarro 'The Student Prince' & Pedro Infante 'Mexicanos al Grito de Guerra': TCM Mexican Stars



John Gilbert Movies: 'The Big Parade,' 'Flesh and the Devil'

John Gilbert, Greta Garbo in Rouben Mamoulian's Queen Christina Just a few days ago I was wondering if Turner Classic Movies would devote a day to the likes of John Gilbert, one of the biggest movie stars of the silent era – or any era, really. Though mostly forgotten today, […]


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John Gilbert Movies: 'The Big Parade,' 'Flesh and the Devil'



Early Alfred Hitchcock Movies Need Restoration, Louise Brooks & Richard Arlen in 'Beggars of Life'

Two early Alfred Hitchcock British efforts: Ivor Novello in The Lodger (top); Anny Ondra in Blackmail (bottom) “Rescue the Hitchcock 9” is the name of a campaign by the British Film Institute to save nine Alfred Hitchcock silent films, among them Blackmail (1929), shot as both a silent and a […]


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Early Alfred Hitchcock Movies Need Restoration, Louise Brooks & Richard Arlen in 'Beggars of Life'



'Metropolis,' Norma Talmadge and Louise Brooks: San Francisco Silent Film Festival

Louise Brooks (center) in Diary of a Lost Girl (top); Fritz Lang's sci-fi classic Metropolis (upper middle); George O'Brien (center) in John Ford's The Iron Horse (lower middle); Norma Talmadge in Sam Taylor and Henry King's The Woman Disputed (bottom) The San Francisco Silent Film Festival kicks off on July […]


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'Metropolis,' Norma Talmadge and Louise Brooks: San Francisco Silent Film Festival



Ann Blyth & Lizabeth Scott Today + Doris Day Honors James Cagney

Ann Blyth. Ann Blyth, who received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for the film noir Mildred Pierce (1945), is pictured above during a discussion following a screening of the Joan Crawford classic at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills on Monday, June 14, 2010. Mildred Pierce was shown […]


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Ann Blyth & Lizabeth Scott Today + Doris Day Honors James Cagney



Eugène Lourié Homage: Jean Renoir 'The River,' Sci-Fier 'Crack in the World'

Adrienne Corri (Mrs. Alexander in A Clockwork Orange) in Jean Renoir's The River The Art Directors Guild (ADG) Film Society and the American Cinematheque (AC) will honor Production Designer Eugène Lourié with a double feature: Andrew Marton's Crack in the World (1965), starring Dana Andrews and Janette Scott, and Jean […]


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Eugène Lourié Homage: Jean Renoir 'The River,' Sci-Fier 'Crack in the World'



Cecil B. DeMille Risqué 'Chicago' DVD: Phyllis Haver a Fantastic Roxie Hart

Chicago, the restored 1927 silent (unofficially) directed by Cecil B. DeMille and starring perky Phyllis Haver (right, with Victor Varconi) as Roxie Hart, is being released on DVD by Flicker Alley, in collaboration with The Blackhawk Films Collection. The 2002 Chicago remake, based on Bob Fosse's musical which itself was […]


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Cecil B. DeMille Risqué 'Chicago' DVD: Phyllis Haver a Fantastic Roxie Hart



'When Lincoln Paid': Previously Lost 1913 Movie About Abraham Lincoln to Be Screened

What is apparently the only surviving print of the 1913 silent short When Lincoln Paid was accidentally found by a contractor inside an old New Hampshire barn about to be demolished in 2008. The nitrate reels were then given to Keene State College Film Archives, which determined that the film […]


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'When Lincoln Paid': Previously Lost 1913 Movie About Abraham Lincoln to Be Screened



'The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg': Ramon Novarro-Norma Shearer Movie Classic

Ramon Novarro, Norma Shearer The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg The theme of a prince who gives up the girl he loves in order to fulfill his royal duty has been tried many times, but Ernst Lubitsch's The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg is the best. The plot is simple […]


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'The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg': Ramon Novarro-Norma Shearer Movie Classic



Ramon Novarro Biography 'Beyond Paradise' in Paperback

Jeanette MacDonald, Ramon Novarro, The Cat and the Fiddle Beyond Paradise: The Life of Ramon Novarro is a film star biography I wrote several years ago. The book tells the story of the first Latin American performer to become a major Hollywood star, Ramon Novarro. Beyond Paradise: The Life of […]


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Ramon Novarro Biography 'Beyond Paradise' in Paperback



Silent Era Superstars Norma Talmadge & Constance Talmadge DVDs

Silent era superstars Norma Talmadge, Constance Talmadge at Norma's Santa Monica beach house Norma Talmadge and Constance Talmadge are the stars of two recent Kino International releases. Talmadges who? Well, just two of the most popular stars of the silent era. In fact, in terms of popularity they were two […]


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Silent Era Superstars Norma Talmadge & Constance Talmadge DVDs



Silent Film Actress Dorothy Janis' Recent Photo

Dorothy Janis Dorothy Janis, a.k.a. Dorothy King, was one of the last living adult performers to have had at least one major role in silent feature films. Janis died on March 10, 2010, at the age of 98. I posted an obit on that date, explaining that Janis, the widow […]


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Silent Film Actress Dorothy Janis' Recent Photo



Actress Dorothy Janis Dies: One of the Last Silent Screen Performers

Ramon Novarro, Dorothy Janis, The Pagan Dorothy Janis, who made a few film appearances at the dawn of the sound era and was the widow of bandleader Wayne King, died Wednesday morning, March 10, 2010, in the Phoenix suburb of Paradise Valley, according to musician Lew Williams, who received the […]


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Actress Dorothy Janis Dies: One of the Last Silent Screen Performers



'Berlin: Symphony of a Great City,' North Korean Concentration Camps

The Los Angeles Filmforum will be hosting the Munich Film Museum's Stefan Droessler on Friday March 12, 8:00 pm at the The Echo Park Film Center. As per the Filmforum press release, the Museum “has an ongoing program of restoration of film works and issuing exemplary DVD editions through the […]


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'Berlin: Symphony of a Great City,' North Korean Concentration Camps



Buster Keaton, Norma Talmadge, Constance Talmadge: Kansas Silent Film Festival

Buster Keaton's Our Hospitality will be introduced by Keaton's granddaughter Melissa Talmadge Cox at the opening of the 14th annual Kansas Silent Film Festival at 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 26, in White Concert Hall, Washburn University.  The Festival continues Saturday, Feb. 27. Admission is free both days.   According to […]


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Buster Keaton, Norma Talmadge, Constance Talmadge: Kansas Silent Film Festival



Marion Davies & Ronald Colman + Fritz Lang 'Metropolis' Screening

The four-film series "Sound and Silents” – part of the wider “Birds Eye View Film Festival” celebrating women filmmakers – to be held at London's bfi Southbank and the Barbican from March 6-10. The four screening silent films are: King Vidor's The Patsy (1928), starring Marion Davies; Sidney Franklin's Her […]


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Marion Davies & Ronald Colman + Fritz Lang 'Metropolis' Screening



Oscar Voting 'Secrets' Explain Kate Winslet Best Actress Win? + Immigration Drama Tops Marrakech

Kate Winslet in The Reader: Oscar voting explains surprising Best Actress nomination? A potential double nominee for the 2009 Academy Awards, Kate Winslet ended up getting shortlisted for only one movie: Stephen Daldry's Holocaust-themed drama The Reader. Perhaps even more surprising was the fact that Winslet was nominated in the […]


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Oscar Voting 'Secrets' Explain Kate Winslet Best Actress Win? + Immigration Drama Tops Marrakech



Movie Star Stamps: Katharine Hepburn & Black Cinema Pioneer Oscar Micheaux + 4 Movie Cowboys

Movie star stamps: U.S. Postal Service's “Legends of Hollywood” series features Katharine Hepburn, who, besides winning four Best Actress Academy Awards, played opposite Spencer Tracy in nine films from 1942 (Woman of the Year, Keeper of the Flame) to 1967 (Guess Who's Coming to Dinner), and starred for George Cukor […]


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Movie Star Stamps: Katharine Hepburn & Black Cinema Pioneer Oscar Micheaux + 4 Movie Cowboys



'J'accuse!': Abel Gance Anti-War Classic + Lon Chaney & Bimbo the Gibbon: San Francisco Silent Film Festival

J'accuse! with Séverin-Mars. Released the year after the end of World War I, Abel Gance's 1919 anti-war French drama was a major hit in France and the U.K. Nearly two decades later, the filmmaker would rework the story; as it turned out, the second J'accuse! was released the year before […]


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'J'accuse!': Abel Gance Anti-War Classic + Lon Chaney & Bimbo the Gibbon: San Francisco Silent Film Festival



Charles Chaplin 'Zepped' Found

In the Chicago Tribune, Michael Phillips reports that a long-thought lost Charles Chaplin film has been accidentally found after a film collector made an eBay bid on a nitrate film canister. Phillips explains that “the footage turned out to be the obscure Chaplin short [Zepped], a World War I propaganda […]


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Charles Chaplin 'Zepped' Found



D.W. Griffith in California

Los Angeles Filmforum will present “D.W. Griffith in California,” on Sunday, Nov. 15, at 7:30 pm. at the Echo Park Film Center. At the screening, film scholar Tom Gunning will discuss D.W. Griffith and his early Californian films. Six of those Griffith productions will be screened: Man's Genesis (1912, 17 […]


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D.W. Griffith in California



'The Marines Are Coming': Gay Actor's Swan Song + Edgar Allan Poe Biopic

'The Marines Are Coming': Gay star's final movie The Marines Are Coming was a last-minute substitution for the 1936 version of M'Liss, starring Anne Shirley, which was originally scheduled but didn't arrive in time for Cinesation 2009. Gay actor William Haines' last film, The Marines Are Coming follows Haines' usual […]


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'The Marines Are Coming': Gay Actor's Swan Song + Edgar Allan Poe Biopic



'The Phantom of the Opera' & 'The White Ribbon': Halloween & History Horror

'The Phantom of the Opera' with Lon Chaney: Halloween Special. Lon Chaney 'The Phantom of the Opera' Halloween screening The 1925 silent classic The Phantom of the Opera, starring Lon Chaney in the title role, will be screened on Sunday, Oct. 25, '09, at 2:30 p.m. at the San Gabriel […]


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'The Phantom of the Opera' & 'The White Ribbon': Halloween & History Horror



AFI FEST Michael Haneke-Jacques Audiard Swap & Pordenone Presents 'The Merry Widow'

AFI FEST 2009 presented by Audi has announced that Michael Haneke's Palme d'Or winner and Oscar contender The White Ribbon will replace Jacques Audiard's Cannes Grand Prix winner A Prophet in the festival's line-up. Reason for the AFI FEST swap: “a recent change in the release date for A Prophet.” […]


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AFI FEST Michael Haneke-Jacques Audiard Swap & Pordenone Presents 'The Merry Widow'



Karl Dane Biographer Interview

Allan Ellenberger interviews biographer Laura Petersen Balogh, whose book on silent film comedian Karl Dane has just been published by McFarland. Here's a brief snippet: Why Karl Dane? What is it about him and his story that moved you to write a biography? I had always known who Karl Dane […]


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Karl Dane Biographer Interview



LLoyd Hamilton: Poor Boy Comedian of Silent Cinema

In the San Francisco Examiner, Thomas Gladysz talks about the recently released biography of silent film comedian Lloyd Hamilton: “Chances are, if you're a fan of early film or early comedic actors, you're only dimly aware of Lloyd Hamilton. Though he was never as popular as his silent film contemporaries […]


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LLoyd Hamilton: Poor Boy Comedian of Silent Cinema



Mary Pickford & Ronald Colman: Cinesation Movies

Cinesation 2009 is currently taking place at the Lincoln Theater in Massilion, Ohio. The four-day festival, which ends on Sunday, will screen a number of hard-to-find titles, including: James Cruze's 1925 political-historical Western The Pony Express, starring Betty Compson, Ricardo Cortez, Wallace Beery, and George Bancroft in a tale of powerlust […]


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Mary Pickford & Ronald Colman: Cinesation Movies



'Noah's Ark': Michael Curtiz Religion + Disaster Movie Mix

Noah's Ark (1928) Dir.: Michael Curtiz Scr.: Anthony Coldeway; from Darryl F. Zanuck's original story Cast: George O'Brien, Dolores Costello, Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams, Noah Beery, Louise Fazenda, Malcolm Waite, Paul McAllister     Of all the films from that magical moment when silent movies merged into sound, nothing is […]


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'Noah's Ark': Michael Curtiz Religion + Disaster Movie Mix



'The Cranes Are Flying' & 'Wild Oranges' on TCM

A couple of recommendations for Turner Classic Movies viewers on the evening of Sunday, Sept. 20. Wild Oranges (1924) is an early King Vidor effort featuring Virginia Valli, a popular leading lady of the 1920s. In this drama set on an island off the Florida coast, Valli plays a young […]


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'The Cranes Are Flying' & 'Wild Oranges' on TCM



Chester Morris, Sylvia Sidney & Maurice Chevalier Among Cinecon Stars

James Mason, Deborah Kerr in Hatter's Castle (top); Frances Dee, Maurice Chevalier, Stuart Erwin, Eugene Pallette in Playboy of Paris (bottom) Cinecon 45 is currently taking place at the Egyptian Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard. The (old & mostly rare) film marathon ends late Monday afternoon. Thus far, the 2009 edition […]


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Chester Morris, Sylvia Sidney & Maurice Chevalier Among Cinecon Stars



Harold Lloyd Movies

Silent-comedy fans will be rejoicing today, Aug. 5, '09, as Turner Classic Movies' “Summer Under the Stars” series continues with a day dedicated to Harold Lloyd, one of the biggest box office draws of the 1920s. Personally, I'm not a fan of knockabout silent comedies, which usually leave me as […]


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Harold Lloyd Movies



Movies! Moguls! Monkeys! and Murder!: Centennial of Los Angeles' First Film Studio

"Movies! Moguls! Monkeys! and Murder!” is the title of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' celebration of the centennial of the first permanent film studio in the Los Angeles area. The event, which will showcase films shot in Los Angeles between 1909 and 1914, will take place on […]


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Movies! Moguls! Monkeys! and Murder!: Centennial of Los Angeles' First Film Studio



Thomas Meighan & 'The Lost Squadron': Niles Essanay Museum Movies

Via Thomas Gladysz's article in the Los Angeles Examiner: The Edison Theatre at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum in the Northern California town of Fremont has been screening silent films and early talkies for quite some time. As Gladysz explains in his article, that area was home to the […]


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Thomas Meighan & 'The Lost Squadron': Niles Essanay Museum Movies



D. W. Griffith, Emile Cohl - A Century Ago: The Films of 1908

“A Century Ago: The Films of 1908,” showcasing filmmaking highlights of 1908, will be the next presentation of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' series “Monday Nights with Oscar.” The screenings will be held on Monday, April 20, at 7:30 p.m. at the Academy Theater in New York […]


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D. W. Griffith, Emile Cohl - A Century Ago: The Films of 1908



Under Full Sail - Silent Cinema on the High Seas

Flicker Alley in association with the Blackhawk Film Collection has announced the release of “Under Full Sail – Silent Cinema on the High Seas,” a new DVD release featuring, as per its press release, “five breathtaking films that preserve the romance, grandeur and allure of windjammers sailing open waters, exquisitely […]


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Under Full Sail - Silent Cinema on the High Seas



Joan Bennett & Michael Redgrave: UCLA Festival of Preservation

Tonight at 7:30 pm at UCLA's Festival of Preservation you'll be able to catch a screening of Fritz Lang's unfairly neglected Secret Beyond the Door (above), a 1947 noirish psychological melodrama starring Joan Bennett as woman married to Michael Redgrave, whom she suspects is out to kill her (possibly for […]


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Joan Bennett & Michael Redgrave: UCLA Festival of Preservation



'Lady Windermere's Fan': Ernst Lubitsch Classic Classy Comedy

Bert Lytell is the nice husband, May McAvoy the jealous wife, Ronald Colman the other man, and Irene Rich (above) the scene stealer in Ernst Lubitsch's delightful film version of Oscar Wilde's play Lady Windermere's Fan. In the film, Rich plays Mrs. Erlynne, a woman of the world in search […]


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'Lady Windermere's Fan': Ernst Lubitsch Classic Classy Comedy



'Sold for Marriage': Lillian Gish in Socially Conscious Silent

Sold for Marriage (1916) Dir.: Christy Cabanne Scr.: William E. Wing Cast: Lillian Gish, Frank Bennett, Walter Long, Allan Sears, Pearl Elmore, Curt Rehfeld   Though all but completely forgotten today, Christy Cabanne (at times billed as William Christy Cabanne) was a respected name in the 1910s and 1920s. Among […]


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'Sold for Marriage': Lillian Gish in Socially Conscious Silent



'The Italian': Early 'American Nightmare' Drama

The Italian: George Beban plays an Italian immigrant whose American dream quickly derails into a nightmare of poverty and despair   George Beban (right) was a renowned stage and vaudeville star. Even though he never became a major film name, Beban appeared in nearly 20 films from the mid-1910s to […]


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'The Italian': Early 'American Nightmare' Drama



'Tess of the Storm Country': Mary Pickford Perky Early Role

Tess of the Storm Country (1914) Dir.: Edwin S. Porter Scr.: B. P. Schulberg; from Grace Miller White's novel Cast: Mary Pickford, Harold Lockwood, Olive Carey (as Olive Golden), David Hartford, Louise Dunlap     Directed by Edwin S. Porter (of The Great Train Robbery fame), the 1914 version of […]


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'Tess of the Storm Country': Mary Pickford Perky Early Role



Douglas Fairbanks' 'The Thief of Bagdad' & 'The Iron Mask' Screening

Rare screenings of the Douglas Fairbanks adventure classics The Thief of Bagdad (1924) and The Iron Mask (1929) will be presented on Friday, March 20, and Monday, March 23, respectively, at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. Both screenings will start at […]


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Douglas Fairbanks' 'The Thief of Bagdad' & 'The Iron Mask' Screening



Marie Glory: French Silent Film Actress Dead at 103

Actress Marie Glory (a.k.a. Arlette Genny in the mid-1920s) died at her house in Cannes this past January 24. She was 103. Though forgotten today, Glory did have an extensive film career – more than 50 motion pictures during the course of nearly four decades, from 1924 to 1960. Among […]


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Marie Glory: French Silent Film Actress Dead at 103



Topeka Movies: Rudolph Valentino & John Gilbert at Kansas Silent Film Festival

The 13th annual Kansas Silent Film Festival (KSFF) will be held on Feb. 27 and 28, 2009, at the White Concert Hall on the Washburn University campus in Topeka, Kansas. Sponsored by Washburn, admission is free. This year's KSFF highlight is the American premiere of the restored 1926 swashbuckler Bardelys […]


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Topeka Movies: Rudolph Valentino & John Gilbert at Kansas Silent Film Festival



Douglas Fairbanks: The First King of Hollywood

Douglas Fairbanks in Wild and Woolly (top) and Don Q. Son of Zorro (bottom). Below right, Fairbanks can be seen in The Matrimaniac. The exhibition “Douglas Fairbanks: The First King of Hollywood” will premiere on Saturday, January 24, at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Fourth Floor Gallery […]


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Douglas Fairbanks: The First King of Hollywood



Buster Keaton & 'Sunrise': San Francisco Silent Film Festival + Lost Pola Negri Film Found

Martha Mattox, Laura La Plante in The Cat and the Canary (top); Buster Keaton in Our Hospitality (bottom) The San Francisco Silent Film Festival will present a special series of screenings on Valentine's Day, Saturday, Feb. 14, at the Castro Theatre. The screening films are the Buster Keaton vehicle Our […]


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Buster Keaton & 'Sunrise': San Francisco Silent Film Festival + Lost Pola Negri Film Found



Library of Congress' National Film Registry Movies: From Fannie Ward to 'Forrest Gump'

The Cheat with Sessue Hayakawa and Fannie Ward. Cecil B. DeMille's 1915 sex & miscegenation melodrama about a white woman (Fannie Ward) who becomes enslaved to a cruel, sensual, mysterious, and impeccably dressed “Oriental” (Sessue Hayakawa), The Cheat was added to the Library of Congress' National Film Registry in 1993. […]


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Library of Congress' National Film Registry Movies: From Fannie Ward to 'Forrest Gump'



National Film Registry: Lesbian Western & Asian-American Musical Among Entries

Johnny Guitar with Joan Crawford. One of the December 2008 additions to the U.S. Library of Congress' National Film Registry is Nicholas Ray's Johnny Guitar. The 1954 psychological Western stars Joan Crawford, by then a three-decade film veteran, as Arizona cattle town saloon keeper Vienna; Sterling Hayden as the strong […]


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National Film Registry: Lesbian Western & Asian-American Musical Among Entries



Griffith Movies: Mandatory Viewing + Excellent Carol Dempster & the American Kay Hammond

Griffith movies: Sally of the Sawdust with Carol Dempster and W.C. Fields. Once D.W. Griffith and Lillian Gish parted ways after Orphans of the Storm (1921), Carol Dempster became the filmmaker's on-screen muse (e.g., Dream Street, America) – and off-screen companion. Dempster, however, was never either as popular or as […]


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Griffith Movies: Mandatory Viewing + Excellent Carol Dempster & the American Kay Hammond



Griffith Cinema: Abraham Lincoln Biopic & 'Way Down East' Among Five Box Set Features

Way Down East with Richard Barthelmess and Lillian Gish: Griffith Cinema. One of the movies included in Kino's second D.W. Griffith cinema box set, Way Down East was one of the Broken Blossoms and The Birth of a Nation filmmaker's last major hits, as his career went fast downhill in […]


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Griffith Cinema: Abraham Lincoln Biopic & 'Way Down East' Among Five Box Set Features



'The Thief of Bagdad' 1924: Douglas Fairbanks' Restored Fantasy Classic Returns

The Thief of Bagdad 1924 with Douglas Fairbanks. At least nominally directed by Raoul Walsh, the Douglas Fairbanks production and United Artists release The Thief of Bagdad was in preparation/production for 65 weeks, ultimately costing $1.13 million (approx. $16 million today) – an impressive sum back in the silent era. […]


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'The Thief of Bagdad' 1924: Douglas Fairbanks' Restored Fantasy Classic Returns



Buster Keaton 'The General' DVD

Considered by many Buster Keaton's masterpiece and one of the greatest movies ever made, the 1927 silent comedy The General – co-directed by Keaton and Clyde Bruckman – has received a classy DVD treatment courtesy of Kino International: “The General - Ultimate 2 Disc Edition.” Whether or not you're a […]


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Buster Keaton 'The General' DVD



A Century Ago: The Films of 1908

"A Century Ago: The Films of 1908” will be presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Monday, December 1, at 7:30 p.m. at the Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood. The program will be repeated on Thursday, December 4, at 7 p.m. at the Christopher B. Smith […]


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A Century Ago: The Films of 1908



'The Phantom of the Opera' 1925: Oakland's Paramount Theatre

The 1925 classic The Phantom of the Opera, starring Lon Chaney, Norman Kerry, and Mary Philbin, will be screened at the art deco Paramount Theatre of Oakland, Calif., at 8 p.m. on October 31. Matias Bombal will present the evening, while Jim Riggs will be at the Mighty Wurlitzer accompanying […]


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'The Phantom of the Opera' 1925: Oakland's Paramount Theatre



Douglas Fairbanks 'The Gaucho' Academy Screening

"Douglas Fairbanks as The Gaucho” is the title of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciencess' celebration of Hollywood's biggest (perhaps “first” as well) action-adventure star of the silent era – or, quite likely, of any era. Douglas Fairbanks, the swashbuckling, energetic, ever-grinning hero of The Mark of Zorro, […]


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Douglas Fairbanks 'The Gaucho' Academy Screening



Douglas Fairbanks: A Modern Musketeer DVD Set

Flicker Alley, described as “a specialty supplier of fine silent films and classic cinema programming,” in association with the Blackhawk Film Collection, has announced the December 2, 2008, release of “Douglas Fairbanks: A Modern Musketeer,” a five-disc DVD collection featuring eleven early Douglas Fairbanks' vehicles. Fairbanks, one of the founders […]


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Douglas Fairbanks: A Modern Musketeer DVD Set



Cinecon Capsule Reviews: Gender Contraints, Charles Chaplin

There was a lot of complaining about the line-up at Cinecon 2008, held on Labor Day Weekend, which was affected by the Univeral fire and other matters, including the deaths of Rusty Casselton and Bob Nudelman. Still, the films were some of the best I have seen in the Egyptian […]


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Cinecon Capsule Reviews: Gender Contraints, Charles Chaplin



Silent Film Actress Anita Page Turns 98: Starred in First Talking Best Picture Academy Award Winner

Silent film actress Anita Page turns 98: Featured in first all-talking Best Picture Academy Award winner Author Allan Ellenberger, currently working on a biography of Miriam Hopkins (Best Actress Academy Award nominee for Becky Sharp), pays tribute to Anita Page, The Last Surviving Silent Film Star. Page, among whose leading […]


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Silent Film Actress Anita Page Turns 98: Starred in First Talking Best Picture Academy Award Winner



San Francisco Silent Film Festival: From Conrad Veidt to Joan Crawford

The Man Who Laughs with Conrad Veidt and Olga Baclanova. The 13th San Francisco Silent Film Festival (SFSFF), to be held at the Castro Theater throughout the July 11-13 weekend, will feature several international classics including a few rarities. Of the films I've seen, I'd highly recommend Tod Browning's perverse […]


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San Francisco Silent Film Festival: From Conrad Veidt to Joan Crawford



Gladys Brockwell: Tragic Death

Gladys Brockwell remembered Gladys Brockwell is the subject of an article by author Allan R. Ellenberger, who discusses the death of the remarkable silent film actress. (Image: Gladys Brockwell ca. 1920.) “Today is the 79th anniversary of the tragic death of actress Gladys Brockwell. Though virtually unknown today, Brockwell was […]


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Gladys Brockwell: Tragic Death



Charles Chaplin 'Modern Times': Techno Chaplin Evening

The screening of a digitally restored 35mm print of Charles Chaplin's Modern Times (1936) and a look at rare behind-the-scenes photographs revealing the techniques used in creating the film's special effects will be the focus of “Techno Chaplin,” an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' program hosted by visual […]


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Charles Chaplin 'Modern Times': Techno Chaplin Evening



Split Personality Disorder Movie: 'The Most Shocking Film' Gets Rare Screening

Gladys Walton in The Untameable. Split personality disorder movie: 'The Most Shocking Film of 1923!' The rare silent film The Untameable, a melodrama billed as “The Most Shocking Film of 1923!” will be screened at 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 5, 2008, at the Echo Park Film Center in Los […]


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Split Personality Disorder Movie: 'The Most Shocking Film' Gets Rare Screening



'Ben-Hur' Chariot Race

The 1959 MGM version of Ben-Hur is best remembered for its chariot race, which happens to be an imitation of the superior 1925 race for that studio's mammoth – and highly problematic – production of Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ. Ramon Novarro, soon to become a superstar, and Francis […]


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'Ben-Hur' Chariot Race



Sessue Hayakawa on Turner Classic Movies

Tuesday, June 3, highlights on Turner Classic Movies: TCM continues with the not-to-be-missed “Asian Images in Film” series, with several silents and a couple of early talkies featuring East Asian characters. The Cheat is an overwrought melodrama that is a must-see simply because it stars Sessue Hayakawa (right), the first […]


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Sessue Hayakawa on Turner Classic Movies



'Mr. Wu' Movie Review: Morbid Lon Chaney, Renée Adorée Classic

"A maiden defiled must be put to death by the hand of her father,” so reads the “ancient Chinese law” that is the basis for Mr. Wu, a stylish tale about miscegenation, fornication, and filicide. In the title role, Lon Chaney, with his usual genius for make-up and characterization, uses […]


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'Mr. Wu' Movie Review: Morbid Lon Chaney, Renée Adorée Classic



'Shadows': Lon Chaney Cult Classic

Shadows (1922) Dir.: Tom Forman. Scr.: Hope Loring, Harry Perry, and Eve Unsell; from Wilbur Daniel Steele's story “Ching, Ching, Chinaman.” Cast: Lon Chaney, Marguerite De La Motte, Harrison Ford, John St. Polis, Walter Long, Buddy Messinger, Priscilla Bonner, Frances Raymond   In the 1922 melodrama Shadows, the shipwrecked Chinese […]


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'Shadows': Lon Chaney Cult Classic



'The Kid': Charles Chaplin Comedy Introduced Child Star Jackie Coogan

Although I have never been much of a Charles Chaplin fan, The Kid is one sweet picture. In fact, it is the only Chaplin vehicle I would want to see over again. The story, also penned by Chaplin, is simple: a poor, unwed mother (frequent Chaplin leading lady Edna Purviance) […]


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'The Kid': Charles Chaplin Comedy Introduced Child Star Jackie Coogan



'Ben-Hur' Movie Review: Ramon Novarro

  Although I am not a fan of action-adventure pictures, the 1925 version of Ben-Hur (a.k.a. Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ) is an exception because it stars Ramon Novarro in the title role. As a plus, Horace Jackson's art direction and Edwin B. Willis' sets are superb. In the […]


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'Ben-Hur' Movie Review: Ramon Novarro



'The Penalty' 1920: Lon Chaney 'Flawless'

The Penalty 1920: Lon Chaney 'more than just an actor' (image: Lon Chaney and Claire Adams in The Penalty) Lon Chaney was more than just an actor. He was a magician. Like a chameleon, he could morph into a character. Directed by the all-but-forgotten Wallace Worsley, the gruesome shocker The […]


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'The Penalty' 1920: Lon Chaney 'Flawless'



'Nosferatu' 1922 'Batman' Max Schreck Biography

Max Schreck: Nosferatu 1922 'batman' biography to come out in Germany The first biography of Max Schreck, best known as the “batman” a.k.a. vampire in F.W. Murnau's 1922 Dracula rip-off Nosferatu / Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens, will be published later in 2008 in Germany according to Reuters' Dave Graham. […]


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'Nosferatu' 1922 'Batman' Max Schreck Biography



'Sparrows': Mary Pickford in Surprisingly Effective Melodrama

Molly is the role Mary Pickford was born to play. In Sparrows, Molly is the oldest among the ten orphans being kept as slaves on a potato farm. And as most Pickford characters, Molly is a sweet-but-spunky victim who fights back. Directed by the prolific William Beaudine, and adapted by […]


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'Sparrows': Mary Pickford in Surprisingly Effective Melodrama



Lyda Borelli Screening at BAM

The 1913 melodrama Ma l'amor mio non muore / Love Everlasting, starring super-diva Lyda Borelli, will be screened on Tuesday, May 13 at 7pm at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM). Why a silent movie screening at an academy of music, of all places? Well, perhaps because Lyda Borelli (1884–1959) […]


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Lyda Borelli Screening at BAM



'The Passion of Joan of Arc': Carl Theodor Dreyer Masterwork

The Passion of Joan of Arc / La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc (1928) Dir.: Carl Theodor Dreyer. Scr.: Carl Theodor Dreyer and Joseph Delteil. Cast: Maria Falconetti, Eugene Silvain, André Berley, Maurice Schutz, Antonin Artaud, Michel Simon, Jean d'Yd     Carl Theodor Dreyer's late silent film La Passion de […]


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'The Passion of Joan of Arc': Carl Theodor Dreyer Masterwork



Norma Talmadge Film Series at the Donnell Media Center

“Important international stars from the silent era of filmmaking are undeservedly forgotten today because of the unavailability of their motion pictures, which are often considered lost.” Thus begins the press release for the seventh “Meet the Makers: Silent Film Accompanists” series, which will attempt to rectify that problem by screening […]


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Norma Talmadge Film Series at the Donnell Media Center



Abel Gance 'La Roue' DVD

“There is cinema before and after La Roue as there is painting before and after Picasso.” That's none other than Jean Cocteau, referring to the mammoth 1923 drama (original running time: nearly 8 hours) directed and written by Abel Gance – he of Napoleon. Gance worked for three years on […]


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Abel Gance 'La Roue' DVD



'A Fool There Was' Movie Review: Theda Bara Early Sex Siren

A Fool There Was. This creaky old relic introduced the earliest screen image of a Vamp – that dangerous viper-of-a-femme fatale who could lead any respectable man astray just by dropping her handkerchief and revealing a glimpse of her ankle. In the first few scenes, Theda Bara has already lured […]


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'A Fool There Was' Movie Review: Theda Bara Early Sex Siren



'The Godless Girl': The Temptations of Atheism

  This one took me totally by surprise! Cecil B. DeMille's last silent movie (one version has added talking scenes), The Godless Girl, starts out as an intriguing story (by Jeanie Macpherson) about high-school hijinks – but instead of Sharks and Jets, the gangs consist of Atheists and Believers. Fronting […]


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'The Godless Girl': The Temptations of Atheism



'The Volga Boatman': Cecil B. DeMille Compelling Drama with Future Cowboy William Boyd

The Cecil B. DeMille epic The Volga Boatman should be book-ended with DeMille's 1929 drama The Godless Girl. Both tell compelling stories without a clear, definite point of view. Picture it: Russia right before the Bolshevik revolution. The peasants are seething against the ruling class. We see workers slaving to […]


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'The Volga Boatman': Cecil B. DeMille Compelling Drama with Future Cowboy William Boyd



Stella Maris - Mary Pickford - Marshall Neilan

Stella Maris (1918) Dir.: Marshall Neilan. Scr.: Frances Marion; from William J. Locke's novel. Cast: Mary Pickford, Conway Tearle, Marcia Manon, Herbert Standing, Ida Waterman, Josephine Crowell   Poor Stella Maris. She's a rich crippled girl who lives her life under the generous protection of her wealthy aunt and uncle. […]


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Stella Maris - Mary Pickford - Marshall Neilan



'The Single Standard': Greta Garbo Silent Film Curiosity

Johnny Mack Brown or Nils Asther? Nils Asther or Johnny Mack Brown? Conventional love or hot sex? That is the question Greta Garbo agonizes over in this her penultimate – and beautifully conceived – silent film. It all starts at one of those late night parties that all the idle […]


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'The Single Standard': Greta Garbo Silent Film Curiosity



Clarence Brown, Forgotten Film Director

Greta Garbo and John Gilbert in Flesh and the Devil (1926)   Jack Neely's “The Forgotten Dir.: Who was Clarence Brown?” at Metro Pulse: “Dr. Gwenda Young, a film-studies professor at University College Cork, came across [Clarence] Brown by an unlikely route. Her Ph.D. thesis was about Jacques Tourneur, the […]


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Clarence Brown, Forgotten Film Director



'Films of 1907' Presentation in NYC & DC

The Dancing Pig, The Haunted Hotel (above and bottom, right), Ben-Hur, and The Teddy Bears will be among more than a dozen early short films screened at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' “Monday Nights with Oscar” presentation of “A Century Ago: The Films of 1907,” on Monday, […]


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'Films of 1907' Presentation in NYC & DC



Sessue Hayakawa: Pioneering East Asian Hollywood Star

Sessue Hayakawa: Pioneering East Asian actor in Old Hollywood Japanese-born actor Sessue Hayakawa, a Hollywood star in the 1910s, is discussed in Anthony Venutolo's The Star-Ledger article “Cinema can't keep up with Hayakawa's strides”: Progress is never a straight line. Gains are made and lost, breakthroughs braked by backlashes. Lasting […]


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Sessue Hayakawa: Pioneering East Asian Hollywood Star



Cinefest Movies: From Pauline Frederick to Jungle Princess Dorothy Lamour

The 28th edition of Cinefest will be held from March 13–16, 2008, in Syracuse, New York. As per the Cinefest website, the mini-festival features “great films to fill the four glorious days from the vaults of the world's greatest libraries and obscure specialties we are noted for from private collectors!" […]


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Cinefest Movies: From Pauline Frederick to Jungle Princess Dorothy Lamour



Films of 1907 Screenings in Los Angeles and San Rafael

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' will present “A Century Ago: The Films of 1907,” on Monday, December 3, at 7:30 p.m. at the Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood. The program, consisting of more than a dozen shorts, will repeat on Thursday, December 6, at 7:30 p.m. at […]


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Films of 1907 Screenings in Los Angeles and San Rafael



'Yellow Face' in Hollywood + Tom Cruise & Meryl Streep & Robert Redford Premiere: AFI FEST

Paul Muni is a Jewish-Austrian-Hungarian Chinese in The Good Earth. Today it'd have been simpler. Muni would have been merely a Jewish-Ukrainian Chinese. Hollywood Chinese, Arthur Dong's documentary about the portrayal of Chinese and Chinese-Americans in Hollywood films, will have its Los Angeles premiere at 6:45 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 7, […]


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'Yellow Face' in Hollywood + Tom Cruise & Meryl Streep & Robert Redford Premiere: AFI FEST



'Paramount on Parade' & 'Scarlet Seas': Silent-to-Sound Transition Period

Paramount on Parade all-star early musical. (Image: Clara Bow and [apparently] Mitzi Green.) Paramount on Parade, a 1930 all-star musical extravaganza produced by none other than Paramount, was directed by about a dozen men (Edmund Goulding, Ernst Lubitsch, Victor Schertzinger, and Frank Tuttle among them) and one woman (Dorothy Arzner). […]


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'Paramount on Parade' & 'Scarlet Seas': Silent-to-Sound Transition Period



More Rare Classic Movies: From Bessie Love to Richard Barthelmess

(See previous post: Cinesation Reviews: Rare Classic Movies.) Some of the Cinesation 2007 reviews below may contain spoilers. Proceed at your own risk! Saturday Carry on, Sergeant! (1928)In the more recent Cinesation editions, we've been treated to several fascinating little-seen gems from Canadian film archives. With so much of our […]


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More Rare Classic Movies: From Bessie Love to Richard Barthelmess



Cinesation Reviews: Rare Classic Movies

As we're so often told, all good things must indeed come to an end. So, as yet another year draws to a close, it's with a heavy heart and a wistful eye toward the future that I submit this report for the 2007 Fall Cinesation Festival. Hosted by The Great […]


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Cinesation Reviews: Rare Classic Movies



Rudolph Valentino: Q&A with Valentino Site Creator Donna Hill

Rudolph Valentino romances Alice Terry in The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, one of the biggest box office hits of the silent era. Eighty-six years after its original release, Rex Ingram's epic melodrama still impresses for its scope and the director's visual flair.   At the website Falcon Lair, Donna […]


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Rudolph Valentino: Q&A with Valentino Site Creator Donna Hill



'Triumph' & 'The Blood Ship': Lost and Found

Tonight at the Academy's Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood: Triumph (1917, above, top photo) and The Blood Ship (1927, above, lower photo), two recently rediscovered silent films that were once thought to be either totally or partially lost, will be screened as part of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts […]


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'Triumph' & 'The Blood Ship': Lost and Found



'The Jazz Singer' Academy Screening

Last night, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the American Cinematheque presented a tribute to the 80th anniversary of The Jazz Singer at the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. There were several celebs in attendance, including Rose Marie, Forrest Ackerman, Judy Lewis, Julie Newmar, and […]


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'The Jazz Singer' Academy Screening



Pordenone Silent Film Festival: Charles Chaplin 'Boat Movie,' Jean Vigo Nice Documentary

Pordenone Silent Film Festival 2007: Charles Chaplin, 'Chicago,' René Clair (image: Jean Vigo's 'À propos de Nice') The 26th Pordenone Silent Film Festival kicked off today, October 6, 2007, with screenings of Hans Behrendt's 1927 social comedy A Royal Scandal / Die Hose, starring Werner Krauss and Jenny Jugo, and […]


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Pordenone Silent Film Festival: Charles Chaplin 'Boat Movie,' Jean Vigo Nice Documentary



'The Jazz Singer' 80th Anniversary

Al Jolson and May McAvoy. Zero chemistry, but film history all the same. Though hardly a cinematic masterpiece – or even a good film, for that matter – the 1927 version of The Jazz Singer remains one of the most important motion pictures ever made. This part-musical, part-silent, all-mush melodrama […]


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'The Jazz Singer' 80th Anniversary



Marcel Marceau: 'Shanks' & 'Silent Movie' Mime Artist Dead at 84

Marcel Marceau: World-renowned mime artist dead at 84 Mime artist Marcel Marceau died in Cahors, France, on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2007. The cause of death was not immediately known. Marceau (born on March 22, 1923, in Strasbourg) was 84. Marcel Marceau's most famous character was Bip, a melancholy clown with […]


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Marcel Marceau: 'Shanks' & 'Silent Movie' Mime Artist Dead at 84



Warner Bros. Hollywood Studio Sale: 'The Jazz Singer' Filmed There

Warner Bros. Hollywood studio for sale. The Jazz Singer filmed there. The old Warner Bros. studio on Sunset Boulevard, now housing the Los Angeles television station KTLA, is up for sale. According to the Los Angeles Times, Tribune Co., the Chicago-based conglomerate that also owns the Times, has decided to […]


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Warner Bros. Hollywood Studio Sale: 'The Jazz Singer' Filmed There