The Merry Widow was Erich von Stroheim’s greatest commercial success, but throughout his career he expressed nothing but contempt for the film. “When you ask me why I do such pictures I am not ashamed to tell you the true reason: only because I do not want my family to starve,” he said at the time. … [Read more...] about The Merry Widow
“God, she was beautiful!” That was Fritz Lang to an interviewer, decades after casting teenage Brigitte Helm in a double role in Metropolis: both the virginal worker Maria and Maria’s evil robot duplicate. Helm’s dual performance is one of the most famous in all silent drama. Just eighteen when … [Read more...] about A Daughter of Destiny
Before temporarily retiring from film acting in 1922, Italian diva Francesca Bertini completed one last film for her most trusted director, Roberto Roberti. Variously entitled, in Neapolitan vernacular, Voglio a tte! (“I Want You!”) or, in Italian, La fanciulla di Amalfi (“The Maiden from Amalfi”), … [Read more...] about Voglio a tte!
When Frank S. Nugent and Laurence Stallings were working on the screenplay for the 1948 western 3 Godfathers, director John Ford, who felt they relied too heavily on exposition, told them, “Has it ever occurred to either of you that the first motion pictures were Leland Stanford’s studies of a … [Read more...] about Kentucky Pride
No Publicity Directed by Nicholas T. Barrows, USA, 1928. With Ruth Dwyer, Josephine Crowell, and Aileen Manning Horse Shy Directed by Jay A. Howe, USA, 1928. With Nita Cavalier, Bruce Covington, and William Gillespie Vacation Waves Directed by Nicholas T. Barrows, USA, 1928. With Duane … [Read more...] about The Edward Everett Horton Show!
Yasujiro Ozu will always be best known for his mid-century dramas, like Tokyo Story, Late Spring, and Floating Weeds. They have a towering reputation in world cinema: their distinctive visual style defining what an Ozu film ‘is’ for most people. But doesn’t this make his earlier work intriguing? His … [Read more...] about Walk Cheerfully
“At the theater Crainquebille made me weep,” remembered Marcel Proust in 1916. Of course it did. Anatole France’s parable of an aging vegetable peddler whose minor run-in with a policeman has a devastating effect on his life was written to provoke not just tears, but indignation. France’s … [Read more...] about Crainquebille
The Soviet film corpus of the silent era—the mass of films that survived that tumultuous era, at least—is famous for formal innovation, social realism, and headlong propaganda. But not for farce. Comedy was the commercial lifeblood of silent film; without it, a national industry could scarcely hope … [Read more...] about Pigs Will Be Pigs