Penrod and Sam is a series of vignettes about a typical white American boy, his best pal, and the neighborhood kids who join him in playing Army games and exercising their vivid imaginations. There’s a mean next-door neighbor with an equally nasty father, a cute girl who lives across the street, and … [Read more...] about Penrod and Sam
The image of Salomé as a Biblical temptress with John the Baptist’s head on a platter has stirred artists’ imaginations for centuries, from Titian and Caravaggio to Oscar Wilde and Richard Strauss, and from Gloria Swanson descending the stairs in Sunset Blvd. to Rita Hayworth’s fiery dance of … [Read more...] about Salomé
Live DJ remix and silent films would appear to sit at opposite ends of the media landscape, but in the hands of DJ Spooky (Paul D. Miller), the interplay between the historical and the contemporary is a chance to reveal the intricacies of both. In this remix of The Birth of a Nation, images and … [Read more...] about Rebirth of a Nation
Apart from You (Kimi to Wakarete) is Mikio Naruse’s third surviving silent film—one of only five we have left. Like many of his most celebrated works, it is an ode to the working class, the downtrodden and the disrespected, particularly women. Yet the man himself was no radical. Naruse, creator of … [Read more...] about Apart from You
In a way, Buster Keaton’s fall—the big, metaphorical one, the first in his life he couldn’t bounce right back from—began when that housefront collapsed over him in Steamboat Bill, Jr. In what is now his most famous stunt, Buster remains unharmed, framed in an open attic window just wide enough to … [Read more...] about Steamboat Bill, Jr.
The past, like a moving picture, looks different depending where you are standing in relation to it; it is a matter of distance, scale, and clarity. In 1893, in the earliest days of moving pictures, viewing was a solitary activity, seen on a machine for one person at a time—and small—as small as the … [Read more...] about The Great Victorian Moving Picture Show
In Max Linder’s final film, he indulged a common childhood fantasy. Expectations had been seeded in his childhood that he would grow up to take over the family business, a vineyard. However, he later wrote that “nothing was more distasteful to me than the thought of a life among the grapes.” What … [Read more...] about King of the Circus
Horror movies, or at least their progenitors, have been haunting audiences since the silent era, and the best ones can still make us shriek a hundred years later. With their sinister killers, hazy nightmares, and pointy-fingered vampires, all wrapped up in the menacing mise-en-scène that came to … [Read more...] about Waxworks