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Thursday, July 28, 2011

La Souriante Madame Beudet 1922 (The Smiling Madame Beudet) DVD


La Souriante Madame Beudet (The Smiling Madame Beudet) is a short French silent film made in 1922, directed by famed surrealist director Germaine Dulac. It is considered by many to be one of the first truly "feminist" films. It tells the story of an intelligent woman trapped in a loveless marriage.

Directed by Germaine Dulac
Produced by Charles Delac, Marcel Vandal
Written by Denys Amiel (play), André Obey
Starring Germaine Dermoz, Alexandre Arquillière
Cinematography, Maurice Forster, Paul Parguel
Release date: 1922
Country: France
French-English inter-titles

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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Anna Boleyn (1920) Anne Boleyn a/k/a Deception with Emil Jannings


Anna Boleyn (1920) Anne Boleyn a/k/a Deception

Henny Porten as Anne Boleyn and Emil Jannings as King Henry VIII

The story of the ill-fated second wife of the English king Henry VIII, whose marriage to the Henry led to momentous political and religious turmoil in England.

Directed by Ernst Lubitsch
Written by Norbert Falk (as Fred Orbing), Hanns Kräly
Cinematography, Theodor Sparkuhl
Distributed by UFA
Release date: Dec 3, 1920 (Germany); Apr 17, 1921 (U.S.)
Running time 118 min
Country: Germany
German/English inter-titles

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The Man Who Laughs (1928) Paul Leni


The Man Who Laughs (1928) is an American silent film directed by the German Expressionist filmmaker Paul Leni. The film is an adaptation of Victor Hugo's novel of the same name and stars Conrad Veidt as Gwynplaine and Mary Philbin as the blind Dea with Olga Baclanova, Josephine Crowell, George Siegmann.

The film is known for the grim carnival freak-like grin on the character Gwynplaine's face, which often leads it to be classified as a horror film. Film critic Roger Ebert stated, "The Man Who Laughs is a melodrama, at times even a swashbuckler, but so steeped in Expressionist gloom that it plays like a horror film."

The Man Who Laughs is a Romantic melodrama, similar to films such as The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923). The film was one of the early Universal Pictures productions that made the transition from silent films to sound films, using the Movietone sound system introduced by William Fox. The film was completed in April 1927 but was held for release in April 1928, with sound effects and a music score that included the song, "When Love Comes Stealing," by Walter Hirsch, Lew Pollack, and Erno Rapee.

Directed by Paul Leni
Produced by Paul Kohner
Written by: (Novel) Victor Hugo, Screenplay: J. Grubb Alexander, Walter Anthony, Mary McLean, Charles E. Whittaker
Cinematography, Gilbert Warrenton
Editing by, Edward L. Cahn, Maurice Pivar
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date: New York Premiere - April 27, 1928
Running time: 110 min.

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The White Devil (1930) Lil Dagover, Betty Amann DVD


The White Devil (1930)
Directed by Alexandre Volkoff. Screenplay by Volkoff, Michel Linsky, based on Hadschi Murat by Leo Tolstoy. With Ivan Mosjoukine, Lil Dagover, Fritz Alberti, Betty Amann, Peter Lorre.

The White Devil is one of the most rousing and action-packed late-era silent films you’ve likely never seen, reuniting the internationally celebrated Russian émigré movie star Ivan Mosjoukine with émigré director Alexandre Volkoff in an UFA adaptation of Hadji Murat, Leo Tolstoy’s posthumously published account of his own experiences as a soldier during the 1851–52 Russian-Caucasian War. (The 2003 edition of To Save and Project featured Volkoff and Mosjoukine’s exhilarating serial La Maison du mystère.)

Caught in a violent struggle between Europeanized Russia and Muslim Chechnya, a valiant and chivalrous Avar warlord rebels against his ruthless leader, Imam Shamil, and then leads a populist revolt against the despotic Czar Nicolai I.

Preserved by the Deutsche Kinemathek, Volkoff’s film features stunning cinematography by Curt Courant (who would later collaborate with Hitchcock, Renoir, Pabst, Ophuls, and Carné), Reimar Kuntze (who shot Berlin: Symphony of a Great City), and Nikolai Toporkoff (who shot Abel Gance’s Napoleon), as well as an ingenious soundtrack of music and effects. Courtesy Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung.

In German; English subtitles. 105 min.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Erotikon - Seduction (1929) Czech silent classic on DVD



Erotikon - Seduction (1929)

Stars: Karel Schleichert, Ita Rina and Olaf Fjord
Director: Gustav Machatý
Writers: Gustav Machatý (story), Gustav Machatý (screenplay),
Country: Czechoslovakia
Language: Czech (silent)
85 min - Drama - 27 February 1929 (Czechoslovakia)
Filming Locations: Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic
English & Czech inter-titles

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Fritz Lang thriller SPIONE : Spies (1928) DVD


Fritz Lang thriller Spione (1928) DVD

Spione (English title: Spies, under which title it was released in the United States) is a German silent espionage thriller written and directed by Fritz Lang in 1928.

Lang's wife, Thea von Harbou, worked as a co-writer. The film was Lang's penultimate silent film, and the first for his own production company; Fritz Lang-film GmbH. As in Lang's Mabuse films, such as Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler and The Testament of Dr. Mabuse, Rudolf Klein-Rogge plays a master criminal aiming for world domination.

Spione was restored to its original length by the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung during 2003 and 2004. No original negatives survive, but a high quality nitrate copy is held at the Národni Filmovy Archiv at Prague.

Starring Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Gerda Maurus, Willy Fritsch, Georg John
Directed by Fritz Lang
Produced by Erich Pommer
Written by Fritz Lang, Thea von Harbou
Music by Werner R. Heymann
Cinematography, Fritz Arno Wagner
Release date: March 22, 1928
Running time: 178 min. (16 frame/s)
Country : Germany
Language: Silent film
German & English inter-titles

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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Paul Leni's silent horror omnibus Waxworks (1924) DVD



Paul Leni's silent horror omnibus Waxworks (1924)

A trio of legendary killers-Jack the Ripper (Werner Krauss), Ivan the Terrible (Conrad Veidt) and Haroun-al-Raschid (Emil Jannings)-come to life in three highly stylized segments of director Paul Leni's silent horror omnibus. A writer's imagination runs wild while creating scenarios for a carnival's wax exhibit.

83 min. Silent with music score.

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Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Beggar from the Dome of Cologne (1927) DVD


The Beggar from the Dome of Cologne (1927) DVD
a/k/a Der Bettler vom Kölner Dom

Stars: Henry Stuart, Elza Temary and Carl de Vogt
Director: Rolf Randolf
Writer: Emanuel Alfieri (play)
Country: Germany / Language: German & English inter-titles
Also Known As: Le mendiant de la cathédrale de Cologne
Production Co: Internationale Film AG (IFA)
Runtime: Germany: 101 min (2009 restored version)

REVIEW:

Something stinks in the city of Cologne (a very embarrassing fact for that German city, certainly… ).

An international gang of thieves and swindlers decide to move their criminal operation to the Teutonic city of Cologne but Herr Tom Wilkens ,( Herr Henry Stuart ) one of the best agents of the international police, is not far behind and leads an investigation to unmask the criminals.

“Der Bettler vom Kölner Dom” ( The Beggar From The Dome Of Cologne ) (1927) is a very remarkable and well-done German detective silent film made by Herr the not well-known- Rolf Randolf.

The detective or police genre was fairly uncommon for the German silent cinema ( Teutonic audiences preferred more interesting metaphysical and depressing subjects for their entertainment… ) although there were important exceptions such as Herr Harry Piel who starred in a lot of detective films full of mysterious adventures during the silent ( and talking ) era. He became the quintessential Teutonic silent hero and his very popular police films appealed to those German audiences who were fond of Amerikan detective movies.

“Der Bettler vom Kölner Dom” is clearly influenced by those obscure Amerikan silent detective films both in terms of aesthetics and film narrative ( this Herr Von saw through his monocle Herr Tod Browning’s spirit in the underworld depicted in the oeuvre ) although Herr Randolf tailored these aspects to German idiosyncrasies in a very successful and remarkable way.

The film is carefully plotted ( although sometimes confusing ) and Cologne is given a mysterious and disturbing atmosphere with a sense of menace being artistically created.

“Der Bettler vom Kölner Dom” has many excellent moments depicting the gang and their activities, whether they are operating in the slums or in elegant circles.
Nothing is what it seems to be and every detail enriches the tension. There are different tricks, disguises and gadgets all expertly and elaborately photographed.

The film also has a lot of irony and humour ( German, natürlich! ) some of which comes from the characters of a singular pair of private detectives, Herr Napoleon Bonaparte Schmitz ( Herr Karl Geppert ) and Herr Carolus Caesar Müller ( Herr Hermann Blass ) who will help (maybe not a lot), Herr Wilkens during his police investigations. Their presence lightens the mood.

“Der Bettler vom Kölner Dom” is full of those ingredients that a good detective silent film needs; that is to say, an unscrupulous gang, a brave detective, dangerous fräuleins and a lot of action and adventures through the city of Cologne ( But this is a German film so the rhythm is sometimes slow). This is an unjustly forgotten and very remarkable silent film that thanks to the superb restoration made by the longhaired youngsters at the “Edition Filmmuseum”( which includes a superb new orchestral soundtrack by Herr Pierre Oser, that will be released during the next months), can be enjoyed and discovered by any silent film fan around the world.

And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count must perfume himself with an entire bottle of eau-de-Cologne.

Herr Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien
http://ferdinandvongalitzien.blogspot.com

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Betty Ahman ~ Asphalt (1929) German silent film DVD


Asphalt (1929) is a German silent film. The film was one of the last silent films released in Germany as the world was entering the era of sound film.

In Berlin, a policeman called Holk is summoned to a jeweller's shop, where a beautiful young woman has tried to steal a diamond. En route to the police station, the woman takes Holk back to her apartment on the pretext of collecting some papers and ends up seducing him. Soon he finds himself caught between his duty and the woman he is falling in love with.

ASPHALT was one of the last films of the silent German Expressionist era - like Fritz Lang, director Joe May soon made the move to Hollywood, although failed to find the success there that Lang did. In ASPHALT, May sets a simplistic morality tale against the backdrop of modern, bustling city - there are none of the political overtones of other films of the time, but the picture remains both a technical triumph and a touching story of doomed love.

May opens the film with a bravura display of the cinematic techniques that were being pioneered at the time, capturing the industrial fury of modern Berlin. The director overlays frames of traffic as cars thunder through the city and performs some dramatic crane shots over the crowds and across the streets, all part of a massive set at the renowned UFA studios. Eventually, he comes to focus on just four characters - dedicated, hardworking cop Holk, his loving parents with whom he lives, and Elsie, the sultry would-be jewel thief who steals his heart.

In terms of events, very little actually happens in ASPHALT - in a modern picture, the entire 90 minute running time would probably just be compressed into the first act. So it's a testament to the skill of both the actors and the director that the film is quite as watchable as it is. Betty Amann, playing Elsie, is by turns cunning, sultry and fragile - her ambiguous performance is played largely with her eyes, and we are never sure if we are watching the 'real' Elsie, or just an act. Gustav Frohlich is a more straight-forward, stoic hero, but the haunted, terrified look on his face after he returns home after committing a terrible act towards the end makes for one of the film's most striking moments.

May's direction remains impressive throughout, although the more dramatic technical trickery is largely kept for the opening sequences. Nevertheless, the lighting, editing and camerawork help create an atmosphere charged with a sense of doomed inevitability, and the scenes between Amann and Frohlich carry an undeniable erotic charge. For all its innovation, ASPHALT is obviously a film of its era - the only dialogue is supplied by occasional inter-titles... Within two years, Fritz Lang's groundbreaking masterpiece M would make the likes of ASPHALT seem positively quaint by comparison, but this remains a little known but important part of cinema history. - Daniel Auty, The Spinning Image.

Directed by Joe May
Produced by Erich Pommer
Written by Hans Szekely
Starring Gustav Fröhlich, Else Heller, Albert Steinruck, Betty Amann
Cinematography Günther Rittau
Distributed by Universum Film AG
Release date: Germany~ March 11, 1929
Running time 93 min
Country: Germany / Language: Silent film / German-English inter-titles

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Fritz Lang: Das wandernde Bild~The Wandering Image (1920)



Fritz Lang: Das wandernde Bild - The Wandering Image (1920)
a/k/a The Moving Image and The Wandering Image
Mia May as Irmgard Vanderheit
Hans Marr as Georg Vanderheit / John Vanderheit
Rudolf Klein-Rogge as Georgs Vetter Wil Brand
Loni Nest as Irmgards Tochter
Directed by Fritz Lang Produced by Joe May (producer)
Written by Fritz Lang (writer), Thea von Harbou (writer)
Cinematography, Guido Seeber
Running time: 66 minutes (German restored version)
German / English inter-titles Country: Germany
Release Date: 26 September 1921 (Finland) Filming Locations: Königssee, Bavaria, Germany

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Friday, July 15, 2011

Mary Philbin in Merry-Go-Round (1923) Erich Von Stroheim DVD




Merry-Go-Round is a 1923 movie by Erich von Stroheim and his replacement, Rupert Julian, starring Norman Kerry and Mary Philbin with Edith Yorke, Dale Fuller



A nobleman, posing as a necktie salesman, falls in love with the daughter of a circus puppeteer, even though he is already married to the daughter of his country's war minister.

Directed by Erich von Stroheim, Rupert Julian
Produced by Universal Pictures
Written by Harvey Gates (story), Finis Fox (scen.), Irving Thalberg (scen.), Rupert Julian (scen.),
Erich von Stroheim (scen.)
Cinematography Charles Kaufman
Editing by James MacKay
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release Date: 3 September 1923 (USA)
Running time: 110 minutes

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RARE Jewish silent film Nathan Der Weise / Nathan the Wise (1922) DVD



RARE Jewish silent gem Nathan Der Weise / Nathan the Wise (1922) DVD

Nathan Der Weise / Nathan the Wise (1922) produced in Munich, only one copy has been found. It was found in Gosfilmofond, in Moscow, under the title "Conquest of Jerusalem."

In 1997, the Munich Film Museum obtained a copy. In 2006, following notes from the
censors, the title was renamed and corrected. And tints were restored according to the conventions of the 1920s. Nathan the Wise is a German literary adaptation in six acts of Manfred Noa from the year 1922. It is currently the only cinema production of the play Nathan the Wise by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing . The TV premiere of the long term as missing current silent film took place on 1 June 2010 on the station arte .

Country: Germany
German & English (intertitles)
Release Date: 21 September 1923 (Austria)
2 hours, 2 minutes, 51 seconds

"A film for humanity"

The 1922 silent film Nathan the Wise, by the German Jewish director Manfred Noa (1893-1930) is to date the only film of the play. It sticks closely to Lessing's plot and, in a cinematic language which still feels modern, tells a story set in Jerusalem during the third crusade when the city was besieged by crusaders. With their technically impressive film, Noa and his producer Erich Wagowski of the Munich-based company Emelka, made a significant statement within early film history in support of a more political cinema. Director and producer wanted to make a "film for humanity", a plea for the peaceful coexistence of peoples and faiths.

Friday, January 12, 2007
‘Nathan Der Weise’
by michael fox, correspondent

Much of the appeal of silent movies — or any art from a distant era — lies in the glimpses they provide of the way people used to live and think. But more often than one might expect, 85-year-old films speak directly to our own time.

Such is the case with "Nathan Der Weise" ("Nathan the Wise"), German-Jewish director Manred Noa's 1922 adaptation of Gotthold Ephraim Lessing's 1779 play. Set in and around Jerusalem at the time of the crusades, the story throws Christians, Muslims and Jews together in a melodramatic maelstrom of epic proportions.

With battle and crowd scenes that Cecil B. DeMille must have admired, and emotional displays of anarchy, enmity and revenge, "Nathan Der Weise" is packed with pomp and prejudice. In other words, most of the time it's quite a show.

Viewed through the prism of 1922 Germany, the movie is a plaintive post-World War I plea for the end of armed insanity. From a current vantage point, where the differences between West and East are framed by some as a battle between terrorism and civilization, Christianity and Islam, "Nathan Der Weise" presents religious intolerance as an opportunistic tool wielded by mistrustful and powerful men.

The actor Werner Krauss, coming off his star-making role as the maniacal lead in the German Expressionist classic "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari," plays Nathan as a model of restraint and suffering. We are introduced to the bearded Jewish elder some minutes into the film as a voice of moderation, counseling nonviolence among his sons as a marauding gang approaches.

Nathan's family appears to have escaped the violence until a child, pursued by the rampaging criminals and desperate for a hiding place, approaches the synagogue. Nathan shields the boy, a just and brave response by any measure. But the mob torches the shul, and Nathan's wife and children are killed in the blaze.

By the sheerest of coincidences, Nathan subsequently is given a baby to hide by a fleeing horseman. We know from the opening scenes of "Nathan Der Weise" that this is a Christian baby from a powerful family, yet Nathan raises the girl as his own.

Later, the Sultan Saladin lays siege to and eventually defeats Jerusalem's Christians. Those soldiers who can't buy their freedom become his slaves, but the kind and good Nathan steps in and ransoms a large number. Yes, a case can be made that Nathan is the most positive Jewish figure in the history of movies, with the obvious exception of Paul Newman's character in "Exodus."

Needless to say, "Nathan Der Weise" and its portrait of a generous, pacifist Jewish hero did not jibe with the venal image of Jews that Heinrich Himmler and the Nazi Party were hawking to a hungry, embittered nation. Once in power, the Nazis banned the film and years later, in a twisted irony that may or may not have been intentional, cast Werner Krauss as a stereotypically rotten Jew in the infamous 1940 propaganda film "Jud Suss."

Fortunately, "Nathan Der Weise" is now back in circulation to partially offset the overriding perception of Jews in German cinema, namely the painful scenes recorded for Nazi newsreels and immortalized in countless Holocaust documentaries.

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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Charlie Chaplin & Harold Lloyd ~ 11 gems-2 DVDs



Charlie Chaplin & Harold Lloyd ~ 11 gems - 2 DVDs

Charlie Chaplin

The Kid (1921)
The Idle Class (1921)
In the Park (1915)
A Day's Pleasure (1919)

Harold Lloyd

Are Crooks Dishonest? (1918)
Neighbours (1919)
Number Please (1920)
Get Out and Get Under (1920)
Never Weaken (1921)
Milky Way (1936)
Calendar (4/16/1962)

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