Tag Archives: 1920s
A charming pastoral about two unwanted children finding acceptance and love, Timothy’s Quest (1922) is a rare, cinematic gem based on a novel by Kate Douglas Wiggin (Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm), who was then known as “America’s best loved author of stories about children.”
La passion de Jeanne d’Arc / The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) Carl Theodor Dreyer, Maria Falconetti, Eugene Silvain, André Berley, Biography, Drama, History
The sufferings of a martyr, Jeanne D’Arc (1412-1431). Jeanne appears in court where Cauchon questions her and d’Estivet spits on her. She predicts her rescue, is taken to her cell, and judges forge evidence against her. In her cell, priests interrogate her and judges deny her the Mass. Threatened first in a torture chamber and then offered communion if she will recant, she refuses. At a cemetery, in front of a crowd, a priest and supporters urge her to recant; she does, and Cauchon announces her sentence. In her cell, she explains her change of mind and receives communion. In the courtyard at Rouen castle, she burns at the stake; the soldiers turn on the protesting crowd.
Charles Chauvel came to the forefront of Australian cinema after The Moth of Moonbi (1926), and followed up with Greenhide, his final silent film. It was on the set of Greenhide that Chauvel met his wife Elsie, who had the starring role. The story follows a girl who moves from a life of leisure in the city to rural Queensland, where she romanticises her way into the arms of the rough farm manager, ‘Greenhide Gavin’. A cattle-thieving plot also unfolds.
If there was one thing that Don Juan de Marana learned from his father Don Jose, it was that women gave you three things – life, disillusionment and death. In his father’s case it was his wife, Donna Isobel, and Donna Elvira who supplied the latter. Don Juan settled in Rome after attending the University of Pisa. Rome was run by the tyrannical Borgia family consisting of Caesar, Lucrezia and the Count Donati. Juan has his way with and was pursued by many women, but it is the one that he could not have that haunts him. It will be for her that he suffers the wrath of Borgia for ignoring Lucrezia and then killing Count Donati in a duel. For Adriana, they will both be condemned to death in the prison on the river Tigre.
When a landlady (Marie Ault) and her husband (Arthur Chesney) take in a new lodger (Ivor Novello), they’re overjoyed: He’s quiet, humble and pays a month’s rent in advance. But his mysterious and suspicious behavior soon has them wondering if he’s the killer terrorizing local blond girls. Their daughter, Daisy (June), a cocky model, is far less concerned, her attraction obvious. Her police-detective boyfriend (Malcolm Keen), in a pique of jealousy, seeks to uncover the lodger’s true identity.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) Wallace Worsley, Lon Chaney, Patsy Ruth Miller, Norman Kerry, Drama, Romance
Clopin bought Esmeralda from the gypsies when she was young. Dancing in the square at the festival, Esmeralda is spotted by Jehan, the evil brother of the good archdeacon Claude Frollo. When he sets Quasimodo out to kidnap Esmeralda, Phoebus, Captain of the Guards, rescues her and captures Quasimodo. The courts sentence Quasimodo to be flogged, and the only one who will give him water while he is tied in the square is Esmeralda. After Clopin forces Esmeralda to leave Phoebus at the ball, she sends a note to Phoebus to meet her at Notre-Dame. In the garden, Phoebus is stabbed in the back by Jehan. Esmeralda is accused of stabbing Phoebus, convicted by the courts and sentenced to hang. When Esmeralda again rejects Jehan, he tells her that Phoebus is dead, even though it is not true. Clopin, Phoebus and Quasimodo all try different ways to save Esmeralda.
“Prostitutka” (1927) is a Bolshevist silent rarity, unusual because of its subject matter, that being prostitution in the U.S.S.R. The world’s oldest profession requires a treatment both delicate and balanced, not an easy topic for a first time director like Herr Oleg Frelikh. Actually, this little known work was Frelikh’s only film as a director (prior to this, he had been an actor) and it’s a flawed but interesting effort.
Poor glazier Sam Bisbee has invented break-proof glass. He intends to show it off to a convention of automobile men. Due to a mixup his car is switched with another and his demonstration toss of a brick simply breaks the car’s windshield. On the way home he thinks a woman is trying to commit suicide and so prevents her. The woman is really Princess Lescaboura, who arrives in Bisbee’s home town looking for him.
Miss Lulu Bett (1921) William C. de Mille, Lois Wilson, Milton Sills, Theodore Roberts, Comedy, Drama
Wlliam deMille produced and directed Miss Lulu Bett, a film of extraordinary conviction and insight. It was then often the custom for unmarried women to lodge with family; thus we discover Miss Lulu in a boring Midwestern town, an exploited household drudge for her sister and her overbearing brother-in-law. In the course of the story (based upon the Pulitzer Prize play and novel by Zona Gale), Lulu evolves from slavery into an attractive and self-assured woman, prepared to make her own life. Revealed through wonderful performances and clever use of props, the characters are extraordinarily solid and involving.