After seeing D. W. Griffith’s epic Intolerance, Denmark’s greatest director, Carl Theodor Dreyer (The Passion of Joan of Arc, Vampyr), was inspired to make his own four-episode historical epic with each story told end to end, anthology-style, linked by theme to the others. The unifying character, Satan, attempts to win God’s favor but is doomed to cheerless participation in dark episodes of human history: the temptation of Jesus, the Spanish Inquisition, the French Revolution and the Russo-Finnish war of 1918.
Tag Archives: 1920s
The Racketeer (1929) Howard Higgin, Robert Armstrong, Carole Lombard, Roland Drew, Crime, Drama, Thriller
Tough mobster Mahlon Keane practically runs crime in New York City. He meets broke ex-society girl Rhoda Philbrooke at a society fundraiser and helps her cheat her way to some winnings in poker. Rhoda needs the money to help nurse broken alcoholic concert violinist Tony Vaughan back to health.
My Best Girl (1927) Sam Taylor, Mary Pickford, Charles ‘Buddy’ Rogers, Sunshine Hart, Comedy, Romance
Joe Merrill, son of the millionaire owner of a chain of 5 and 10 cent stores, poses as Joe Grant, and takes a job in the stockroom of one of his father’s stores, to prove that he can be a success without his father’s influence. There he meets stockroom girl Maggie Johnson, and they fall in love. This causes problems, because Mrs. Merrill had planned for her son to marry Millicent Rogers, a high society girl.
Sibilla is a single mother, working as a gypsy dancer in a lousy cafe in the south of Spain. Unable to keep with the costs of his son’s medical bills, she asks for help to Estiria, her son’s biological father and one of the richest men in town. After being rejected, Sibilla vows to save her son’s life by any means necessary – even at the cost of her own life.
The Flying Ace (1926) Richard E. Norman, Laurence Criner, Kathryn Boyd, Boise De Legge, Adventure, Crime, War
A veteran World War I fighter pilot returns home a war hero and immediately regains his former job as a railroad company detective. His first case: recover a stolen satchel filled with $25,000 of company payroll, locate a missing employee, and capture a gang of railroad thieves.
An educated, upscale young black musician marries a woman from a lower socioeconomic class to get her out of the clutches of her stepfather, who beats and abuses her. However, once he “saves” her, he won’t let his new wife meet his mother, as he knows she will be angry and disappointed with him for marrying someone “below his station”.
A minister is malevolent and sinister behind his righteous facade. He consorts with, and later extorts from, the owner of a gambling house, and betrays an honest girl, eventually driving them both to ruin.
Southern negro Sylvia Landry visits her cousin Alma in the north, where there is less racial prejudice than in her home town of Piney Woods in the deep south, and is anxiously awaiting her fiancé, Conrad. But Alma has designs on Conrad and tricks Sylvia into a compromising situation when he arrives, and he abandons her. Disheartened, she returns to Piney Woods to help a reverend running a school for young negroes. Sylvia learns that the reverend hasn’t the heart to turn away poor students, and unless he can raise $5,000 to supplement the $1.49 per child per year that the state supplies, the school will be closed. She goes up north again to try to raise the money and has little success, but meets kindly negro, Dr. V. Vivian, who helps her regain her stolen purse. When she saves a child from being hit by an auto, she herself is slightly injured. But the owner of the car is philanthropist Mrs. Elena Warwick, who is sympathetic to her quest and promises to donate the $5,000 to the school…
The Symbol of the Unconquered (1920) Oscar Micheaux, Iris Hall, Walker Thompson, Lawrence Chenault, Drama
Eve Mason, a very light-skinned negro, leaves Selma, Alabama for the northwest town of Oristown to occupy the land she inherited from her grandfather. There she meets kindly Hugh Van Allen, who turns out to be her neighbor, and he gives her a lift to her place outside of town. Jefferson Driscoll is another very light-skinned negro who wants to be taken as white, and he hates the negro race because his mother once interfered with his wooing a white girl. Driscoll gets in league with unsavory August Barr, an Indian fakir called Tugi, and horse thieves Bill Stanton and Philip Clark. When Driscoll intercepts a letter for Van Allen showing his land is on an oil field, the group posts notes on Van Allen’s tent, threatening his life if he won’t sell his land. Van Allen ignores the the notes, which are signed “The Knights of the Black Cross,” leaves for town to buy furniture and won’t be back for 48 hours. In his absence, the last note is posted, giving him 48 hours to sell.