Tag Archives: 1920s

Within Our Gates (1920) Oscar Micheaux, Evelyn Preer, Flo Clements, James D. Ruffin, Drama, Romance

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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…

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The Symbol of the Unconquered (1920) Oscar Micheaux, Iris Hall, Walker Thompson, Lawrence Chenault, Drama

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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.

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The Iron Horse (1924) John Ford, George O’Brien, Madge Bellamy, Charles Edward Bull, Romance, Western, History

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As crews labor to finish the first transcontinental railroad, Pony Express rider Davy Brandon (George O’Brien) returns to his hometown. There a childhood friend, Miriam (Madge Bellamy) – fiancée of the chief engineer (Cyril Chadwick) and daughter of the principal contractor – convinces him to aid in the project’s completion. Although his father, a murdered railroad surveyor, passed on the knowledge needed for the job, a slew of saboteurs attempt to thwart Brandon in his efforts.

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The Navigator (1924) Donald Crisp, Buster Keaton, Kathryn McGuire, Frederick Vroom, Action, Comedy, Romance, Classics

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Rollo decides to marry his sweetheart Betsy and sail to Honolulu. When she rejects him he decides to go alone but boards the wrong ship, the “Navigator” owned by Betsy’s father. Unaware of this, Betsy boards the ship to look for her father. whom spies capture before cutting the ship loose. It drifts out to sea with the two socialites each unaware of there being anyone else on board.

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Die Finanzen des Großherzogs / Finances of the Grand Duke (1924) F.W. Murnau, Mady Christians, Harry Liedtke, Robert Scholtz, Comedy

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Director F.W. Murnau and scriptwriter Thea von Harbou both took a change of pace from their usual dramas with this satiric farce about Grand Duke Don Ramon XX (Harry Liedtke), whose idyllic country is threatened by revolution. The troublemakers are a trio of conspirators, working with a corrupt financier who intends to convert the landscape into a profitable sulfur mine. Don Ramon comes close to being hanged, but is rescued by Olga (Mady Christians), the Grand Duchess of Russia, who loves him and agrees to pay off all his debts. A compromising love letter from Olga falls into the conspirators’ hands, but she and Don Ramon, with the help of the adventurer Philip Collins (Alfred Abel) are able to set their affairs right. Note who plays one of the conspirators: Max Schreck, who starred as the hideous vampire in Murnau’s horror classic Nosferatu.

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