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Dwelling in Silence - My Journey Through Silent Cinema

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Dwelling in Silence - My Journey Through Silent Cinema

#41

Post by St. Gloede » May 23rd, 2012, 7:34 pm

Die Stadt ohne Juden / The City Without Jews (1924, H.K. Breslauer)
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"The legendary Republic of Utopia"(or rather, Vienna) is in trouble. The workers are rallying in the streets and money has lost it's value, the solution however seems fairly simple - Let's just throw out the jews. An amusing, well-constructed satire, which sadly doesn't throw the hardest punches, but was still quite a brave effort. The author of the 1922 novel it's based on, Hugo Bettauer, was murdered shortly after the premiere by a nazi supporter, and nazis attacked many of rge screenings of the actual film as well.

A lot of it's strenghts came from how accurately it presented the near future, though it was a world without nazis and gas chambers they do get to a certain core of anti-semitism. But as stated it doesn't throw the greatest punches, in fact it's more like a cute farce. I was also rather surprised that the concept of "humanity" never came up, but it never really ridicules the true evil, but rather that the country thought it could get by economically without the jews - an idea which of course would have been marvelous in a harsher satire, but feels more like a miss here. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed it, a really good film. 7.5/10.
Last edited by St. Gloede on May 23rd, 2012, 7:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#42

Post by St. Gloede » May 23rd, 2012, 8:14 pm

Lucrezia Borgia (1922, Richard Oswald)
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Incestrual urges, murder, corruption and full blown battles, this is the story of three of Pope Alexander VI children. It's centered about the vilaious Cesare who lusts after not only his brother Juan's girlfriend, but his own sister, Lucrezia, as well. Any movie with Conrad Veidt as the bad guy, and Paul Wegener as the main henchman can't be all bad, but this exceeded all expectations. As we follow the friction between Lucrezia and Cesare, as well as everyone around them I realized that this was quite the epic piece of cinema. It places it's characters in the center, while remaining a truly dark adventure movie throughout. It's action packed final sequence was a slight let down however, as it somewhat forgot about our leads and lost some of the immense intensity that had been build up, but it was still a great finale. I'd encourage everyone to see this, particularly if you're a fan of german epics from the silent era, could definitely draw some comparisons to Die Niebelungen: Siegfried's Revenge among others.

9/10
Last edited by St. Gloede on May 23rd, 2012, 8:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#43

Post by St. Gloede » May 23rd, 2012, 8:40 pm

Merry-Go-Round (1923, Erich von Stroheim & Rupert Julian)
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Like all Erich von Stoheim productions it started out great, but knowing it's history I assumed it would get even more damaged and incomplete than the rest of his films, luckily this film at least got a chance after he was fired and Rupert Julian did a wonderful job patching it together. I got to say it, I am getting a bit tired of Stoheim's damn nobles, and at every turn I expected it to get into familiar territory, and of course it does, but to be honest I didn't mind, as Stroheim's familiar territory is quite suiting, and even though a lot of this film consists of footage done by another director it has that epic feeling most of his films has.

Our story is split in two, on the one side we have our regular nobleman (a count rather than a prince so there was some innovation) and on the other we have the poor circus girl (yes, of course they fall in love) and her father. The overall story goes more or less as expected, but there are some rather shocking moments throughout. It bathes in misery, and does it wonderfully, contra greed, which though pretty damn good was blown out of proportions and at times resembled misanthropic porn. But yes, The Merry-Go-Around is a drama of epic scopes, there's some simple solutions at the end, but a truly wonderful ride. 9/10.

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#44

Post by Local Hero -- aka MestnyiGeroi » May 24th, 2012, 12:34 am

Crinderman on May 23 2012, 01:34:48 PM wrote:Die Stadt ohne Juden / The City Without Jews (1924, H.K. Breslauer)
Image
"The legendary Republic of Utopia"(or rather, Vienna) is in trouble. The workers are rallying in the streets and money has lost it's value, the solution however seems fairly simple - Let's just throw out the jews. An amusing, well-constructed satire, which sadly doesn't throw the hardest punches, but was still quite a brave effort. The author of the 1922 novel it's based on, Hugo Bettauer, was murdered shortly after the premiere by a nazi supporter, and nazis attacked many of rge screenings of the actual film as well.

A lot of it's strenghts came from how accurately it presented the near future, though it was a world without nazis and gas chambers they do get to a certain core of anti-semitism. But as stated it doesn't throw the greatest punches, in fact it's more like a cute farce. I was also rather surprised that the concept of "humanity" never came up, but it never really ridicules the true evil, but rather that the country thought it could get by economically without the jews - an idea which of course would have been marvelous in a harsher satire, but feels more like a miss here. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed it, a really good film. 7.5/10.
Haven't seen this one, but your review makes it sound like a very interesting historical oddity. Thanks!

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#45

Post by jgwr » May 24th, 2012, 5:05 am

Local Hero -- aka MestnyiGeroi on May 20 2012, 05:19:36 PM wrote:How did you see Nail in the Boot and The Burning Brazier??
Nail in the Boot: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nfa4zk5es2M&
Can't help you with the other one, sorry.

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#46

Post by Local Hero -- aka MestnyiGeroi » May 25th, 2012, 4:41 am

jgwr on May 23 2012, 11:05:36 PM wrote:
Local Hero -- aka MestnyiGeroi on May 20 2012, 05:19:36 PM wrote:How did you see Nail in the Boot and The Burning Brazier??
Nail in the Boot: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nfa4zk5es2M&
Can't help you with the other one, sorry.
Fantastic! Thank you!

One of the many benefits of this site!

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#47

Post by Local Hero -- aka MestnyiGeroi » May 26th, 2012, 6:40 pm

Local Hero -- aka MestnyiGeroi on May 24 2012, 10:41:37 PM wrote:
jgwr on May 23 2012, 11:05:36 PM wrote:
Local Hero -- aka MestnyiGeroi on May 20 2012, 05:19:36 PM wrote:How did you see Nail in the Boot and The Burning Brazier??
Nail in the Boot: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nfa4zk5es2M&
Can't help you with the other one, sorry.
Fantastic! Thank you!

One of the many benefits of this site!
Wow!! What a baroque film! On the one hand, it takes its hegemonic, Stalinist message of devotion to state to absurd, record heights; on the other hand, it is a hyperbolic exercise in dynamic editing and extremely self-conscious formalism. No wonder this film was banned and stalled Kalatozov's career: it takes the propaganda message to the brink of an antagonistic parody, while engaging in very indulgent artistry.

In retrospect, it's beautifully odd and oddly beautiful.
Last edited by Local Hero -- aka MestnyiGeroi on May 26th, 2012, 6:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#48

Post by 3eyes » May 26th, 2012, 8:17 pm

Crinderman, what a great thread! Wish there were a way to bookmark/follow it.

I've been getting into silent films over the past year or so, but have only scratched the surface. The only one of these I've seen (or maybe even heard of) is Bladen av Satans Bog.
:run: STILL the Gaffer!

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#49

Post by St. Gloede » May 26th, 2012, 9:46 pm

Das indische Grabmal erster Teil 1 & 2 / Mysteries of India, part 1 & 2 (1921, Joe May)
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I can understand why Lang chose to remake this. Though written by Lang and his wife (von Harbou) who was the team behind essentially all of Lang's silents, Joe May does not manage to maintain any of the Lang/von Harbou power, nor did he add any kind of flavor of his own. As it is it's just a good enough adventure film, entertaining but little more. If you have seen The Tiger of Eschnapur and The Idian Tomb already you will notice some huge differences however, and these differences are quite interesting to compare. The most platant one being that the hero of the story isn't the young stud, but rather looking more the part of an established architect with thin grey hair, the actor himself was only 39 but he looks like he was in his 50s. And instead of his sister looking for him in the remakes it's his fiance, and that means no exotic romance for our hero as well. In this regard the story is far more believable, with really plain leads that looks the part and really not that many heroics either. Conrad Veidt is decent as the Majarajah/bad guy, and has some good scenes, but this is far from his best role. But yeah, other than the interesting casting choices in regard to the leads, there is not much to talk about here. 6/10.

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#50

Post by Limedebois » May 26th, 2012, 9:56 pm

Crinderman on May 23 2012, 02:14:00 PM wrote: Image
This frame (or pic) already deserves a 10. Curious about this one now.
Last edited by Limedebois on May 26th, 2012, 9:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#51

Post by St. Gloede » May 26th, 2012, 10:38 pm

Aelita (1924, Yakov Protazanov)
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A silly almost incoprehensible work of Russian propaganda, which unlike Nail in the Boot does not have any kind of artistic brillance to keep it afloat. Less than one 5th has anything to do with the sci-fi elements, for the most part it's just some kind of good old lovers quarrel down in soviet, followed by an utterly incomprehendible crime plot before we get thrown into space. Very little works here, but the aliens' world is rather beautiful in it's absurdity, quite expressionistic and gave promise of a much more exciting film - sadly that was not what I got. 4/10.

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#52

Post by Kowry » May 27th, 2012, 12:17 am

Funny factoid: There's a Finnish band called Cleaning Women, who make their own instruments using housekeeping items.They made an alternative score for Aelita and released an album based on it.


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#53

Post by St. Gloede » May 27th, 2012, 10:00 am

Kowry on May 26 2012, 06:17:06 PM wrote:Funny factoid: There's a Finnish band called Cleaning Women, who make their own instruments using housekeeping items.They made an alternative score for Aelita and released an album based on it.

Pretty cool. Might have liked the movie more if it used that score.

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#54

Post by St. Gloede » May 27th, 2012, 10:28 am

Brown of Harvard (1926, Jack Conway)
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The big lovable sports guy comes to Hardvard, befriends a nerd, meets a pretty girl and has to prove himself as an athlete. Yes, this is reeking with cliches and sentimentality, but it's actually one of the better films of it's kind. The cast got pretty good chemistry, and I was fascinated by how the film took a not that positive look on the otherwise ultrea-good guy heroes treatment of women, granted with some really outdated moral views behind it - but it was nice to see that he wasn't mr. perfect. It's essentially split into two acts, our lead's freshman year and sophomore year, both featuring heavily one sport he takes part in. Doesn't really feel that there's too much structure to it, but it ties together well enough.

Not quite sure how this landed on the top 50 list of the 20s (though there seems to be some evidence for vote rigging) but it's a good film. 6/10.

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#55

Post by monty » June 9th, 2012, 10:10 am

Looking forward to reading your review:

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Image
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#56

Post by St. Gloede » July 6th, 2012, 12:56 am

Damn, haven't written here for a while. Been quite busy, hardly even had time to watch any films. Well, now there's actually some months since I watched many of these films. Let's see how well I can do:

Le lion des Mogols / The Lion of the Moguls (1924, Jean Epstein)
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Epstein is really hit and miss for me. The Lion of the Moguls tells the story of a prince who flees his country after throwing is uncle out of the window and hooks up with a film crew. Epstein's artiness rarely struck a cord with me, and this is one of his odder creators. If you liked The Three-Sided Mirror you'll probably love this! I on the other hand tried as hard as I could, but failed. It manages to essentially be incomprehensibility and utterly straight forward and ultra thin at the same time. I get that the story isn't what the director cared about, and that he was just playing around with the medium, which I of course would applaud if it was closer to my own sensibilities. But if you like Epstein in general check it out.



Scaramouche (1923, Rex Ingram)
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I'd actually claim that it can hold it's own against the much more known and loved 1952 version. It was hard not to compare and I found it fascinating how different they were. While the '52 version is an action/adventure film, this is indeed, as IMDb claims, more of drama/romance - with some adventure stuff thrown in - and of course - the french revolution. Perhaps not an epic to the proportion Ingram often served us with, but he displays solid craftmanship and it does not overstay it's welcome. Your classic hero story, with swordplay, twists and romance. 8/10.

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#57

Post by Flimoni » February 23rd, 2017, 1:14 pm

I think it was an unforgettable journey, thanks for sharing! http://bigpaperwriter.com/blog/othello- ... hero-essay has some tips about Othello as a tragic hero!

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