Tag Archives: Silent Film

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Paris, 1482; the hunchbacked bell-ringer (Lon Chaney) of Notre Dame is talked into kidnapping a beautiful gypsy girl (Patsy Ruth Miller), but she’s rescued by a captain (Norman Kerry); his decision to marry her is startling to many people… One of the earliest adaptations of Victor Hugo’s novel became a blockbuster and retains its Gothic … Continue reading The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Phantom of the Opera: Horror Music of the Night

A MILLION THRILLS TO THRILL MILLIONS. In 2014, at the age of 104, Carla Laemmle died and was hailed as our last link to the silent era. The niece of Universal Pictures founder and producer Carl Laemmle, she had a bit part in The Phantom of the Opera (1925) as one of the ballet dancers … Continue reading Phantom of the Opera: Horror Music of the Night

Modern Times: His Last Silent Treat

LAUGH… CRY AND THRILL TO HIS GENIUS…! In 1931, Charlie Chaplin released City Lights and started promoting the film. His journeys that year took him to many different places. He could see the impact of the Great Depression and he also met Mahatma Gandhi, two things that would influence his next movie. During their conversations, … Continue reading Modern Times: His Last Silent Treat

Intolerance: D.W. Griffith’s Epic Revenge

THE CRUEL HAND OF INTOLERANCE.  The premiere of D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation in 1915 must have been a hurtful experience for the director. The film’s portrayal of African Americans resulted in charges of racism and incited riots in several cities. The director felt that he was being treated unfairly, and one can’t emphasize … Continue reading Intolerance: D.W. Griffith’s Epic Revenge

The Chaotic Era When Hollywood Found Sound

I recently finished Scott Eyman’s book “The Speed of Sound”, a chronicle of how sound transformed Hollywood in the late 1920s. This may all seem very stodgy since talkies have been around now for  close to 90 years… but Eyman makes us understand not only how big a change this was, but how fast it … Continue reading The Chaotic Era When Hollywood Found Sound

Sunrise: The Lure of the City

I’m currently reading ”The Speed of Sound”, Scott Eyman’s account of how sound revolutionized moviemaking in Hollywood in the late 1920s, which is why I’m also getting a bit curious about some of the films mentioned in that book. One of them is obviously a huge classic. I’m happy to have finally seen Sunrise, the … Continue reading Sunrise: The Lure of the City

Dead Wake: Lusitania and the Movies

If you’ve never read anything by Erik Larson, it is high time. I recently finished his latest, “Dead Wake”, and was as thrilled by it as the other books by him that I’ve had the pleasure of reading. The first, “The Devil in the White City” (film rights sold to Leonardo DiCaprio in 2010) followed … Continue reading Dead Wake: Lusitania and the Movies

Cabinet of Dr. Caligari: Twisted Terror

YOU MUST BECOME CALIGARI.  When I studied film, Siegfrid Kracauer’s classic book “From Caligari to Hitler” from 1947 was required reading. I don’t remember much from it, but we did see The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari in class. Kracauer drew a straight line from Caligari to the rise of totalitarianism and Adolf Hitler, viewing the … Continue reading Cabinet of Dr. Caligari: Twisted Terror