silentmoviefan

IMDb member since December 2006
    Lifetime Total
    75+
    IMDb Member
    13 years

Reviews

Tentacles of the North
(1926)

Parts are Missing, but They Might Not Have Helped All That Much
It's painfully obvious that parts of this film are missing.

The opening of the movie shows a fancy/shmancy gathering in which you see the captain toasting an upcoming expedition. The next thing you know, he's lying dead on the floor! (Are we missing something here?) Toward the end, when the baddies are done away with (and are they EVER done away with!), it seems that...the actual event doesn't seem to happen in real time.

The leading man and leading lady escape and the next thing you know, they're in their home(?).

That's why I think parts of the film are missing.

But I also said the parts might not have helped this much...

In the final scene, the leading man cusses. You don't see the swear words, but you do see a bunch of symbols indicating swearing. I was not impressed! I'd go into more detail on this, but why bother? It's terrible! The only reason I don't give it a "1" is that Alice Calhoun, the leading lady, looks cute in her parka.

Pardon My Gun
(1930)

Um, Just Who Is the Leading Lady?
Mona Ray isn't the leading lady of this film.

At least she isn't supposed to be. However, she gets most of the screen time. She might have been considered cute then, but I don't think she was really.

You look at the title "Pardon My Gun" and you think it's a Western, but it really isn't.

The band dressed in cowboy clothes wasn't a cowboy band. I read somewhere that it was a regular band that competed with the Paul Whiteman band for supremacy.

Mona shows up fairly early in the film and dominates action from then on. She even sings a song that I guess is supposed to be a vamp song. I don't feel vamped.

A fair amount of this movie is a show at a dance in the barn. The dance, incidentally, is in honor of Mona Ray's character, Peggy.

Another thing about this movie I didn't like was how the cook was treated. He gets picked in just about every scene. He also has a pet frog that has several little frogs in the final scene of the film. That's how it ends.

Tom Keene, the leading man of the film is rescued by Peggy and two boys. That's not really leading man material in my opinion. He was still known as George Duryea then.

A year before this, he was in a Cecile B. DeMille film "The Godless Girl". See that one instead of this one. It's a much better movie!

The Rodeo
(1929)

Two Things Going for It and Neither One Are Laughs
This was a short at the end of the DVD which included the really good The Duchess of Buffalo (1926). It really shouldn't have been included at all.

On the DVD cover, it said that the short starred The Smith Family. When I saw this, I thought "Neat! I've never heard of them. This ought to be interesting".

I changed my mind when I saw that "The Smith Family" was the name of most of the characters and it was a late Sennett offering.

Part of me wanted to stop, but I kept watching for two reasons.

The presence of Mary Ann Jackson. The future Our Gang star was in it and I found that interesting. I hadn't known she was in any silents until I saw her in this.

The second reason is the presence of a radio. Radio had been around for a while, but they still weren't all that common then.

That's how they hear about the rodeo. A guy dressed in cowboy gear, shoots off two guns and yells at the top of his lungs. The family, most of whom apparently didn't know there was a radio in the house, ducked underneath the table when they heard the gunshots.

Just so you'll know, they never make it to the rodeo. If you're still interesting in seeing this after reading what I had to say, watch and see why that is the case.

I'm giving it a "2" since it had two things going for it.

The Duchess of Buffalo
(1926)

I'm Not Really a Constance Talmadge Fan, But I Did Like This
She might have been the sweetest person in Hollywood, but being a die-hard Buster Keaton fan, I didn't like how she had their son's surname changed.

Now that you know that, on to the movie.

She is really, really good in this. She plays a flirty American dancer and while touring in Russia catches the eye of a dragoon and his Grand Duke.

As others have already said, it's obvious this is before the Russian Revolution because the dragoon, who apparently has caught Constance's eye, must get permission from the Grand Duke.

I couldn't really see that happening in the Russia of 1926, could you? Well, the dragoon's Grand Duke is in favor of this - until her hears that it's Constance! He informs the dragoon that a Russian officer cannot marry someone like her. The dragoon, pretty danged stuck on Constance, offers to resign his commission, so the Grand Duke has him detained for a three-day period.

While the dragoon is up attempting to get permission, Constance rides the sleigh to wherever she's staying and orders dinner. She expects the dragoon to join her. Someone does eventually show up, but it's the Grand Duke, already a married man, by the way.

She does make it clear to the Grand Duke that she is not interested. Before he has left the premises, he hears her say that she is going on to Orel. He makes plans to go there, too. Orel looks like it's going to be a little bit crowded because his wife, after he informs her he's going there, decides to go, too.

His wife, the Grand Duchess sends a communication to the motel informing them that she is coming. Chester Conklin, who plays the motel manager, is the only other person besides Constance in this movie that I'm familiar with.

Somehow, the dragoon escapes and he and Constance arrive at the motel. Chester thinks she's the grand duchess and not only does he give her an official greeting, but so does every member of his staff.

Eventually, a soldier does come there with the mission of arresting the dragoon. Connie, still posing as the Grand Duchess, gets him out of that. Things do get a little rougher, though, when another dragoon decides that a banquet for her is in order.

During the banquet, the Grand Duke shows up. The dragoon slips away. The Grand Duke plays along, up to the point of following her to her bedroom.

Constance and the Grand Duke are in there with the dragoon watching. He gets bitten majorly by the green-eyed monster watching this, but then a knock on the door happens. The real Grand Duchess shows up! The dragoon hides. Before long, the Grand Duke, not really wanting to be caught with Constance, hides, too. The dragoon comes out and covers for the Grand Duke while the Grand Duke slips out the back, combs his hair and greets his wife back at the front door.

The Grand Duke, greatly relieved at not being caught, arranges for the dragoon and Constance to ride off and live happily ever after, which they apparently do.

It is worth your time to watch this one, so please do.

Tarzan and the Golden Lion
(1927)

Not Bad, But Not Wings
Really, this isn't a bad movie. It has plenty of action and excitement in it.

I guess when the actor who played Tarzan in this turned down "Wings" to do it and mentioned how much better "Wings" did in the box office, Edgar Rice Burroughs probably said "Well, you've got my daughter, don't you?" This is different from other Tarzan movies. In this, Tarzan has a bride, but it's not his wife, it's Lady Greystoke! Um, if they're married, why aren't they living together? His sister and Lady Greystoke...er Mrs. Tarzan are being accompanied by Tarzan's adventuring friend to see Tarzan.

Not too long after that, a guy who reminds me of Old Ben Gun (of Treasure Island) makes an appearance. His name is Gordon and he has escaped from an awful tribe whose bosses are called "Sons of the Sun" (Gosh, how original!).

Tarzan brings Gordon back to his place and is seen in a coat and tie (huh?). Gorden tells the tale and some evil men headed up by a very tall guy named Esteban are after Tarzan's treasure, but change their minds after hearing Gordon tell how there are many diamonds over where The Sons of the Sun reside.

While Tarzan is away with his pet lion, Jab, Esteban and his henchmen come in and kidnap Tarzan's sister. Esteban also tells Gordon he needs to lead him and his henchmen to where the diamonds are.

One other disturbing thing about Gordon. His clothing resembles a dress. I'm sure that's not what was intended.

Gordon leads them there, but Tarzan's sister is kidnapped and prepared to be sacrificed to the Sons of the Sun's god.

The Sons of the Sun kill Gordon, but before he dies, he tells Tarzan, who just happens to discover him in time, what has happened, so Tarzan and his minions head that way.

Tarzan's outfit. It really does look like the get-up Elmo Lincoln wore in the original movie of nearly 10 years earlier.

In the meantime, things are sure not looking good for Tarzan's sister. To sacrifice her, the Sons of the Sun plan to feed her to their lion. The Lion is just about to open his mouth and Tarzan arrives just in time with his group.

In that group is Jab, the lion. After Tarzan's sister avoids being fed to another lion, another Son of the Sun decides to do something unkind to her, but Jab has himself some lunch in the form of that Son of the Sun.

Tarzan does win and all ends well and there's lot of adventure, but it deserves no better than a "6".

Markens grøde
(1921)

Ends Nicely, But I Do Have Some Questions
This movie, overall not a bad film, although it was quite a bit longer than it said on the container it came in...

That's neither here or there. Like I said, it's not a bad film. It's not a great film either, though.

First of all, there's a scene in the movie when the leading lady, named Inger, gives birth to a baby girl, sees it has a hair lip and buries it alive.

Okay, that much is understandable.

But Isak, the leading man, comes home from working the soil with their other two children in tow, on the day that Inger has murdered the baby girl with the hair lip and Isak doesn't even ask where the baby he surely knew his wife was going to have is. He did know that Inger was pregnant, right? Now for the second question. Inger is sentenced to eight years in jail for manslaughter. When the gendarmes come to pick her up, the other two children are there with her, but you never see them again! Where did they go? Did wolves get them? Did they get adopted? What? Inger gives birth in prison. Apparently Isak is the father. With what looks like a six-year-old girl in tow, she comes back to Isak. Still no sign of the other two children.

Those are two definite holes in that script! As for the movie itself, Isak decides to civilize a previously uncivilized area. Inger shows up, leaves for a while, comes back with a cow, Isak somehow comes back with a horse to the house.

Two meanies are also in the movie. Oline, a distant relative of Ingers and a guy who wears a hat that looks very much like the ones Elbonians wear in the comic strip "Dilbert".

Oline sees Inger bury the baby and tells Isak about it. For all his good points, strength, initiative, foresight, how could he not have missed the baby before Oline came and told him about it? The movie does end well, Isak and Inger put an arm around the other party and look around. That's why it gets a "6", but there are definite holes in the plot!

How Fatty Made Good
(1913)

Cruel Humor That Would Probably Work Today!
There's no two ways about it: This is a cruel, cruel movie! Back then, it was said that people laughed at different things than they do today, but now we've come around full circle. It's not that silent movies are popular with the people of today, but it's short enough and the humor cruel enough to make it a hit.

Before I explain what I meant by the above remarks, I do have an issue with the date of this film. In 1915, a movie came out called "How Molly Made Good" and I just don't that movie borrowed its title from this one.

Now, about the cruel humor, first of all, poor doomed Hughie Mack (died at age 41 of a heart attack, poor fellow) has the seat in his pants torn out and that's at the start of this film.

At the start of the film, the girl in the film (I believe there was just one) tells Hughie she wants an apple for the tall tree and laughs at him as he does it. In the meantime, a skinny guy, not a whole lot more handsome overall than Hughie, brings the girl an apple, which she starts to eat. Not too long after that, Hughie falls out of the tree. Gosh, what funny stuff - not! The girl is like a lot of girls, if she can do better for herself, or thinks she can, she will. The skinny guy takes her to a show and she becomes enamored with the actor playing the hero. After the play, she meets up with the actor and gives the skinny guy the air.

Before taking the girl to the show, the skinny guy kind of roughs up Hughie, so he goes and learns to fight, taking fighting lessons, and becomes pretty good at it.

The actor, like a lot of men that ladies seem to like, is not a very nice guy and wants to have his way with the girl. The girl isn't interested in this.

For some reason, they rent a carriage. Hughie knocks the driver out of it (after the actor and girl board) and gets the horse to go in a full-fledged gallop.

When Hughie stops the vehicle. The actor wants to fight, so Hughie obliges him. At first, the girl is for the actor, but then as Hughie starts winning and keeps winning, she changes her mind and chooses Hughie.

Hughie eventually chases the actor off into the distance and then he ad the girl ride off in the distance.

To be honest with you, girls like that are not worth one's time, no matter how pretty they might be.

But the humor in it is cruel. People seem to like cruel humor these days, so it just might work today...

I give it a "3", only because Hughie at least starred in it.

Der brennende Acker
(1922)

Women Prefer the Jerk in this Movie
Johannes, a character in the film, is a jerk. He doesn't care about people, he doesn't care about this, he uses women...the list goes on and on...

Yet, three of the main women in this movie, in fact, the three main women in this movie love him, because after all, he's handsome...

First there's Gerda, the daughter of a count who oversees some serfs (of which Johannes is one). Gerda, played by probably the most famous actress of the lot, Lya de Putti, spends times with Johannes and vice versa.

There there's Helga, the count's current wife. Being younger, Gerda is better looking, but she unknowingly sabotages herself when she gets Johannes a job as her father's secretary.

One day the count dictates his will to Johannes and the latter learns that Helga is to inherit something called "The Devil's Field", which Johannes knows is rich in oil. He drops Gerda like a bad habit and takes up with Helga. In fact, the count catches them in an embrace. The count, a much better sport that I would have been in this situation, asks each if they love the other. They both say they do.

Johannes has already done quite a bit I addition to making time with these ladies. He is late to his father's passing and informs his brother, Tom, that he doesn't want to work the farm, like Tom will.

There's a young lady named Maria who one day shows up and asks Tom for a job. He agrees. Later on in the film, Tom asks Maria to marry him. Maria then informs him that she wanted the job because Johannes would be there! Getting back to Johannes and Helga, it's a loveless marriage. After all, Johannes didn't want Helga, he wanted the money from the oil at "The Devil's Field" and gets financial backing to excavate the oil.

While he knows about the oil, Helga doesn't and sells it to Tom for 12,000 marks. Johannes sees the money and asks Helga where it came from. When Helga tells him, he freaks out and informs her that she must cancel the sale. Helga figures out, finally, that Johannes never really loved her. He later informs Gerda the same was true of her, too.

Helga goes to Tom and gets the sale canceled, then (off-camera) commits suicide. Amazingly, Johannes feels really bad as her dead body is deposited in the serf's house.

Gerda, in the meantime, decides to take revenge and blows up "The Devil's Field". Johannes is all repentant (possibly because of the suicide of Helga?). The field is not completely ruined and Johannes is welcomed back to the serf's home.

It gets a "9" and not a "10" only because Johannes doesn't get his.

The Lucky Devil
(1925)

Old Racing Cars!
I just love old racing cars and this movie has them! The race is the best thing in this movie, but there's plenty else to like too.

The leading actor in it is great in whatever he does, in my opinion. In this movie, he demonstrates camping equipment in a department store. That is his job. Part of it is a car he's really got his eye on. He really wants this car, too. The father of the owner of the car donates it to a Girl Scouts lottery. The leading actor buys 50 tickets. Not surprisingly, he wins the car and awaaaaaaay he goes.

He decides he's going camping, even though he doesn't even know how to pitch a tent.

When he arrives at his destination, there's the pretty Esther Walton and one of my all-time favorite actresses Edna May Oliver, as her aunt.

I don't know what it is about Edna May Oliver. I have just always liked her. I guess it was those old cartoons that satirized her.

Anyway, Esther takes a shine to him, but Edna May does not! She gets the funny idea (like some women do) that he is interested in Edna May. Nopers! Edna May and Esther are on their way to a small town in the area to meet Esther's uncle (Edna May's brother?) and find out that the uncle is to use an expression my father uses "Crazier than a bessy bug" and resides in a sanitarium. They sold all their possessions to make the trip, so they're stuck.

The main character doesn't know it yet, but he's stuck, too. An older fella stole his wallet.

Edna May, Esther and the main character end up in the same motel. The main character stays because the proprietor thinks he's from a wealthy family. The main character wants to help out (because of Esther).

While at a garage, he learns that there's a automobile race with a $10,000 payoff for first prize. That would really help them out (not to mention him).

He needs $100 to enter and sees his chance in lasting two rounds with a gentleman listed a boxing champion of South Australia.

Here is something else to like: The gentleman playing the boxer was a guy named Gunboat Smith, who I believe was an actual boxer at one time.

The main character lasts the two rounds and enters the race. Along about this time, the proprietor finds out he is not from a rich family and has the constable keep and eye on him and his car.

This main character thinks fast when the constable shows up and takes him along for the ride. Despite obstacles put up by some evil drivers, the main character wins the race (in a neat way you'll need to see the movie to see) and gets the girl.

I love old racing cars, so I'll give it a "7". I'd say it's really worth your while to check out.

Fangs of Vengeance
(1926)

Nothing Wrong With This Movie a Few Title Cards Wouldn't Have Helped
I saw this film last night. It was the back end of a DVD that included the feature "His Master's Voice".

Fangs of Vengeance gets as much only as a "5" because of the dog. He's great. He's fast. I'm not a dog person, but I do like that dog.

But I found it all a bit confusing. Perhaps audiences of 1926 understood what was going on when men started fighting, but I frankly would have liked to have known what was going on.

One part that I could understand though, is apparently some guys are trying to bilk an older fella out of some valuable property he owns. They get the old man to sign it, but the dog, pretty danged brilliant apparently, starts chasing the bad guy who has the signed deed, knocks him down, gets it back and brings it back to the older fella. The final shot is of the dog, who is clearly the star of this short.

One thing does puzzle me, though. There's a guy with a mustache in this film who hangs around the bad guy, so I think he's a bad guy. Yet, he is in the final shot with the older fella, a girl (his daughter?), the dog's owner and the dog. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm.

If you like seeing fast athletic dogs in action, go ahead and watch it. It's about 14 minutes long.

Romance
(1930)

Sad, But Not Bad
This isn't a bad film, not at all.

I did find it a little sad, but that's mostly the ending and I'll get to that later.

Garbo is in and yes, she is beautiful. I enjoyed her attempt at an Italian accent. She gave it the ol' college try, so to speak.

It's interesting, too, to see Lewis Stone in a non-fatherly or grandfatherly role. He's a bit of a rogue, in fact, because Garbo is his mistress (and not of ceremonies, either!).

Gavin Gordon? Never heard of him before this. I thought he was very good as the grandfather advising his grandson about romance. He's okay as the leading man. I can understand Garbo's wanting Gary Cooper for her leading man. He's "Yep's" would have been better than Gavin Gordon.

In this movie, he falls for her (foreign women have a way of doing that) and she says she loves him, too. As best she can, she probably did.

As the grandfather advises his grandson to follow his own heart, he mentions that Garbo's character became a nun and had died not too long before his grandson approached him for said advice.

I would say it would be interesting to watch.

The Hoosier Schoolmaster
(1924)

Poverty Row, For Sure, but Not a Bad Film, Really
You can tell, even without the title card, that this is a poverty row film.

How can you tell? The leading lady and the other two female actors in it are not good looking! I'm not saying they're not good actresses, the actress playing the mother can give some of the best dirty looks I've seen in an picture.

But I felt sorry for the title character, having to do love scenes with a homely woman! I'll bet he probably thought "ugggh!" before kissing her and I wouldn't blame him.

But, as stated in my title, this isn't a bad film. It's very interesting to get a glimpse of how life probably was back then.

The Hoosier Schoolmaster comes to the small town of Flat Bend to ply his trade. A family called Means takes him in. The mother (the one who gives the great dirty looks) wants him to marry her daughter, who is the homeliest of the three I've named (and that's saying something!).

In addition to the patriarch, matriarch and homely sister, there's also a "pa" and two brothers. What's neat is one of these brothers is the only actor in this movie I had heard of prior to watching, Nat Pendleton. Pendleton who won the gold medal in the 1920 Olympic Games in Antwerp, went on to make a name for himself in gangster pictures. He proves to be a good guy in this one, though.

Also, in residence is the leading lady, an orphan girl "bound out" (whatever that means) to the family. The Hoosier Schoolmaster gets interested in her, which displeases the mother and results in some of those aforementioned dirty looks.

There have been a lot of thefts in the area. As it turns out, none other than the local doctor and his assistant as well as two mean-looking guys with the surname Jones are the leaders of the gang.

Another robbery occurs and the community is out for blood! They want to hang somebody! The chief suspect (I've already told you who did it) is a War of 1812 veteran who reminds me of old Ben Gun from the 1934 movie Treasure Island. He's keeping the "bound out" girl's little brother named Shocky, probably so-named for the shock of hair on his head.

The schoolmaster and Pendleton enable the War of 1812 veteran to escape and the schoolmaster stays behind to face the mob. He fights the off.

The mob, led by one of the Jones boys, an actor who can snarl about as well as I've seen an actor snarl, decide to go and hang the schoolmaster. The schoolmaster, despite some resistance, manages to beat the mob to the house of the justice of the peace, known as the Squire. The schoolmaster asks the squire to arrest him and put him in protective custody.

The mob gets there shortly thereafter and despite, the squire's best efforts, they're about to take the schoolmaster to hang him, anyway. Pendleton shows up in time, rifle in hand, to send the mob away.

The squire calls for a trial. The prosecutor, a well-fed-looking chap, gets enough people to lie under oath to get the schoolmaster, who is acting as his own lawyer, feeling the heat.

Just in time, Pendleton (see what I mean from his being a good guy in this one?) shows up just in time with the doctor's assistant in tow. The assistant eventually confesses to all. The crowd turns against the guilty parties and want to hang them, but the schoolmaster calls off the mob and says they should receive a fair trial, too.

Shortly thereafter, he and the leading lady (ugh!) kiss and that's the end.

It's Poverty Row, all right, but still a good enough movie to warrant a look.

Der Student von Prag
(1913)

Definitely Worth a Look
In watching this film last night, instantly comparisons came to mind with the 1927 version starring Conrad Veidt.

Overall, I believe it compares pretty favorably. First of all, it's not such a downer. The Veidt version starts with a picture of his character's gravestone. It also ends with the gravestone.

This one starts with a scene in the courtyard of the college. A lot of extras were used in this scene.

Another thing this one has over the later version is it's better at explaining what's going on. In one scene, Paul Wegener's double goes to kill the girl's Wegener likes' fiancée and you have a nice title card explaining that. The later version does not.

It's also interesting to see Wegener in his pre-Golem days. I wouldn't call him handsome, but he doesn't look anywhere near as fierce.

Still another thing this version has over the latter one is the appearance of Scapanelli. Poor doomed John Gottowot looks much more like an evil presence than the one in the latter version.

Wegener's death scene is nowhere near as spectacular as Veidt's in the latter version. In fact, in watching this, I thought he had stabbed himself, but I wasn't sure until Wegener fell to the ground.

Gottowot is in the final scene and he pulls it off really, really well. I'll let you see what I'm talking about.

Overall, I liked it quite a bit, better than the Veidt version.

The Speed Kings
(1913)

An Awesome View of Some Early Racing Drivers
As a racing fan, I really, really loved this movie! The reason? Besides Mabel Normand looking especially beautiful in this film, is the presence of racing drivers "Terrible" Teddy Tetzlaff, Earl Cooper and Barney Oldfield.

Mabel likes Tetzlaff (who I'll bet really enjoyed this role, I would have!) while her father, played by Ford Sterling, prefers she marry Cooper. Oldfield, probably a bigger name than both of them at the time, is in one shot, but it was neat to see him behind the wheel of a vehicle.

Ford doesn't want Teddy to win the race, so that his daughter might not favor him, so he damages Teddy's engine.

The race unfolds, Teddy's car breaks down (due to Ford's deviltry) and Cooper drives to victory.

Before the race is over, Mabel interferes with the starter, played by Fatty Arbuckle. Fatty gets kind of rough with Mabel and Ford starts hitting Fatty until he lets go of Mabel.

Cooper wins the race, Mabel still loves Teddy and Ford still kicks Fatty around.

In real life, if Mabel had married Tetzlaff, she would have been a widow for a year or so, since Tetzlaff died of cancer in 1929. If she had married Cooper, Cooper would have been her widower for 35 years as he passed away in 1965.

In any event, I love early racing, this movie has it, so it gets a "10".

Excuse My Dust
(1920)

Check Out Theodore Roberts in a Racing Driver's Uniform!
I like racing, especially old racing films.

The racing is the best part of this film. I'm glad Theodore Roberts' character won the race. What makes me laugh is that seeing him in that racer's uniform reminds me of a high school baseball team whose head coach was the superintendent! I'll bet they really had to work to get make one large enough for him to fit in! This is a sequel to "The Roaring Road". The opening title card tells you as much (without coming right out and saying it).

Like I said, the racing is great, but as for some other things...

Why on earth would a racing star go by the name "Toodles"? I only heard that name one other time in my entire life and that was when Bugs Bunny was calling someone that in a disparaging way.

Also, his wife wants him to give up racing. Um, shouldn't that have been discussed before they said "I do"? That scene were Wallace (even calling him "Wallace" would have been better than calling him "Toodles") "almost kills his son". Um...no he didn't. I feel rather certain, even though he died 40 years before I was born, that Wallace Reid would not have put his son in any real danger.

This film is okay. The racing comes at the end and all turns out well.

The House of Shame
(1928)

Miss Crabtree's Brother at His Worst!
Creighton Hale was in a bunch of silent movies, but I remember him best as the man who played Miss Crabtree's brother in an early 1930's Our Gang. (Miss Crabtree was the Gang's teacher).

In this movie, he plays a husband who's gone wrong! He actually, and I'm not making this up, sells his wife to his boss! It's not for her to be his slave and obey his every command, but for sex! He had a marvelous speaking voice, but it would not have been worthy of him in this movie! It would have been a sniveling, kind of nasal tone.

Virginia Brown Faire! This movie gets an "5" because she doesn't go through with "it". It would be lower, because this really isn't that good a movie, but I give it a "5" because Virginia doesn't go through with it. I shudder to think how a movie in this day and age would have played out with this kind of plot! We see what kind of contemptible person Creighton is early on. He won't pay for his wife to have a pretty new dress, but he will buy a rather expensive necklace for Doris, who he wants to...bed. (Ick!) It doesn't stop there. He throws a party, not expecting for his wife to be there, in which the name of every woman at the party is put on a pool ball and the name on the ball you sink is who you get for the night. (Sort of a precursor to key parties...) Doris walks in and not too long after that, the gendarmes show up. Creighton thinks that the police are there to arrest him and he begs Virginia to go to his boss on his behalf. Virginia agrees to.

So she goes to his boss, played by Frank Whillock to negotiate her husband not being sent to where he frankly belongs, jail! Frank wastes no time telling him that he would forget the charges against her husband if she would go to bed with him.

Eventually, Virginia learns that she had been sold to Frank. Frank, unlike Creighton, has a good side. He's the one that tells Virginia about it all. Virginia then drives back to the home she shares with Creighton.

She overhears Creighton, who arrives later, on the phone telling Doris to come on over, that he has the money ($50,000) so that they can go away and do what they want in their own love nest.

Virginia comes out, compliments him on his coup and asks about the money, being as seductive as she can (which really wasn't much). She gets the check away from him and lets him have it (verbally).

Not too long after that, Doris shows up. She expresses surprise at Virginia being there. Virginia then tells her what's going on and tells Doris she is welcome to her husband. Doris says "Not without his fortune!" and leaves.

For some reason, which is why I don't think this isn't that good a movie, she falls for Frank, the guy who paid for her! Virginia, you don't deserve a Santa Claus!

Really, without Virginia saying "no", this is a "2" at most. Don't waste you time with this.

Carmen
(1918)

I'm Not Sure This Version Isn't Better Than the DeMille Version
In watching this movie, which I first heard of during that 1996 documentary Cinema Europe, I found myself comparing it to the 1915 version starring opera star Geraldine Farrar.

Geraldine, you were talented, but Pola Negri has you beat and beat bad in a heads-up comparison.

First of all, there's looks. Leading ladies during a good bit of the silent movie era weren't very pretty. Geraldine Farrar, for all her talent, was not blessed in the looks department. Pola Negri, was, very much so.

Geraldine Farrar's best moment in the DeMille "Carmen" was when a soldier tries to butt in on her and Wallace Reid while they're sharing an embrace. Geraldine gives him a "NO!" look that gets the message across but good.

Pola had lots of neat moments. One I remember is when Harry Liedtke (Don Jose) expresses the desire to shoot her and she stands there and stretches her arms out. He can't do (at the time).

Besides Pola being so much better-looking than Gerladine Farrar it's not even funny, the story gives you lots of background into Don Jose's background. We get to know him. In the DeMille "Carmen", Wallace Reid is introduced as a guardsman at an entrance to the city.

Then there's the death scene. Farrar's is a neat as a pin, which is probably what Mr. DeMille wanted.

Pola's Carmen? After Don Jose stabs her, she lets out a yell and then writhes around before dying. It was a DEATH SCENE! If you only have time to watch one "Carmen", pick this one. You won't be sorry!

Dream Street
(1921)

Dempster Shines, But It Does Have Weak Points
Carol Dempster, as she did in The Love Flower (1920), shines once again. As Gypsy Fair in this movie, she has a sprite-like quality and she does that well. She also looks pretty in several different shots.

However...

Charles Emmett Mack, that poor fellow who died at age 27 in 1927...is made to look...like a freak. I've seen him in other movies where he looked just fine, but in this one, I'm glad he made other movies before his demise.

Ralph Forbes is pretty much the star of this thing. He, however, is where more inconsistencies take place. I'll bet this was not his favorite movie. At times, he looks positively goofy! Those two reasons, among others, are why I'm only giving this movie a "6".

But, ah, Carol Dempster! She has been subject to criticism by an awful lot of people, but her sprite-like quality shines through. Perhaps that was her nice. I know in "Sally of the Sawdust" (1925)...she looks rather...slow.

In this movie, though, she proves she can dance and looks rather good in her costume.

One thing that personally disappointed me about the DVD this was on is that it lacked the sound introduction by D.W. Griffith. I was hopeful...

Getting to the movie itself, three other guys share my view about Gypsy Fair being a fair maiden. Forbes, Mack and a Chinaman.

While Dempster shines, she does something really, really STUPID in this movie. She turns the Chinaman in to the police and as he's being arraigned, she comes by, strikes a feminine pose and suggests to him that he not go after white girls.

I'm not even Chinese and that offended me! Also, how stupid she could be, letting that Chinaman (who was also a criminal) know she turned him in! Forbes makes a play for Gypsy Fair. She's not interested at first. He gets forceful and she resists, at first.

Mack? He's just as interested, but can't really be considered seriously because of his appearance.

Mack pulls a gun on his brother, Forbes, in the name of an oath that he swore he would kill anyone who touched Gypsy Fair (I guess, incorrectly). Forbes talks him out of it.

However, Mack does kill a rather ugly henchman of the Chinaman. I'll give Griffith credit in casting here. The guy who killed looked hideous! Not too long after Mack kills him, Forbes comes around and learns of Mack's deed. Because Mack is weak, he'll take the rap.

To make a long story short, Forbes is on trial in deep, dark serious trouble. At the last moment, Mack confesses and points out that the man he killed was attempting to rob him.

At the end, we see, Forbes and Fair have married and produced a young 'un. I'll give Griffith more credit here. That was a dang cute kid! It gets the "6" due to Dempster's performance. She really does shine though all the inconsistencies.

Fools of Fate
(1909)

Title Cards on This One Are...Unique!
This film, in and of itself, is not very good. That's what it gets a "3" from me.

But there is something that makes this film stand out from any other silent film I've ever seen - the title cards! Before I delve into those, I will tell you where I saw this. It was on a DVD, a short after a D.W. Griffith feature, Dream Street (1921).

Fools of Fate starts out with the neat Biograph title. Instantly after that, you see another title card, just for an instant. I'm sure it said the same thing, but it wasn't with the nice neat Biograph title.

But that's not all...

During the course of the action, a title card appears, with the word "TITLE" in capital letters diagonally.

To nutshell the part of the film before the next (and last) unique title card appears. The wife of a guy has written him a letter that she now loves another. As he's reading the letter, here comes the other unique title card...the word "LETTER" in capital letters diagonally! As for the film itself, there's not much to say. Of course, if the title cards are the things that stand out far and away the most on a film, that should give you some hint about it.

I'll let you know, the spurned guy takes a gun and goes to the house of the guy his wife has left him for...However, the man she left her husband for is also the same man that saved the husband's life, so he can't bring himself to shoot the trigger. Distraught, the husband wishes the other man well and leaves.

The wife then goes to the man she's chosen. He'll have nothing to do with her, so she goes home. Before she goes home, however, the husband commits suicide. The wife comes home and finds the body. She now looks distraught...

THE END It's only nine minutes, but you have better things to do with your time than watch this movie. I rated it as high as a "3" only because of the unique title cards.

Head Winds
(1925)

It Doesn't Lack for Action
This movie doesn't stand still long enough to ever get dull for very long.

House Peters plays Peter Rosslyn, a rich guy who owns a yacht and has only Chinese crewmen because they are subservient and loyal. (Racial stereotype?) He's in a relationship with Patsy Ruth Miller, who made her mark by playing the gypsy in the Lon Chaney version of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame". In this movie, she has shorter hair, but as I understand it, that was the style then.

She wants Peter to propose. He's a bit reluctant, though. He's headstrong and stubborn, but so is she. A fortune hunter named Worthington Dean proposes and she accepts.

We next see Peter meeting with what I guess is his brain trust, the Van Pelt brothers. They've let Peter know that Worthington has proposed (Peter was on his yacht at the time) and he lets them know he'll try to do something about it.

It's not really certain what exactly he does, but he has Worthington somehow restrained. He then sort of kidnaps Patsy Ruth, who is none too pleased. He tries to get her to be subservient and she's even less pleased about that.

Not too long after this, the Van Pelt brothers, who have apparently restrained Worthington. However, Worthington breaks free and says he will take Patsy Ruth back if it takes the U.S. Navy.

Just about the next thing we see are naval ships heading toward his yacht. Panicked, Peter shoots at them, but they come on board and try Peter on kidnapping charges.

Patsy Ruth has a look that could kill on her face as she approaches the trial and points an accusing finger at Peter. The naval court finds him guilty and he's just about to be hung!! About that time he wakes up. It was all a dream. Eventually, he and Patsy Ruth get close and a storm comes up. Patsy Ruth ends up all wet and sick. Peter, not quite the heel he's made out to be after all, has her seen about.

In about a week or so, Patsy Ruth is on the mend and the nurse caring for her tells her that Peter had stolen her away from Worthington. She and Peter hug and that's the end.

I gave this movie a "7". It would have gotten higher, but the action...too much of a good thing, really.

Wolfheart's Revenge
(1925)

Wait! Isn't There Supposed to Be...?
This movie turns into a pretty good action yarn before it's through...

However, it's through before its time! Among other things, isn't the hero supposed to be reunited with his leading lady? The villain, a nasty guy named Blake, appears to be dealt with. Jack, the hero, is shown running back up a hill when...

THE END!! Hold on a minute here. He's not through! It looks like the film company ran out of film...

I'm glad I read the cast line-up. For some reason, I had Guinn "Big Boy" Williams as Blake, but instead he's Jack.

Then there's the dog, Strongheart. He not only is athletic, he's pretty darn smart, too! Without seeing Blake shoot Williams, the sheep guy, he knows that Blake did it! If this had taken place in London England, Sherlock Holmes would have had to go smell pipes or something...

A cattleman needs water for his cattle. He dispatches Blake over to Williams with a $5,000 check to purchase the water. Williams doesn't want to see and once Blake learns that Williams has no intention of selling the water, he gets behind a tree and shoots Williams dead! For shame! Blake then makes matters worse be telling the cattleman that Williams took the money and agreed to sell the water. The cattleman finds out differently and is none to pleased.

Blake, one mean hombre(!) tries to pin the murder on Jack. Jack's about to be hung before some people intervene.

Like in most Westerns, there's a lady involved. She's not bad-looking and is the niece of the cattleman. She is who Jack should be reunited with before the end of the picture.

The place I purchased this movie from had quite a bit of nerve in selling this thing! It doesn't have the end! The reason I gave this movie a "6" is because of the action up to it.

A Girl's Folly
(1917)

I Really Liked This Film
This is a truly fascinating film.

Being a fan of silent movies like I am, I just loved the sort of inside look this movie gives. Sure, I'd never heard of the studio and had barely heard of Fort Lee, New Jersey at the time. It was so awesome seeing what one was like during that early time period, when features were just coming in to fruition.

Another thing that was neat is here's the young lady who barely ventures outside of her house and there's a movie being made. That's sort of dream-like in a way.

Still another thing I liked was a scene with a mouse. I know I'm in the minority when it comes to mice, but I think domesticated mice are really cute. This scene, which really doesn't advance the film, features a white mouse loose in what I guess is the young lady's home, where four of her sisters(?). Being a white mouse, it most likely isn't wild to start with. After realizing he really isn't wanted there, the mouse tries to escape, but is too fat to fit in the first hole he sees. Eventually, he does escape and the four girls heave a collective sigh of relief.

As for the movie, it's a little hard to follow in the beginning due to nitrate deterioration. Before she stumbles into the movie, he resides in a sort of fantasy world in which she imagines being a damsel in olden days and being joined by Prince Charming. A farm boy who lives nearby bursts the bubble of fantasy, however, displeasing her immensely.

Not too long after that she stumbles onto the set. At first, she draws the ire of director, cast and crew, but leading man Robert Warwick suggests giving her a shot in the movies (no pun intended).

However, this is not a later Hollywood movie in which the leading lady becomes a big star. She doesn't make it, but Warwick keeps her around as a kept woman.

Her mother, missing her daughter (and possibly not liking the idea of her little girl being a kept woman) comes to see her and the girl makes her way back home.

This movie has so much to like, so I'm giving it a high rating.

The Love Flower
(1920)

One of the Best Movies I've Ever Seen!
This film might not be that well-known, but I thought it was awesome! I think it was awesome because I could just could never tell what will happen next.

Usually, and I love silent movies, you can tell form 10 miles away what will happen, but not this one.

George MacQuarrie plays a man catches his wife's boyfriend in his house and shoots him to death. Using a gun, he is able to get away with his daughter, Carol Dempster to an island other than the one thee movie starts in.

One word about Dempster in this movie. Most I've read about her has been negative, but she really shines in this movie.

Eventually, the law, headed by by Anders Randolf, is contacted about the death and he plans to bring MacQuarrie to justice.

While that's going on, MacQuarrie and his daughter are living an idyllic existence on the island. During part of the time, MacQuarie times how long his daughter can keep her breath underwater. This will come in handy.

During this time they discover Richard Bathelmess, who is a on vacation and winds up at the island. Eventually, he and Dempster develop a relationship.

One day, it's her father's birthday and she bakes him a cake. However, Randolf arrives. Dempster thinks that Barthelmeess contacted him and stares at him in one of the best looks I've seen anyone give someone else in a movie. She's so mad, she tears up Richard's boat so he can't get away.

Dempster loves her father more than anyone. In fact, she tries to drown Randolf in an attempt to save her father. Randolf, being stronger is able to get away.

I will tell you that Dempster will end up with Bathelmess, but as for the rest of the ending, you'll have to watch it for yourself - but it is worth whatever money or time you can to spend.

Savages of the Sea
(1925)

A Snow Job of Sorts
Actress Marguerite Snow had an unusual position in this film. She was the only actress in it! Most of the time, she plays the daughter of a headstrong millionaire played by Melbourne McDowell. Even though they were father and daughter in this film, they kind of reminded me of Mr. and Mrs. Thurston Howell from "Gilligan's Island". But there's more... Toward the end of the film, it turns out that the main character, played by future Tarzan Frank Merrill was actually Melbourne McDowell's son. Merrill reminisces back to an earlier time when he talks about how his mother had told him that his father was McDowell. The mother was played by none other than Snow! As for the movie itself, it starts off a bit differently than you might expect a movie of this title to have. There is action aboard a ship, but not right at first. The movie starts out with Merrill on a deserted island. He's soon joined by McDowell and Snow, who arrive on a rowboat. They're later joined by another guy played by Sailor Sharkey. Being a millionaire, McDowell expects to take charge, but Merrill shows him who's boss. However, he might have done well to have listened to McDowell a bit later in the film. Merrill and McDowell spot a ship. McDowell says they should signal for the ship, but Merrill says he's in charge and they will go out to the ship. Unbenownst to the trio, a mutiny has taken place aboard the ship. The head of this mutiny plans to have the crew walk the plank. They are soon joined by McDowell, Merrill and Snow. The head of the mutiny plans to have McDowell and Merill also walk the plank, sparing Snow because of her gender. Eventually, Merrill, with help of the original crew, manages to overthrow the mutineers, who I surmise must be the savages of the title. Except for Snow's feat, this movie doesn't have that much going for it. I'd suggest finding a better way to spend your time.

The Chaser
(1928)

Could Have Been Shortened
I was prepared to hate this film as much as I hated another film he produced, but it was not quite as bad. In this film, Harry is a carouser and is sentenced to perform his wife's duty. She puts on a coat and tie, but it also wearing a skirt. Harry should have been allowed to wear long pants under his apron. Aftr being kissed by a repo and ice man, he decides to kill himself. He then changes his mind. Only his wife doesn't know that. She brings the girls from work home to see just how his wife is doing that. However, the wife does not find him. One of her friends finds a suicide note by an overturned bottle of poison. They decide to leave and the wife cries. In fact, she looks kind of scary as the mascara runs. Later his mother-in-law reassures her that she bets Harry will turn out very much alive. After some scenes involving a golf game and several girls in bathing suits playing elsewhere in the park (at least some of this should have been cut), he winds up covered in flour back at his house. The mother-in-law sees him screams and runs out. The wife, however, is glad to see him again and that provides a happy ending, which is why I give it a "3" instead of a "2" like his other film from this period.

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