The Circus (1928)

The Circus Movie Review………………………………………………………………

The Circus Movie Review

The Circus is a 1928 silent comedy film directed by and starring Charlie Chaplin. It is isn’t one of his best works, but it is still quite a good, expectedly endearing flick.

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Where’s the funny, man?

Bring on the funny, man

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The Circus Movie Review………………………………………………………………

The ringmaster of an impoverished circus hires Chaplin’s Tramp as a clown, but discovers that he can only be funny unintentionally, not on purpose. That is the plot here along with the romantic subplot in which Tramp falls in love with a girl who eventually chooses another man. Now the plot is minimal here and that is why the film is much weaker than Chaplin’s greatest works. There isn’t anything sophisticated here, not a message nor an abundance of themes. It is just a solid plot which is fine and actually quite charming at times, but I still expected more from it.

The characters are pretty good and the Tramp is as great and as lovable as usual. I loved the romantic subplot which was quite endearing and so well done. And I of course respect Chaplin’s talents as he not only directed and acted in this movie, but he produced it, wrote it and even composed it, adding afterwards an opening song in the beginning. He truly was one very hard working and talented individual and it is great that the movie ended up being good in the end despite its by now famous problems during production such as the studio fire and him being sued by his former wife for sexual harassment.

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The Circus Movie Review

 

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The Big Parade (1925)

The Big Parade Movie Review…………………………………………………………………..

The Big Parade Movie Review

The Big Parade is a 1925 World War I film directed by King Vidor and starring John Gilbert. It is a very good, respectable silent film.

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I don’t understand a word you say…

but I know what you mean.

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The Big Parade Movie Review…………………………………………………………………..

The film is about an idle rich boy who joins the US Army’s Rainbow Division and is sent to France to fight in World War I. He becomes a friend of two working class men, experiences the horrors of trench warfare and falls in love with a French girl despite the two not speaking the same language. The plot is quite strong and I of course always respect a war film that is strongly anti-war in its sensibilities and message.

I loved its romantic as well as comedic elements, but I have to say that the film felt weakly structured and too much different in styles and tones. It starts off comedic then goes romantic than dramatic and then action-oriented with war elements. The action sequences are stellar, but not as involving as these other elements are.

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The Big Parade Movie Review…………………………………………………………………..

The highlight is the romance. The character development could have been stronger, but the acting is quite strong with John Gilbert being superb and Renee Adoree being quite endearing. The two are so charming together, so wonderful that they perfectly lift those scenes to even greater heights as they were already beautifully conceived. The scene in which they sit together and laugh warmed my heart and I loved it so much.

The Big Parade is of course well directed by King Vidor and he is naturally such a great director, but I found the film to be a bit too long and not as engaging as it needed to have been. It wasn’t boring, but just not as involving as I hoped. The editing is fine, but I would have cut off some scenes as they weren’t necessary to the overall picture.

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The Big Parade Movie Review…………………………………………………………………..

I just loved the visuals in the film. It was beautifully shot with terrific camera movements and absolutely gorgeous scenery at times. I loved the imagery of war and of course parades and various large groups of soldiers. Those were terrific. But once again, those more intimate, rustic sequences were the standout ones, so charming, wonderful and heartwarming and so well shot and constructed. The use of intertitles is also very strong and they use just the right amount of dialogue. The score in the version I’ve seen was great, but again the visuals were the highlights, so polished and crisp. It made the experience much more enjoyable. The film is overall flawed, yet very good with a timeless quality to it as it aged remarkably well. It needs to be seen by everyone being one of the better films about the much less popular of the two World Wars.

The Big Parade is overlong, not entirely involving and sometimes not as well constructed, but it is a very good anti-war film with excellent action sequences, beautiful cinematography with some wonderful imagery and excellent direction and acting. But the highlights were those romantic scenes which were heartwarming, funny and immensely charming.

My Rating – 4

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Häxan (1922)

Häxan Movie Review……………………………………………………………….

Häxan Movie Review

Häxan is a 1922 Swedish/Danish documentary horror silent film directed by Benjamin Christensen. It is a pretty good, intriguing experiment.

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Poor little hysterical witch!

In the middle ages you were in conflict with the church.

Now it is with the law

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Häxan Movie Review……………………………………………………………….

It is  a study of how superstition and the misunderstanding of diseases and mental illness could lead to the hysteria of the witch-hunts. Because I have always been interested in this particular subject matter, I found this movie to be quite fascinating at times. That is not to say that it is without its problems and there are many on which I will elaborate later, but the film is mostly a successful and definitely admirable experiment as rarely have I seen a film quite like this one.

It is a mix of documentary and horror which is, needless to say, quite authentic and interesting. I loved its distinctive visual style and how well thought out it is. It explains you almost everything you need to know about witch-hunts and the second half in particular is quite engaging.

But the problem with Häxan lies in its first half. Yes, the documentary approach here isn’t the greatest. And even though the mix of fiction and documentary is interesting, it definitely felt odd at times and tonally weird. Those passages where they explain this subject were overlong and filled with too many intertitles and not enough images. Some of the imagery was quite striking, but I still would have preferred to have seen real footage or fictionalized footage that is.

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Häxan Movie Review……………………………………………………………….

Häxan is exceptionally well made and crafted. The problem is that it is just never as entertaining as I hoped it would have been given its fascinating subject matter and it disappointed me a little overall, but the direction from Benjamin Christensen is excellent and some scenes are just so memorable. And the special effects are simply outstanding and so revolutionary for its time period. In the end, even though it isn’t the best that foreign cinema of the twenties has to offer, it is still so intriguing and different that I admired it a lot.

Häxan definitely is tonally odd, it isn’t as engaging as it could have been and the mix of documentary and horror is weird, but that mix is still authentic and very interesting, some of the imagery here is quite striking, it deals with its interesting subject matter really well and it is mostly exceptionally well made and visually magnificent. It has its flaws, but it is certainly one of the most unique silent films.

My Rating – 4

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Metropolis (1927)

Metropolis Movie Review………………………………………………………………………

Metropolis Movie Review

Metropolis is a 1927 classic science fiction film directed by Fritz Lang and starring Brigitte Helm and Gustav Frohlich. It is one of the finest silent movies.

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The mediator between head and hands must be the heart

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Metropolis Movie Review………………………………………………………………………

It is set in a futuristic urban dystopia and it follows the attempts of Freder, the wealthy son of the city’s ruler, and Maria, a poor worker, to overcome the vast gulf separating the classes of their city. To me the storytelling is one of the strongest points of an all around excellent film. The plot is, needless to say, so influential and incredibly original, very impressive. But the film is so well crafted and executed, that story is thankfully utilized properly and its themes of clash between classes, artificial intelligence and the reliance on machines are all really well explored.

The characters are pretty good. Freder is a classic main character done mostly right, Maria is very likable and the robot is of course so memorable and iconic by now. Joh Fredersen is fantastic as Freder’s father and I found him to be the most moving and interesting person here. The mad scientist Rotwang is typical for this genre, but again highly memorable and the film is great for basically inventing all of these sci-fi archetypes in the first place, almost all of which staples today. Grot is funny and sympathetic, Josaphat of course is so tragic and you root for him and as for the Thin Man, he wasn’t particularly well utilized or present actually, but he was still memorable in his menacing appearance.

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Metropolis Movie Review………………………………………………………………………

The acting in Metropolis is very interesting. On the one hand, you’ve got some actors that are typically overacting, but on the other hand, you have Alfred Abel who is so natural and subtle in the role of Joh Fredersen that he alone contributed a lot to my sympathy for this particular character. Rudolf Klein-Rogge is very over-the-top in his role, but this is a mad scientist role which demands such an approach and that is why it isn’t annoying, but rather fitting. The same goes for Brigitte Helm who actually did a rather admirable job in the dual role of both Maria and the robot. She is the highlight in the latter role as her overly emphasized manners and menacing looks made the character unforgettable. The only weak link is definitely Gustav Frohlich who is so over-the-top in his acting that is was too much even for its time period and it is also not fitting for the role which should have been more subtle.

Metropolis is a visual feast. I will now touch upon some of the great technical aspects presented here and there are quite a lot. Actually, this movie is so groundbreaking in its style and effects that it might even be underrated in that respect. The effects are breathtaking. This is without a doubt the best looking silent film of all time. The highlights are of course the robot who looks so real and so revolutionary and the city. Those panorama sequences were to me the most astonishing scenes of the movie as rarely have I seen anything of that caliber. The various vehicles looked so futuristic and intriguing, the buildings are marvelous and the entire city with all of its machines is beautifully brought to life and it leads to such an unforgettable viewing experience.

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Metropolis Movie Review………………………………………………………………………

Metropolis has to be the quintessential German expression picture as its cinematography is top-notch and its imagery is so atmospheric. The entire movie has that very great atmosphere, sometimes scientific, sometimes even creepy (the scene with Maria fleeing from Rotwang is just such a spectacular horror sequence perfectly executed and shot). But those striking looking buildings led to such an artistic feel to the film and I truly would call the movie art. The camera movements are exceptional as sometimes you get that great wide view at the city, but at other times you get effective close-ups and even some very intriguing first-person action shots.

So the writing is top-notch, the characterization is very good, the performances are memorable and the technical aspects are all gorgeous. Then why do I not give it a perfect rating even upon my second viewing? Well, the answer lies in the only flaw that Metropolis possesses, but it’s a very big flaw, and that is its third act. This film is one of the most entertaining films I have ever seen as the entire first half is riveting to behold. However, it could get a bit dull in its conclusion as the action is just overwhelming.

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Metropolis Movie Review………………………………………………………………………

Metropolis is a blockbuster for better and for worse. You get the spectacle, you get the epic nature of it all and you get great entertainment. But you also get the bad side of the formula meaning the action. The entire third act lasts for about half an hour and it should have definitely been trimmed to around fifteen minutes. The flood is initially fascinating, but quickly becomes wearisome as it is so prolonged. Those chases lasted for too long and I know that people usually love the spectacle and action the most, but I’ve always liked that less in favor of the story. As for the romance, it isn’t as problematic as I thought of it at first, but it did feel a bit rushed and conventional nonetheless.

The pacing is, not counting the conclusion, excellent and the film is so involving to watch. It is easily the most entertaining silent film I’ve seen. But it isn’t the best silent film and its status is a bit overrated in that point. It is a great movie, don’t get me wrong. But it isn’t a perfect movie and I can think of at least seven other silent films that are better than this one.

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Metropolis Movie Review………………………………………………………………………

But the film is mostly admirable and what Fritz Lang did here is beyond impressive. The score in the version I’ve seen was excellent and it fitted the action on screen beautifully, the intertitles are sometimes too rarely used, but are mostly well utilized and very artistic in style. The best scenes are the beginning with that very memorable garden, the very ending was sweet, the creation sequence is stunning and the horror chase scene is marvelous and so atmospheric. It is a glorious achievement and one of the best silent as well as science fiction as well as German films ever made.

Metropolis is a blockbuster for better and for worse meaning that it is grand and epic in scope and visually marvelous, but it has overwhelming action near the end and that is the only flaw the movie has. It is otherwise a spectacular achievement with groundbreaking special effects, some marvelous camera movements and great shots, gorgeous and highly imaginative and memorable imagery, very original and influential storyline, likable characters and mostly good performances. It is a quintessential German expressionist picture and one of the finest silent as well as science fiction films of all time.

My Rating – 4.5

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He Who Gets Slapped (1924)

He Who Gets Slapped Movie Review…………………………………………………………………..

He Who Gets Slapped Movie Review

He Who Gets Slapped is a 1924 silent drama film starring Lon Chaney, Norma Shearer and John Gilbert and directed by Victor Sjostrom. It is a somewhat disappointing film.

It is about a man who gets tricked by his friends who take credit for his scientific breakthrough leaving him to go and become a clown. The reason why I found the film very disappointing is its use of romance. It is not only fairly typical and way too melodramatic (even for its age), but also mostly unnecessary and it definitely ruined what could have been a great drama film instead.

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What is it in human nature that makes people quick to laugh

when someone else gets slapped – whether the slap be spiritual,

mental or physical?

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He Who Gets Slapped Movie Review…………………………………………………………………..

But those other elements I really liked. I loved the beginning, it was brutal and highly tragic. And the ending is exactly like that too. I loved when the film focused on the main character and although its themes were a bit too on the nose, I still really liked them. It wonderfully showcases the humans’ tendency to be amused and laugh at other people’s misfortune. That was a very hard-hitting and brutal, yet real and important point to be made. It is a problem that remains to this day.

As for its characters, I found both Bezano and Consuelo to be rather dull and whenever the movie revolved around these two, it definitely suffered. The protagonist, on the other hand, is phenomenal and he is the best thing about this movie. John Gilbert and Norma Shearer are superb actors of course, but they aren’t particularly memorable here whereas Lon Chaney is as great as ever and watching him suffer was heartbreaking, but also great as it showcased his enormous acting talent. He is the best at playing emotion, especially fragility and heartbreak, and here in the most brutal sequences you can easily see how amazing he was.

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He Who Gets Slapped Movie Review…………………………………………………………………..

He Who Gets Slapped was directed by Victor Sjostrom and it is nowhere near the quality of his greatest works, but it still gives us his signature creepy atmosphere and truly some moments here were quite menacing, especially creepy for a drama film. The pacing is also mostly good, but the film unfortunately just wasn’t that involving to me. The first and third act were engaging, but the second one was way too meandering in its structure and storytelling. The tone is fittingly serious and mature and the cinematography is quite good. The emotion is evident and well conveyed, but the dialogue was too simplistic and on the nose. It is in the end a film that disappointed me quite a bit.

He Who Gets Slapped is disappointing in its supporting characters and a meandering second act, but the protagonist is excellent and so well played by terrific Lon Chaney, the dialogue is too on the nose, but the themes are important and interesting and some scenes are quite moving and heartbreaking.

My Rating – 3.5

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Sparrows (1926)

Sparrows Movie Review……………………………………………………………………

Sparrows Movie Review

Sparrows is a 1926 silent drama film directed by William Beaudine and starring Mary Pickford. It is a really good, charming little flick.

It follows a woman who rescues the children from a dismal baby farm. Dickensonian is what some critics describe this film and it’s a great way to describe it. It was to me very interesting as rarely have I seen a 1920s movie revolve around children and also outdoors. That was intriguing. The plot is heartwarming and the ending is of course moving.

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Oh, no, they wouldn’t, they’re perfect little angels

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Sparrows Movie Review……………………………………………………………………

Even though those swamp sequences were overlong, they were still very entertaining and the film benefits from some great, believable action/suspense sequences. The plot moved at a too brisk pace, but it was mostly well executed and very engaging to follow.

Molly is of course the highlight, but Mr. Grimes is also a memorable character, a satisfying villain. But unfortunately, the film fails when children are concerned as it never develops neither of them and not one of them sticks out. Well, that boy who continually questioned God was memorable, but I still do not know his name and there lies the problem. I think that it would have been a much better movie had the children been more memorable.

As for the acting, I wouldn’t call this Mary Pickford’s finest work, not by a long shot as some moments were overacted. However, she still gave a pretty good performance and the ending alone effectively proved her talent.

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Sparrows Movie Review……………………………………………………………………

Sparrows is a well directed movie, very well directed actually. William Beaudine and Mary Pickford apparently did not get along well on the set, but both of them did a good job regardless. As for the pacing, it is also good and the story is overall well crafted.

The cinematography is the film’s strongest point as it’s so well shot and some of the scenery here is just so mesmerizing and unforgettable. The swamp is beautiful to look at and that opening look at it was gorgeous. And those action scenes were so well filmed.

The score in the version that I’ve seen was pretty good. The dialogue is mostly solid as are its intertitles. But, I have to say that the letter exchange was overwhelming and sometimes quite difficult to read. The film is also touching and it has a lot of heart. In the end, Sparrows is pretty good and despite being flawed, it is definitely worth seeing.

Sparrows has a decidedly weak characterization of the kids, but the plot is interesting, the film has a lot of heart, the acting as well as the directing are pretty good, the suspenseful sequences are so well executed and the movie is so well filmed with the swamp being gorgeous to look at.

My Rating – 4

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Hell’s Hinges (1916)

Hell's Hinges Movie Review………………………………………………………………….

Hell’s Hinges Movie Review

Hell’s Hinges is a 1916 silent western film directed by and starring William S. Hart. It is a solid, at times respectable western, but the one with some very troublesome parts.

Yes, the entire plot here is so problematic. It is about a gunman who tries to expel the rowdies from the newly built church. It all ends with the destruction of the whole town. Yep, needless to say, the message is so problematic. It basically says that if you don’t believe in God, you’ll die and that is what happens here. The non-believers are punished. I get that in that time faith was important and especially in the time period of the movie, but this was still frustrating.

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Neither law nor religion shall ever come to Hell’s Hinges

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Hell's Hinges Movie Review………………………………………………………………….

The minister is a solid character and Blaze Tracy is a typical western protagonist, but a memorable one nonetheless. The others are all forgettable and the film doesn’t have the best character development to be honest. But the acting is really good for sure. I thought William S. Hart was a great lead, so charismatic and talented and he just demands the screen. He is perfect for westerns and I even saw the resemblance to John Wayne.

Let’s now talk about the technical aspects. Hell’s Hinges is a well directed and, as I said, very well acted movie. But the cinematography is its finest feat as it is so well shot and some parts look phenomenal. The ending in particular is quite memorable. The pacing is okay, but the running time could have been longer and the script should have been much more sophisticated and complex.

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Hell's Hinges Movie Review………………………………………………………………….

The beginning and the ending are good, but all of the middle parts are forgettable and the message at the end is troublesome. But the plot is the biggest problem as I just never found it to be particularly involving and it rarely had momentum. There is a great movie here, but it didn’t come through as the focus is wrong and the execution is sometimes poor. In the end, Hell’s Hinges is solid, but frankly too problematic.

Hell’s Hinges is a solid early western with such a good cinematography, a memorable lead in William S. Hart and some great parts, but it is too problematic in its script and especially in its message which is so troublesome and just wrong. It is well made and especially well shot, but too simplistic and way too infuriating at times.

My Rating – 3.5

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Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1917)

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm…………………………………………………………………………..

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm Movie Review

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm is a 1917 silent family film directed by Marshall Neilan and starring Mary Pickford. It is such a charming, really good flick.

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I ain’t dead yet. Don’t mess up the bed with yer flowers!

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Rebecca is taken into the home of her strict aunt where she experiences growing up and different experiences until going to a boarding school. The main problem here is its episodic nature. The film is obviously based on a book and it can be seen from the first moment. Yes, all moments and scenes here are good, but that doesn’t still change the fact that they aren’t well connected and the film feels like a TV show which was troublesome.

But the plot is still pretty good and even though ‘The Poor Little Rich Girl’ I also really liked, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm is the better crafted and much less uneven movie. The whole ending is so sweet and rewarding and the beginning is great. Some of the middle parts weren’t as great, but I just loved the subplot with The Simpsons where she helped the family. That was so sweet, but admittedly led to an episodic feel to the film.

Of all the characters, Adam is solid, but not as well realized. And of course aunt Hannah is great and the two had some fantastic moments together. But Rebecca is the highlight and I really liked her characterization. She is evidently a child, but also sometimes a teenager and in the end grows into a beautiful, admirable young woman. That is why this is such a good coming-of-age story.

Mary Pickford is naturally the standout actress here and she steals the whole movie and this is basically her show. Again, we have her playing a child in her twenties, but once again that is never a problem as she just knew how to do it and she superbly mastered this craft. She is the heart and soul of the movie, she has a lot of charisma and it was just wonderful watching her grace the screen with her beauty and charisma.

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm is episodic, but mostly well adapted from its source material. Some of the dialogue bothered me with its simplicity, but most of it was fine. The film is well directed, well shot and finely edited. Its running time is short and the film doesn’t feel rushed ever.

The tone is interesting. It is above all a family film, but it is also a mix of both drama and comedy and it mostly succeeds in those areas, albeit I wished for more humor to be honest. The film is grounded in reality and it also works as a great historical document as it transports you to the 1910s period remarkably well. Overall, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm is far from a great movie, but it is just charming enough and endearing enough to recommend, most especially to children as it is a wonderful, childlike entertainment.

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm is way too episodic in nature and some of its subplots aren’t as well incorporated, but it mostly works as an adaptation as it is well directed, well acted and well shot and it works as a great time capsule. The ending is so sweet and rewarding, the film is so charming and endearing and it benefits from Mary Pickford’s marvelous performance as she steals the show here with her obvious charm and plenty of charisma.

My Rating – 4

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The Unknown (1927)

The Unknown Movie Review………………………………………………………………..

The Unknown Movie Review

The Unknown is a 1927 horror film directed by Tod Browning and starring Lon Chaney and Joan Crawford. It is such a great, truly a one of a kind movie.

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 You are a riddle, Nanon. You shrink from me…
yet you kiss my flowers when I am gone
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The Unknown Movie Review………………………………………………………………..
It is about a serial killer who pretends to have no arms, but eventually decides to actually amputate them in order to be with a girl who is afraid of men’s hands. But the girl falls in love with another man and gets over her fear and you have that giant irony at the end. Yes, it is just unbelievable when you read this premise and realize that there is a movie with this exact plot, made during the silent era no less. And I just want to take a moment here and say how awesome the sheer existence of this movie is. And the fact that the movie stays away from those gruesome moments and never shows them on screen is even more commendable.
 The Unknown is fifty minutes long and although that is certainly very short, it still meant that it was consistently involving and truly it is one of the most purely entertaining silent films I’ve seen. The beginning is a bit rushed, but the pacing throughout is mostly deft and this is one of the examples of how a very short movie can be extremely satisfying and that not all stories need a regular running time.
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The Unknown Movie Review………………………………………………………………..

 Alonzo is such a memorable, very effective character. What I liked about his characterization is the fact that he is never made fully a villain and although despicable, you feel sympathy for him in the end as he was going through some extreme, awful situations. As for Malabar and Nanon, they aren’t the most memorable characters, but their relationship is well developed. As for the acting, both Norman Kerry and Joan Crawford are very good in their roles, but it is Lon Chaney who steals the show with probably his finest performance. He is so believable and gave the performance with just the right amount of theatricality and heart. His emotional scene where he breaks in laughter is easily the most powerful sequence in the film and a perfect showcase of his enormous acting talent.

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The Unknown Movie Review………………………………………………………………..
 The Unknown is so well edited and superbly directed by Tod Browning and this film is definitely one of his finest. It is also well filmed and I really liked how they filmed Chaney without hands as well as the whole circus setting that is greatly utilized. The use of intertitles is also fantastic and never excessive or too short.
 
The Unknown also has a solid dialogue and a great irony in it. It is without a doubt one of the most original films of its era and even of all time as there really isn’t anything quite like it. My jaw dropped more than a couple of times at the sheer craziness of the script and although it may sound too convenient and crazy, the execution is so good that it never felt excessive in its madness. The emotion is there and some scenes are heartbreaking. The meticulous detail went into this production not only in technical aspects, but also in terms of storytelling as the plot is so well crafted, extremely memorable and consistently rewarding.

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The Unknown Movie Review………………………………………………………………..
It succeeds as a horror movie because it is just so unnerving, but it also succeeds as a drama film because it has good characterization, acting and evident emotion. It is melodramatic, but satisfyingly so and never too sappy. Some of the highlights in terms of the scenes are the laughing scene which is just so perfectly constructed from beginning to end and powerfully acted by Lon Chaney, the end scene is also phenomenal and so intense, the murder sequence is so memorable as is the hospital one and every scene with Chaney/Alonzo is great as the character and actor steal this movie entirely. It isn’t a perfect movie as it is a bit too short, sometimes rushed and Nanon’s fear of men’s hands isn’t best explained, but overall, it is one of the best films of an extraordinary year and one of the most unforgettable pictures of the twenties.

 The Unknown is a bit too short and rushed, but ultimately rewarding in its crazy, authentic and jaw-dropping story and so well acted with Lon Chaney giving a truly powerful performance. It is a film that is consistently entertaining, but also truly unnerving at times, moving in its irony and so well constructed from beginning to end. It is one of the most original films ever created and one of the most purely entertaining films of the period.

My Rating – 4.5

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L’Inferno (1911)

L'Inferno Movie Review…………………………………………………………………

L’Inferno Movie Review

L’Inferno is a 1911 Italian silent fantasy drama film directed by Francesco Bertolini. It is pretty stupendous as one of the oldest surviving feature length films.

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The Poets climb down the shaggy sides of the monster, Lucifer,

to reach the subtler-ranean way

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L'Inferno Movie Review…………………………………………………………………

It is an adaptation of Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy. The story itself is of course powerful and I really liked it here. It is pretty well adapted for film and it succeeds as a solid adaptation. It is detailed in descriptions, it is visually arresting and it is overall pretty engaging and interesting.

However, L’Inferno has one big problem that really hurt the movie and that is its use of intertitles that is not only overabundant, but at times even unnecessary. Also, the length/running time of the intertitles is too prolonged and thus you end up with a movie that is almost half of the running time in intertitles. That was troublesome as, no matter how interesting those descriptive passages were, they were still too descriptive. A movie shouldn’t be that descriptive and a movie should show more than tell and this is a classic example of a film that mostly tells its plot, rather than show it.

And that was a huge shame as, when shown, the film is actually pretty good. The effects here are so phenomenal and absolutely astounding and groundbreaking for its time that it really bothered me that they decided to cut back on that as they clearly could have made more use of its visuals which are awesome.

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L'Inferno Movie Review…………………………………………………………………

The second half is better in that regard as you have many intriguing visuals and imagery. Really, the imagery in L’Inferno is so powerful and instantly recognizable and a groundbreaking achievement in cinema. The apparitions are so well executed, the nudity is well handled, the various fantastical creatures are so well imagined and depicted and the film most of all succeeds as a good early fantasy flick.

But it doesn’t particularly succeed as a drama unfortunately. Whereas its fantasy elements are fascinating, its dramatic elements aren’t which is why the second half is so much more entertaining than the first one. The second one is more show than tell whereas the first one is the opposite.

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L'Inferno Movie Review…………………………………………………………………

L’Inferno is the oldest feature film that I’ve seen up to this point and I have to say that I really respect it. It isn’t great or even very good, but it is pretty solid with the level of greatness achieved in more than a couple of sequences. The score in the version I’ve seen is too modern and annoying, but the directing is solid, the pacing is mostly good and the running time is quite short, but rewarding in terms of storytelling as a lot happens during its seventy minutes. The film should have had a more emotional tone to it and it feels rather cold at times. The same can be said for the characterization as the characters are forgettable. The script is good, but as I said, the dialogue and the explanations are overly abundant and even unnecessary. Thanks to all of those reasons, it is a deeply flawed movie, but because the visual effects are so great, its adapted screenplay is quite solid and the imagery is powerful, it is still pretty solid and memorable.

L’Inferno is such a solid and at times respectable, but also deeply flawed movie. It has astounding visual effects for its time, the imagery is so striking and powerful, it is solidly adapted and it is mostly quite good, but the intertitles are overly abundant and at times too descriptive, too long and frankly unnecessary and seriously affecting the movie that should have shown more than just told its story. But for being one of the first surviving feature length films, it is quite solid and even stupendous.

My Rating – 3.5

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