The Cat and the Canary (1927)

The Cat and the Canary Movie Review………………………………………………..

The Cat and the Canary

The Cat and the Canary is a 1927 silent horror film directed by Paul Leni and starring Laura La Plante and Creighton Hale. It is a pretty good, but not great horror flick.

………………………………………………..

That clock hasn’t struck in twenty years – since the old man died!

………………………………………………..

The Cat and the Canary Movie Review………………………………………………..

The plot is very good and actually quite detailed for a horror film. The movie has a very mysterious and atmospheric quality to it while consistently being a lot of fun. I liked most of the developments here and of course the monster is very memorable and with an interesting, scary for the time look to him.

The Cat and the Canary is a very modern film for better and for worse, certainly hugely influential. That means that the film is very atmospheric and actually scary in a way as it features very modern storytelling and even an early use of jump scares which was certainly unusual for a 1920s horror film.

However, there is also a bad side to its influential and contemporary nature. I am of course talking about an incredible amount of action scenes and a very frenetic pacing which is certainly modern, but I do not like that which is why the film suffered from it. A slower pace and a longer running time were definitely needed this time around.

………………………………………………..

The Cat and the Canary Movie Review………………………………………………..

As for its humor, it is solid. The film is never truly funny and its mix of horror and comedy is problematic, but certainly original for the time and actually quite interesting. It led to a film that never took itself too seriously which was a departure from other horrors of the time and that makes it more memorable and admirable.

Creighton Hale is the only funny actor here as his character is very amusing. He was definitely modeled after Harold Lloyd. But others aren’t all that interesting and the female characters here were not as strong as the male ones are. But Laura La Plante is very memorable in her role and certainly the acting in this movie is quite strong as everyone was fun and gave pretty stellar performances. It’s a shame that it has too many characters and not that great development for them, though solid for this genre for sure.

………………………………………………..

The Cat and the Canary Movie Review………………………………………………..

I particularly liked The Cat and the Canary’s technical aspects and those sell this movie in my honest opinion. The old dark house trope here is well utilized owing to a superbly looking house filled with a great attention to detail. And its rooms and corridors are well explored thanks to the fine work of Gilbert Warrenton whose cinematography work here is truly phenomenal. The film is definitely spooky and fun and even though I liked the build-up more than the actual conclusion, the overall storyline was certainly pretty good and meticulously crafted and told. To me the intertitles were the most memorable thing about this film as they are some of the most inventive of any silent film featuring such a clever way to compensate for the lack of sound by having letters enlarge and come at you and even having vibrating letters to increase tension. The effect was achieved tremendously and it strengthened the film in the process to being quite remarkable.

The Cat and the Canary has too many characters and it is influential and modern for better and for worse as it is fun and having a lot of jump scares and modern thrills while also being too action oriented and frenetic in pacing. But the plot is well told and quite detailed actually, the cinematography is stellar, the humor and acting are solid and the strong, spooky atmosphere is achieved through the use of some of the most clever and inventive intertitles in any silent film.

My Rating – 4

………………………………………………..

Share

The Avenging Conscience (1914)

The Avenging Conscience Movie Review

……………………………………………..

The Avenging Conscience Movie Review

The Avenging Conscience is a 1914 silent drama film directed by D. W. Griffith and starring Henry B. Walthall. It is one of the most underrated silent films.

…………………………………………………..

She fears something more than

mere mental derangement

…………………………………………………..

The Avenging Conscience Movie Review

…………………………………………………..

Yes, the status of this film is unfortunate. It isn’t talked about a lot these days which is a big shame as the film is so good. It is one of the most underappreciated early films which is actually one of the best films from the director as now only ‘Broken Blossoms’ comes to my mind as being a better picture of his.
It is about a man who is in love with a girl and wants to marry her, but his uncle objects to that. Out of desperation, he decides to murder his uncle and conceals the body in the fireplace. He loses his mind and starts imagining religious scary symbols, but eventually it is all revealed to have been a dream and the film ends happily.

…………………………………………………..

The Avenging Conscience Movie Review

…………………………………………………..
That is the story of The Avenging Conscience and, needless to say, it is hugely original and highly authentic. It is actually one of the most memorable and certainly weirdest silent flicks I’ve seen so far and its weirdness is expected as it came from the mind of Edgar Allan Poe.
Its first third or so felt a bit too heavy handed in my opinion. It was fine, but not a proper introduction to the story. All of the crime stuff and imaginary scenes were terrific and there lie the most unforgettable scenes of the film. As for its twist ending, I can understand that some may find it to be overly happy and like a cop-out, but it was still satisfactory to me personally and I didn’t see it coming. Plus the dream structure is definitely very unique, especially for its usually straightforward period in film history.
I liked the characters and the performances are also pretty good. Naturally Griffith‘s direction is awesome and he is the man responsible for this entire film being so great along with Poe’s writing of course. I loved how adapted it is and how cinematic the film is. It is one of the most purely entertaining and cinematic movies from the teens.

…………………………………………………..

The Avenging Conscience Movie Review

…………………………………………………..

The Avenging Conscience’s technical aspects are one of a kind. The cinematography is stunning with some of the imagery being unforgettable. The shots of insects are some of my favorites, but the scenes with Jesus and of course the devils were the major highlights.
The special effects are truly something special here. So professionally done and highly authentic. They definitely help sell the movie’s fantasy scenes ans help make it stand the test of time as this movie really did. It feels interesting to this day, not to mention original and incredibly entertaining.
It definitely has its flaws, but I liked that it was both a fantasy and a thriller at times while also being a crime flick. But it is in the end mostly a melodrama, but a truly intriguing one that fascinated me from start to finish. It is certainly one of the best 1910s films I’ve seen so far. Such a stupendous movie.

The Avenging Conscience is such a unique and entertaining film which I loved from beginning to end. Its twist ending may seem like a cop-out, but it was unexpected and interesting. The entire storyline is so authentic and the film’s technical aspects are amazing with Griffith’s direction being superb and the cinematography being unique and filled with weird imagery and superb special effects. It is in the end one of the most cinematic and sadly underappreciated silent films.

My Rating – 4.5

……………………………………………..

Share

Blind Husbands (1919)

Blind Husbands Movie Review……………………………………………..

Blind Husbands Movie Review

Blind Husbands is a 1919 silent drama film directed by Erich Von Stroheim. It is a pretty good, very memorable movie.

Litte I know of the world – but

one thing she needs: Love

It is about two spouses who arrive to the Alps, but when the husband has to leave, his wife cheats on him. Eventually, the two men fight on top of the mountain and the man accidentally dies while the two reunite happily. So yes, there are some troublesome plot points here for sure. I did not think that the Lieutenant had to die at all. That was unnecessary and the way he died was way too unusual. And the woman should have had more trouble for what she did.

……………………………………………..

Blind Husbands Movie Review……………………………………………..

But I still really liked this story and especially that ending. The message here is that neglected wives are bound to cheat at some point and that their husbands should love them more. That reunion ending was very sweet and the carriage leaving with the two of them inside provided a very charming imagery for the ending. I also thought that they didn’t treat the subject of adultery as sensationally as they could have done and thus the movie ended up being rather modern for its time.

The character development should have been stronger in Blind Husbands, but the acting is solid. I don’t know about Erich Von Stroheim. He directed this movie superbly and this truly is one hell of a feature debut, but he should have cast someone else in the Lieutenant’s role instead of himself. He is okay, but not great. Only Francelia Billington is excellent here as her performance is pleasantly subtle and professional.

……………………………………………..

Blind Husbands Movie Review……………………………………………..

Blind Husbands is very well filmed and it is truly a fascinating silent film for its outdoors imagery. Rarely have I seen a silent film revolve on the mountain and I was thus pleasantly surprised. The cinematography is superb and some of the imagery is quite striking. The entire third act featured many excellent shots and very good action. A spectacle for sure.

The first act is a bit boring to be honest. It should have been more eventful and more character-driven. The second act is pretty good and the third has some problems, but is so entertaining that I liked it a lot. I wanted more of those sexual sequences, but those that we got are pretty good and actually racy for its time. I loved that cottage as well. Those scenes were so cozy. The entire movie is very cozy, but also containing a definite sense of danger in the atmosphere.

……………………………………………..

Blind Husbands Movie Review……………………………………………..

So I liked Blind Husbands quite a bit even though it isn’t the best film of 1919. I thought that it definitely should have been more sensual and the first act is lacking as I said before, but it is still so dramatic, filled with solid attention to detail and visually dazzling that it comes as sort of a spectacle and blockbuster from this period which is intriguing in and of itself.

Blind Husbands is weaker in first act and it could have been even better overall, but it is still a very entertaining and interesting film about adultery. The second act is a lot of fun and the third is a spectacle. The film is very cozy, but also atmospheric accompanied by excellent imagery and superb cinematography that utilized its mountain setting so well. And the ending is romantic and sweet leading to a very good and interesting directorial debut from Erich von Stroheim.

My Rating – 4

……………………………………………..

Share

A Fool There Was (1915)

A Fool There Was Movie Review

……………………………………………………

A Fool There Was Movie Review

A Fool There Was is a 1915 silent drama film starring Theda Bara. It is such an entertaining, weird movie.

…………………………………………………….

Kiss my, My fool!

…………………………………………………….

A Fool There Was Movie Review

…………………………………………………….

Theda Bara here plays a vamp character. She is a woman who seduces an old rich married man and destroys his life entirely. I have to say that I liked this story. I do get how today’s audiences wouldn’t like it as it is overly melodramatic and certainly sexist toward both sexes (women are sexual predators and men are weakly minded prey). But I watch it in context and to me it was pleasantly weird and even funny at times in its over-the-top overtones. I also think personally that they portrayed just one type of man and woman and certainly the movie doesn’t state that’s how all men and women are.
I would have liked to have seen more from the other characters such as his family, but the two leads are very good. She is particularly great and probably the most evil woman in all of silent film. Edward Jose is solid, but of course Theda Bara steals the show as this incredibly devilish and almost cartoony character who is a lot of fun. She definitely is overly theatrical, but it entirely suits this role which is why I think she is magnificent here and it is such a shame that most of her movies are now lost. Watching her in this movie, you can clearly see a star as she truly was around 1915.

…………………………………………………….

A Fool There Was Movie Review

…………………………………………………….
A Fool There Was is a hugely entertaining movie which flew by how fun it was to me. Of course I loved the dialogue and that famous line “Kiss me, my fool!” proved to be so influential and is certainly a major highlight here. But of the scenes, the ship sequence is just the best, I loved it so much. Watching Theda Bara’s character seduce Jose’s character by pretending that she dropped something and then lifting her skirt… well that was hilarious and definitely one of the most memorable scenes in all of silent film.
It does have its flaws and I sadly changed my mind regarding the rating. I wanted to give it a 4.5, but then I lowered the rating to 4 because when I thoroughly thought about it, there are certainly too many issues to be had with this film besides that sexist aspect which I did not mind at all.
One is that is it, as I said before, shamelessly melodramatic and sometimes a bit too over-the-top. But the biggest problem lies in the running time and pacing. Sixty seven minutes was just way too short for this particular story and the film is paced very badly. It is so fast that it is ultimately rushed. It was ridiculous seeing the scenes just fly by one by one.

…………………………………………………….

A Fool There Was Movie Review

…………………………………………………….
But I still really enjoyed A Fool There Was mainly because I finally saw Theda Bara and wasn’t disappointed as she really was a star. I think the film is well acted and directed, but also well shot and both the dialogue and the script are quite good here. But its weird tone and its strong villain are what makes it unique and quite unforgettable.
Featuring unforgettable Theda Bara in such a deliciously devilish role,  A Fool There Was is a lot of fun as this weird and over-the-top movie. It can definitely be too theatrical and the pacing is awfully fast, but it is well acted and directed with such an entertaining story, memorable dialogue and many very interesting and fun scenes.

My Rating – 4

…………………………………………………….

Share

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.

………………………………………………………………

Where’s the funny, man?

Bring on the funny, man

………………………………………………………………

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.

………………………………………………………………

The Circus Movie Review

 

Share

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.

…………………………………………………………………..

I don’t understand a word you say…

but I know what you mean.

…………………………………………………………………..

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.

…………………………………………………………………..

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.

…………………………………………………………………..

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

…………………………………………………………………..

Share

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.

……………………………………………………………….

Poor little hysterical witch!

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

Now it is with the law

……………………………………………………………….

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.

……………………………………………………………….

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

……………………………………………………………….

Share

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.

………………………………………………………………………

The mediator between head and hands must be the heart

………………………………………………………………………

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.

………………………………………………………………………

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.

………………………………………………………………………

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.

………………………………………………………………………

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.

………………………………………………………………………

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

………………………………………………………………………

Share

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.

…………………………………………………………………..

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?

…………………………………………………………………..

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.

…………………………………………………………………..

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

…………………………………………………………………..

Share

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.

……………………………………………………………………

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

……………………………………………………………………

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.

……………………………………………………………………

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

……………………………………………………………………

Share