The Jazz Singer (1927)

Production during the roaring 1920s was a comfortable ebb and flow. Backlots baked in the Los Angeles heat and glistened with global stars. Directors and writers turned out films by the month. The Golden Age of cinema was on the horizon. But studio giants, some still standing and others vanished except in passing credits, would […]

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Napoleon (1927)

Abel Gance was a visionary director with huge ambitions, excessive running times and lavish production values to faithfully create an expansive vision. Like Stroheim before him and Michael Cimino after, Gance was to be condemned with aspirations and demands greater than what many would dare risk. In 1927, Gance’s latest picture Napoleon premiered, but soon […]

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Metropolis (1927)

Jetpacks, time travel, teleportation and robots are classic flights of fantasy of the far future. As technology rapidly evolves, images of what may be become more elaborate, more fascinating, more open to possibility and science fiction follows suit. In the first quarter of the 20th century, Fritz Lang produced his vision of the future – […]

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The General (1927)

The chase is one of the greatest thrills cinema can offer. Over a century of film has provided inventive and exciting pursuits in nearly every mode of transport. The French Connection is the epitome of road rage, Point Break’s on foot chase is a high octane pursuit through L.A.’s back garden, Speed kept tension high […]

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The Unknown (1927)

Tod Browning and Lon Chaney were a match made in heaven. Or hell. It depends on how the ambience of their pictures strike you. The former was the master of the esoteric, the latter the master of disguise. They were the silent precursor to Burton and Depp. Between 1919 and 1929, the macabre match conjured […]

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The Kid Brother (1927)

In a previous post, I included Safety Last as Lloyd’s masterpiece. Harold staring wildly through his idiosyncratic horn-rimmed glasses as he dangles from a clock face is a ubiquitous image of the comedy Golden Age. However, Lloyd was most satisfied with The Kid Brother, a film he proudly displayed at film schools and cinematic events […]

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The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926)

Modern storytelling is built upon the foundations of ancient lore. These pure forms of narrative are a moral heritage continuing to inspire the modern era with accounts of archetypal heroes, dastardly villains and, of course, profound wisdom. Lotte Reiniger, the director of this piece, was immersed in a career of recreating childhood fascinations from Hansel […]

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The Big Parade (1925)

King Vidor’s Big Parade holds the title for most financially successful silent film ever made. When MGM discovered Vidor was entitled to 20% of the net profit, which would turn out to be 22 million dollars, they quickly persuaded him to sell his stake for a small sum. The Director is quoted as saying – […]

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