Pandora’s Box (1929)

First, Betty Compson smouldered in the misty Docks of New York as she rumbled the hero’s world, but without an ounce of malicious intent. Brigitte Helm drew the panting men of the dizzying Metropolis with her apocalyptic dance. But this was only a machine double of the virtuous heroine. Pandora’s Box presents a whole other […]

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Man With A Movie Camera (1929)

Man With a Movie Camera is one of those illustrious classics you hear of long before knowing what it is. Sight and Sound magazine places Dziga Vertov’s picture as the eighth greatest of all time, IMDB rates it at 8.4, and Roger Ebert awards an outstanding four stars. By many others, it is voted as […]

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A Throw of Dice (1929)

Vicarious exploration is easy to take for granted when the entire world is visible at the touch of a button. For many years, and especially in 1929 when this picture was released, cinema held the distinction beyond static photographs and restricted phonographs of transporting audiences to alien landscapes through living images. Franz Osten was one […]

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The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)

Cinema has many synonyms; Film from the mode of capture, movies from the magic of motion, Flicks from projector inefficiency, and Pictures. The maxim ‘Show don’t tell’, integral today, was imperative in the silent cinematic age. Filmmakers sought communication outside of explanative title cards, discovering narrative capabilities of mise-en-scene, camerawork and, most directly, actor expression. […]

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The Crowd (1928)

Individuality is a need we all strive for in some capacity. Some find contentment with praise of a close knit circle, others want applause of the entire world. Music, film, art, literature and the internet are grand stages to perform uniqueness. But increasingly, these platforms become suffocated as people aggressively shove for space, trample over […]

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Steamboat Bill Jr. (1928)

Buster Keaton faced two crippling calamities in his professional life; the first was out of his power, the second he caused. The former was the advent of sound relentlessly weeding out the unadaptable, the latter was signing with MGM which Keaton stated was ‘the biggest mistake of my life’. This new contract left the perfectionist […]

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The Docks of New York (1928)

The phrase ‘Necessity is the mother of invention’ succinctly characterises film in the first quarter of the 20th century. A combination of ingenuity and requirement to tell better stories founded techniques we witness every time we enter the cinema. However, not every film can invent or reinvent rules. Instead, some pictures are exemplary examples of […]

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Un Chien Andalou (1928)

There was a maxim behind the creation of this bizarre short which is the closest to preparation I can offer. ‘No idea or image that might lend itself to a rational explanation of any kind would be accepted’. Running at fifteen minutes, Un Chien Andalou is the shortest film appearing on the 1001 films and […]

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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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