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Nosferatu (1922)
A symphony of horror.
Filmmaker(s): F. W. Murnau

In this highly influential silent horror film, the mysterious Count Orlok (Max Schreck) summons Thomas Hutter (Gustav von Wangenheim) to his remote Transylvanian castle in the mountains. The eerie Orlok seeks to buy a house near Hutter and his wife, Ellen (Greta Schroeder). After Orlok reveals his vampire nature, Hutter struggles to escape the castle, knowing that Ellen is in grave danger. Meanwhile Orlok's servant, Knock (Alexander Granach), prepares for his master to arrive at his new home.

Bloodless, Sexless I consider “Shadow of the Vampire” one of the most intelligent films ever made. Herzog’s remake of this is even interesting if terminally flawed (as Herzog himself gets bitten). And this has some intensity to it. One can readily imagine it set in its time...

Published January 22, 2024
| Categorised as IMDB Comments, Twos |
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The Black Pirate (1926)
The Love Story of a Bold Buccaneer
Filmmaker(s): Albert Parker

A nobleman vows to avenge the death of his father by the hands of pirates. To this end, he infiltrates the pirate band; Acting in character, he single-handedly captures a merchant vessel, but things are complicated when he finds that there is a beautiful young woman of royal blood aboard.

Archetypical? Many folks believe in the archetype, the notion that deep in the structure of the universe — deeper than we can reach — are certain pure models. There are few of them; they are crisp if not fully definable. And we spend our lives moving...

Published January 18, 2024
| Categorised as IMDB Comments, Threes |
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Bacon Grabbers (1929)
Filmmaker(s): Lewis R. Foster

Laurel and Hardy are debt collectors trying to repossess a console radio.

Destruction This was the 25th short as a team. I’m only now dipping into Laurel and Hardy in a serious way, but the whole 20 year collaboration seems to be based on two things: the comedy of destruction, and a sort of flummoxed humiliation. We laugh at...

Published May 16, 2023
| Categorised as IMDB Comments, Twos |
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Anemic Cinema (1926)
Filmmaker(s): Marcel Duchamp

A spiral design spins. It's replaced by a spinning disk. These two continue in perfect alternation until the end: a spiral design, a disk. Each disk is labelled and can be read as it rotates. The messages, in French, feature puns and whimsical rhymes and alliteration. The final message comments on the spiral motif itself.

Un Revolutionary Just because something happened, doesn’t mean that it matters. Just because some artist farts controllably doesn’t mean we should enter it. This was unimportant when it was new, and only slightly less so now. I say slightly because film as a whole has lost a...

Published April 4, 2023
| Categorised as IMDB Comments, Ones |
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Perfect Day (1929)
Filmmaker(s): James Parrott

Two families embark on a pleasant Sunday picnic but manage to run into a variety of issues with their temperamental automobile. Each incident requires repeated exits and reboardings by Laurel, Hardy, their wives and grouchy, gout-ridden Uncle Edgar.

Not Perfect I am in the midst of watching a lot of Laurel and Hardy shorts. I’m amazed at a few things. There are over a hundred. They all use the same gag philosophy, often the same gags. And they range from pretty darn funny to...

Published December 24, 2022
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It (1927)
A salesgirl with plenty of 'it' pursues a handsome playboy.

A flapper shopgirl woos her rich boss with animal magnetism, otherwise known as "it."

Invention I have put this film on my list of required viewing for cineliteracy. The reason is obvious: here we have the creation of a persona that changed the world of film and indeed the world. I believe that the relationship between film reflecting society and inventing it...

Published November 25, 2022
| Categorised as Fours, IMDB Comments |
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The Golem (1920)
Filmmaker(s): Paul Wegener, Carl Boese

In 16th-century Prague, a rabbi creates the Golem - a giant creature made of clay. Using sorcery, he brings the creature to life in order to protect the Jews of Prague from persecution.

Life This is the most exciting film I have seen of those made before “Kane.” It is far better than those usually clumped into the so-called expressionist movement, particularly better than “Caligari”. The lighting, framing and rhythm of the thing is about of the same fine quality....

Published November 25, 2022
| Categorised as Fours, IMDB Comments |
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