Bobby Bumps’ Fourth 1917

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Holiday-themed cartoons were a staple of the industry for many decades, particularly Hallowe’en, but Independence Day had a few — OLD GLORY, Chuck Jones’ first Porky Pig short was released on July 1, 1939, in time for the holiday. However, this is the oldest surviving and quite possibly the oldest Fourth of July cartoon produced.

For the era, it is pretty good. Bobby and his dog, Fido, let off some fireworks and Fido gets into a fight with a foul-mouthed parrot. It won’t strike modern viewers as particularly good, but given its era it is quite striking, with some good visual gags. Tom Stathes, who is doing so much to preserve and make available these rare early Bray cartoons, has posted this to Youtube ninety-five years after its premiere. It’s definitely worth a look for anyone interested in the history of animation…. by boblipton

Director: Earl Hurd
Writer: Earl Hurd

And Quiet Flows the Don 1931


Also known as Tikhiy Don (original title)

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And Quiet Flows the Don (original title Tikhiy Don) is a Soviet 1930 B&W movie based on the first part of the famous novel by Mikhail Sholokhov. It depict the fate of a Don Cossack family before and during the World War One.

An earnest presentation of Sholokhov’s novel in a silent film adaptation. Poor Aksinya, married to a brute of a husband, Stepan, seeks refuge in the arms of her lover, Gregory. Troubles arise when Stepan is apprised of her infidelity, but even more disconcerting is Gregory’s initial unwillingness to run away with her (‘What, and lose my land?’) Further complications ensue when Gregory is forced to marry Natalya who loves him despite her knowledge of his love for Aksinya. World War I intervenes, and Gregory is dispatched to the front where he gets a political education in the lack of justice in which landless peasants fight and die to protect the farms of the rich landowners. Scenes depicting Cossack troops putting down the revolutionaries in the 1905 uprising are included, as is a bittersweet finale in which tables are turned on the young lovers… by Steve Rigby



Directors: Olga Preobrazhenskaya, Ivan Pravov
Production company: Mosfilm
Cinematography: Dmitri Feldman
Screenplay: Olga Preobrazhenskaya, Mikhail Sholokhov, Ivan Pravov

Stars: Nikolay Podgorny, Andrei Abrikosov, Emma Tsesarskaya

The movie has English subtitles

Rusalka 1910

Also known as The Water Nymph or The Mermaid

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Based on an opera by Dargomizhsky, and other sources: A prince and a miller’s daughter have been involved in a romance together, but now the prince tells her that he must break it off. After the prince leaves, the distraught young woman attempts to drown herself. When the prince’s wedding day arrives, he is tormented by her image, which appears wherever he goes. Eventually, he is compelled to return and to try to find out what happened to her, regardless of the consequences. Written by Snow Leopard

Director: Vasili Goncharov
Writers: Vasili Goncharov, Alexander Pushkin (play)
Stars: Vasili Stepanov, Aleksandra Goncharova, Andrej Gromov

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