Fiddlesticks 1927

Fiddlesticks

Harry will do anything to be a musician, but it takes a junk collector to discover his hidden talents.

Director: Harry Edwards

Production Co: Mack Sennett Comedies
Writers: Frank Capra (story), Arthur Ripley (story)
Stars: Harry Langdon, Vernon Dent, Anna Dodge

 

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Reaching for the Moon 1917

reaching for the moon

A factory worker has always dreamed that he was meant for better things, to be rich and famous and in “the company of kings”. One day he discovers that he is indeed the only heir to the throne of a small European kingdom. However, there are forces at work who don’t want him to survive to take the throne.

—frankfob2@yahoo.com

Director: John Emerson

Production Co: Douglas Fairbanks Pictures
Writers: John Emerson, Joseph Henabery (story)
Stars: Douglas Fairbanks, Eileen Percy, Richard Cummings

Pluck and Plotters 1918

pluck and plotters

An early and amusing Semon from the days before his budgets and ego ballooned out of control. He is the utterly inept janitor in an office building, where an inventor is busy cutting a deal for a new sort of — well, it looks like it might be a racing car, but it might be a zeppelin. But when Larry is not wielding a broom and forcing everyone into either ducking or taking a pratfall, or dunking an ice cube into the water cooler like an over-sized tea bag, he is fouling up industrial espionage. There is is a lovely thrill comedy bit with Madge Kirby at risk.

As with Semon’s other comedies of this period, he is the star but not the whole show, and that produces more varied and greater belly laughs. In this period his camera work was more interesting than his competitors, his gags as funny or funnier and although his story construction was no thing of beauty, it served as a fine framework for the gags…by boblipton (New York City)

Director: Larry Semon (as Lawrence Semon)

Production Co: Vitagraph Company of America
Writer: Larry Semon (scenario) (as Lawrence Semon)
Stars: Larry Semon, Madge Kirby, Frank Alexander

Ships of the Night 1928

IMDb 7,1

shipsof thenight

Donald Hearne flees Borneo and it’s island justice when he fears he has killed a man. Later his name is cleared and it is up to his sister Johanna to risk sea, sailors, pirates, and capricious fate as she makes way to the notorious Derelicts’ Island to bring her brother back home, her only ally is Dan Meloy a rough but honest ship captain.

Director: Duke Worne

Production Co: Trem Carr Pictures
Writers: Arthur Hoerl (screenplay), Arthur Hoerl (titles)
Stars: Jacqueline Logan, Sôjin Kamiyama, Jack Mower, J.P. McGowan

 

Slippery Jim 1910

IMDb 7/10

A phlegmatic pickpocket is arrested and taken to his cell. As he is an unusually wily customer, he is bound by fetters and chained to the wall. Speedily putting these off, he is locked up by the enraged warders in a chest, but escapes and is finally thrown into the river tied up in a sack. Coming up from the water again, perfectly dry and safe, he makes a bicycle for himself and rides off furiously, springing ultimately onto a passing train which bars his passage. In this way he is carried along on his bicycle for some distance, but reaching the river again, he descends on his machine, performs a few revolutions in mid-air, the reflection of the bicycle showing up clearly on the face of the water, and then lands in a sumptuous room. The police follow, but are baffled by the continued disappearing tricks of the clever thief, who dissolves from view and reappears in the most unexpected places. At last he is captured in the police station itself and carried once more to his cell, but crashes through the iron bars with little trouble, leaving his warders safely under lock and key.

—Moving Picture World synopsis

 

Director: Ferdinand Zecca

The Usurer’s Grip 1912

The Usurer's grip

A young clerk, a small salary, a wife and child, the child long ill then the doctor’s bill and other bills and debts accumulate; the advertisement in the news about borrowing money on your furniture at six per cent. Ah. That’s the solution. I’ll try it. Yes, he tried it and as the picture unfolds itself we see the clerk careworn and desperate borrowing twenty-five dollars from a loan shark, who compels him to return five of it for drawing up papers. At this the clerk remonstrates and shows the loan shark his own advertisement at six per cent. The shark snarls and snatches back the money, but the child is ill, what can he do but submit and take what he gets and sign that fatal card, which reads that he must pay forty-five dollars for tho loan of twenty-five. He signs it; he has to. Now comes with sickening regularity the dreaded monthly payments. He cannot always meet them, what then? Slowly they go, his watch, her brooch and last, the baby’s ring. And next comes the “bawlerout.” The clerk at his desk in a large office is told that a woman wishes to see him. She demands a payment, he can’t comply, she raises her voice, threatens, heaps imprecations on him, she will not be silenced. The clerk is humiliated before the whole office and the manager discharges him. He plods home and breaks the news to his wife, who comforts him and bids him try again. The clerk succeeds in getting n new position and a kindly, sympathetic employer in whom he confides, when the “bawlerout” next appears. His employer takes him to a loan association, where anyone who is employed and in distress may borrow money at the legal rate of interest. Again, through his employer, the clerk meets the district attorney and tells him of the loan shark who is squeezing money from him, although he has already more than paid the debt. The district attorney investigates and intervenes just in time to prevent the ruffian from taking the very bed from under the clerk’s sick child. He also compels him to give back all the usury interest he has received above six per cent.

—Moving Picture World synopsis

Director: Charles Brabin (as Charles J. Brabin)

Production Co: Edison Company
Writers: Theodora Huntington (story), Bannister Merwin (scenario)
Stars: Walter Edwin, Gertrude McCoy, Edna May Weick

Schweik in Civilian Life 1927

Svejk v civilu (original title) – This movie has English subtitles

 

Svejk_vestido_de_civil-272874642-mmed

“The Good Soldier Svejk” is probably one of the most popular books in Czech ‘German’ literature.

Written by Herr Jaroslav Hasek, who had an incredible and thrilling life equal to Herr Svejk’s adventures, the book was his most accomplished literary work, finally giving him both fame and money (although the author died before finishing his oeuvre). The book was completed by Karel Vanek

The book tells the story of Herr Svejk, a common, simple minded (but certainly not stupid) man. Discharged from military service due to his not being very bright, he worked as a dealer in stolen dogs in civilian life. He would later join the army again, bringing trouble to anyone around him, living through situations from which he always succeeds.

So, having in mind the popular and funny story of Herr Hasek’s book, it was just a question of time before this would be adapted to the silent screen. Herr Gustav Machaty was the third one who did so when he directed “Svejk v Civilu” ( Svejk In Civilian Life ) in the silent year of 1927.

It must be said that Herr Svejk was simply the motivation for Herr Machaty’s film adaptation; our clumsy hero is not precisely the principal character of that picture. The story in the film is an original one which doesn’t exist in the book. Herr Svejk will simply be the link connecting the four different characters; Frau Lo, a modern rich and whimsical fraulein who has an old admirer, the Baron Camera; Herr Pavel, working as chauffeur for Frau Lo, the latter trying to seduce him but the chauffeur prefers the seamstress Frau Anna who lives in Herr Svejk neighborhood; and last but not least, there is a dog named “Hero” which will involve everyone with each other.

These four will be the principal characters of this funny and stylish comedy in where Herr Svejk has a secondary although important role due to his clumsiness and misunderstandings.

Herr Machaty differentiates the scenes depending on the characters involved; on one hand we have an elegant comedy with a subtle eroticism regarding the “ménage à quatre” and on the other one, the common and funny situations of Herr Svejk and his business partners, a motley bunch of common people inspired by their everyday life and packed with puns and sarcasm.

“Svejk v Civilu” is a very remarkable film, a skillful and rhythmic comedy in which Herr Machaty develops gags in a classical way for a film where the literary background is loosely adapted for the sake of cinematic interests, a fact that certainly is what really matters, that is to say, an inventive silent film, and not a faithful book transcription.

And now, if you’ll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count must avoid meeting a Teutonic rich heiress in order to prevent unexpected problems.

Herr Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien http://ferdinandvongalitzien.blogspot.com/

 

Director: Gustav Machatý
Writers: Jacques Bachrach (story), Karel Vanek/Jaroslav Hašek
Stars: Karl Noll, Dina Gralla, Jirí Hron