Barbed Wire 1927

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During World War I, French peasant girl Mona (Pola Negri) is left with her father (Claude Gillingwater) to manage the family farm when her brother (Einar Hanson) enlists. Soon after, the French military commandeers the farm for a prisoner-of-war camp. Although resentful of the Germans, Mona befriends German prisoner Oskar (Clive Brook), who defends her from a lecherous French sergeant. Mona’s sympathy for Oskar rouses anger in the village, but provokes a surprise when her brother returns.

Director: Rowland V. Lee
Screenplay: Rowland V. Lee, Jules Furthman
Production companies: Paramount Pictures, Famous Players-Lasky
Producers: Rowland V. Lee, Jesse L. Lasky, Erich Pommer

Stars: Pola Negri, Clive Brook, Claude Gillingwater


David Harum 1915

david harum

The story of David Harum, a small-town banker, and how what he does and who he is affects the lives of everyone in his town, whether they–or he–realize it.

Director: Allan Dwan
Screenplay: Allan Dwan
Production company: Famous Players Film Company
Producer: Adolph Zukor

Stars: William H. Crane, Harold Lockwood, May Allison

The Woman God Forgot 1917

Also known as La olvidada de Dios

Spanish Language only

the woman god forgot


Synopsis by Hal Erickson

With the exception of Joan the Woman, which contained a “contemporary” subplot, The Woman God Forgot was Cecil B. DeMille’s first all-out historical spectacular. The story is set in Mexico during the reign of Emperor Montezuma (Raymond Hatton). Upon his arrival on Mexican soil, Spanish conquistador Cortez (Hobart Bosworth) sends Captain Alvarado (Wallace Reid) to the imperial palace with a demand for Montezuma’s surrender. The emperor immediately puts Alvarado in chains, but he is rescued by Montezuma’s daughter Tecza (Geraldine Farrar), who has fallen in love with the young Spaniard. This does not rest well with Tecza’s parent-appointed fiance Guatemoco (Theodore Kosloff), who prepares to sacrifice Alvarado to the Aztec gods. To save her sweetheart, Tecza leads Cortez’ army into battle against her own father. The price of her devotion to Alvarado is the total destruction of the Aztec empire, but rather than die herself (which would seem to be the logical denouement given the sequence of events), Tecza is permitted to live happily onward with her one true love. Though she was not exactly sylphlike, opera diva Geraldine Farrar wore her revealing costumes quite well, establishing a precedent for such later underdressed DeMille leading ladies as Gloria Swanson, Claudette Colbert and Hedy Lamarr.


Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Production company: Famous Players-Lasky
Cast: Wallace Reid, Raymond Hatton, Hobart Bosworth, Ramon Novarro
Screenplay: Jeanie MacPherson, William C. deMille
Producers: Cecil B. DeMille, Jesse L. Lasky

The Young Rajah 1922

The Young Rajah

Rudolph Valentino (as Amos Judd) is a holy Indian prince, brought to America as a small boy; there, he was adopted by the Judds. The throne of Amos’s real father had been seized by tyrannical Bertram Grassby (as Ali Kahn). Mr. Valentino is told of his true identity, but happily remains in America, where his muscles and magnetism make him a popular student at Harvard University. Valentino’s innate precognitive abilities surface as he meets and falls in love with Wanda Hawley (as Molly Cabot). Due, undoubtedly, to his divine past, Valentino’s gift of prophecy grows more pronounced. After his life is threatened, he must decide whether or not he should return to India and reclaim his throne.

Excellent restoration by Flicker Alley, the Library of Moving Images Collection, and Turner Classic Movies – the available footage and supplementary material have the integrity of the full film; the beginning footage is mostly lost, so the viewing pleasure improves over the running time. However, the story’s “Mystical Eastern Hindu” exoticism hasn’t aged well, and the film is only partially successful in its intent. Valentino and Grassby are passable as Indians (from India); actually, Valentino is better as an All-American.

The best aspect of the film is how it addresses racism – and, it is best portrayed by Wanda Hawley as Valentino’s love interest; in effective scenes, she struggles with her own racism. She loves Valentino, but questions marrying a man who isn’t her “kind”. The film advises, “Men should be judged not by their tint of skin, the Gods they serve, the Vintage that they drink, nor by the way they fight, or love, or sin – but by the quality of thought they think.” Ms. Hawley’s struggle parallels Valentino’s own – should he stay in America, or return to native India?…| by wes-connors (Los Angeles)

Director: Phil Rosen
Screenplay: June Mathis
Production company: Famous Players-Lasky
Story by: John Ames Mitchell, Alethea Luce

Stars: Rudolph Valentino, Wanda Hawley, Pat Moore

For Better, for Worse 1919

7.7/10 · IMDb

for better for worse

The plot of the film has Gloria Swanson as a young woman torn between two men. She admires a local doctor (Elliott Dexter) and his friend (Tom Forman), but when WW I breaks out and both men are about to go off to war, Dexter decides he’s needed more at home. In a snit, Swanson marries Forman and cheers him off to war. After Forman is listed as dead, Swanson goes back to Dexter. But everyone is in for a big surprise at the party to announce their engagement. Wanda Hawley co-stars.

Bottom line: This was the second film collaboration among De Mille, Swanson, and Dexter, following their big success with DON’T CHANGE YOUR HUSBAND. Swanson eventually made six films with De Mille, which established her as one of the biggest stars in films.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille/Jesse L. Lasky
Writers: Jeanie Macpherson (story), Edgar Selwyn (play)
Stars: Elliott Dexter, Tom Forman, Gloria Swanson



The Grand Duchess and the Waiter 1926

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7.9/10 · IMDb

Hoping to become better acquainted with the cute waitress he’s recently become infatuated with, a French millionaire masquerades as a waiter at her place of employment. This farcical romance from Malcolm St. Clair has origins in a stageplay and features the appealing romantic team of Adolphe Menjou and Florence Vidor.

Director: Malcolm St. Clair
Story by: Alfred Savoir
Production company: Famous Players-Lasky

Producers: Jesse L. Lasky, Adolph Zukor


Stars: Adolphe Menjou, Florence Vidor, Lawrence Grant

The King on Main Street 1925

the King on main street

The King on Main Street is a 1925 American silent romantic comedy film directed by Monta Bell and starring Adolphe Menjou and Bessie Love. Wikipedia
Initial release: October 25, 1925
Director: Monta Bell
Production company: Famous Players-Lasky

Story by: Robert de Flers, Gaston Arman de Caillavet
Producers: Jesse L. Lasky, Adolph Zukor

Stars: Adolphe Menjou, Bessie Love, Greta Nissen