The Fall of the Romanov Dynasty 1927

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Fall of the Romanov Dynasty (1927) is one of Shub’s most famous surviving films and what many film historians classify as the first compilation film or Soviet montage. … The film covers the years 1912 to 1917, recounting the moments before, after and during World War I, and then ending with the October Revolution

The Fall of the Romanov Dynasty (1927)
Director – Esfir Shub
Writer – Esfir Shub
Consultant – Mark Tseitlin
Production Co – Sovkino, The Museum of the Revolution

The Fall of the Romanov Dynasty (1927) – Soviet filmmaker Esfir Shub assembled this historical documentary about the greatest and at the same time the tragic events in the history of Russia of the early XX century, as the leadership of the Czar and the Russian aristocracy crumbles and Vladimir Lenin rises to power in the wake of the Russian Revolution. The film is completely edited from materials from the archives of Nicholas II, and pre-revolutionary newsreels from various archives. Using archival news footage, Esfir Shub pieces together a chronology of Russia, from 1913 to 1917. Through editing, Shub casts a critical, ironic light on the former czarist regime. Esfir Shub has created unprecedented in world cinema genre – Documentary-historical movie.

In May 1913 the Romanov Dynasty celebrates its 300th anniversary at the Russian throne. The last emperor in the long line is Czar Nicholas II. He rules over a country with huge social and economic differences. Russia is for the most part still an agrarian society, but capitalism and its industries are growing. In 1914 Russia gets involved in the First World War. Czar Nicholas II declares a general mobilization. A vast number of peasants and workers have to go to the front as soldiers. After three years the country is ruined by the war, and there is a shortage of provisions.
In February 1917 workers begin striking in the capital, Petrograd. Their protests are soon joined by soldiers. A complete anarchy is threatening the country, when the parliament, called the Duma, reorganizes the power structure by forming a new Provisional Government. At the same time the Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies forms another ruling body at the City Hall of Petrograd. In this situation czar Nicholas II sees no other possibility than to resign from his government. On the 4th of March 1917 he declares his abdication from the throne.
The new Provisional Government and its war minister Kerensky continue the war. This presents an opportunity for the Bolsheviks to organize demonstrations and to persuade the workers and soldiers to overthrow the Provisional Government and seize power themselves.
Written by Maths Jesperson (

Filmmaker and editor Esfir Shub’s debut work, composed entirely of pre-revolutionary newsreels and a number of film documents of the revolutionary events of 1917, was a milestone work of Soviet documentary cinema and can claim to be the first film in the world to be based on found footage. With the help of captions and sharp edits the director shows the terrible social stratification in Russia at the turn of the century and directs the viewer to the idea of the inevitability of revolution. The leading theorists of the age contrasted Shub’s approach with that of Dziga Vertov, saying that «she gave the opportunity to examine a subject, without depriving the event of its documentary value».
Written by Viktor Shklovsky



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This silent film shows nearly thirty minutes of the famed Long Count Fight (also known as the Battle Of The Long Count) boxing match. This was actually a rematch between world Heavyweight champion Gene Tunney and former champion Jack Dempsey, held on September 25, 1927, at Soldier Field in Chicago. “Long Count” is applied to the fight because when Tunney was down the count was delayed due to Dempsey’s failure to go to and remain in a neutral corner. Whether this “long count” actually affected the outcome remains a subject of debate.

Just 364 days before, on September 26, 1926, Tunney had beaten Dempsey by a ten round unanimous decision to lift the world Heavyweight title, at Sesquicentennial Stadium in Philadelphia. The first fight between Tunney and Dempsey had been moved out of Chicago because Dempsey had learned that Al Capone was a big fan of his, and he did not want Capone to be involved in the fight.[citation needed] Capone reportedly bet $50,000 on Dempsey for the rematch, which fueled false rumors of a fix. Dempsey was favored by odds makers in both fights, largely because of public betting which heavily tilted towards Dempsey.

The rematch was held at Chicago’s Soldier Field, and would draw a gate of $2,658,660 (approximately $22 million in today’s dollars). It was the first $2 million gate in entertainment history.

Despite the fact that Tunney had won the first fight by a wide margin on the scorecards, the prospect of a second bout created tremendous public interest. Dempsey was one of the so-called “big five” sports legends of the 1920s, and it was widely rumored that he had refused to participate in the military during World War I. He actually had attempted to enlist in the Army, but had been turned down; a jury later exonerated Dempsey of draft evasion. Tunney, who enjoyed literature and the arts, was a former member of the United States Marine Corps. His nickname was The Fighting Marine.

The fight took place under new rules regarding knockdowns: the fallen fighter would have 10 seconds to rise to his feet under his own power, after his opponent moved to a neutral corner (i.e., one with no trainers). The new rule, which was not yet universal, was asked to be put into use during the fight by the Dempsey camp, who had requested it during negotiations. Dempsey, in the final days of training prior to the rematch, apparently ignored the setting of these new rules. Also, the fight was staged inside a 20-foot ring,[2] which favored the boxer with superior footwork, in this case Tunney. Dempsey liked to crowd his opponents, and normally fought in a 16-foot ring that offered less space to maneuver.

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The Return of Boston Blackie 1927

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Boston Blackie has just be released from prison and with the help of his canine pal Strongheart he is determined to walk the straight and narrow this time. Yet when he sees a mysterious woman on the run from the law he leaps to help and finds himself entangles in the schemes of former partner in crime, Denver Dan, to score a necklace worth a fortune.

Director: Harry O. Hoyt
Screenplay: Leah Baird
Producer: I.E. Chadwick
Story by: Jack Boyle

Stars: Strongheart the Dog, Bob Custer, Corliss Palmer

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

Now You’re Talking 1927

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An instructional film for the telephone using a combination of animation and live action. Produced by Max and Dave Fleischer.

Beautifully preserved silent advertising film from Max Fleischer. The film starts off with a man trying to talk into a phone while trying to smoke a cigar. After failing to hear clearly (clearly failing to grasp how to use a phone), the man falls asleep.

His dream is done in the classic 1920’s Fleischer style, using word balloons when characters needs to speak. The film relies on simple black and white lines, much like his later sound film “Finding His Voice”.

A anthropomorphic phone is rushed into the hospital. When the doctor examines him, the phone complains of fatigue and the doctor examines the phone’s diary. The diary covers all the don’t of the day; don’t get the cord wet, don’t tangle the cord, look up correct number when speaking with the operator, etc. It should be noted that the film does contain a stereotypical portrayal of a African American zookeeper, complete with stereotypical speech.

After the rules are covered, the man wakes up, remembers the rules and is able to hear what’s going on. The print for this film is in excellent condition and a fine example of Fleischer’s style of the period.

Copied at 24fps from a 35mm print preserved by the Library of Congress, drawing from material from the AFI/Donald Nicol and AFI/Ahti Pataja Collections.

My Friend from India 1927

IMDb 7.1

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Wealthy young man about town, Tommy Valentine (Franklin Pangborn) comes to the aid of Barbara Smith (Elinor Fair). But before he can learn anything about Barbara, her social climbing Aunt Bedelia (Ethel Wales), whisks her away. On a mission to “find the girl,” Tommy looks for her everywhere. He unknowingly befriends her brother Charlie, who invites him to spend the evening in Smith’s palatial home. The next morn Aunt Bedelia finds Tommy with his head wrapped in a towel and assumes him to be the Hindu prince that Charlie promised to bring to her society party. Introduced to all as a Prince from Calcutta, Tommy is forced to see the charade through. But the local con-man Charlie had previously arranged to appear at the party as the Prince shows up as well. At least Tommy is able to reconnect with Barbara, that is until the police show up with orders to arrest all fake fakirs.

Director: E. Mason Hopper
Screenplay: Rex Taylor
Story by: H.A. DuSouchet
Cinematography: Dewey Wrigley

Stars: Franklin Pangborn, Elinor Fair, Ben Hendricks Jr.

Fluttering Hearts 1927

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Defying her father’s wishes, a young woman runs off to a sale at store. She’s pursued by a policeman, but wins him over with the help of a friendly millionaire. In the mean time, her father tries to retrieve a compromising letter.

Director: James Parrott
Producer: Hal Roach
Screenplay: H. M. Walker, Charley Chase
Production companies: Pathé, Hal Roach Studios

Stars: Charley Chase, Oliver Hardy, Martha Sleeper