1920s

The 1920’s:

Image result for the cabinet of dr. caligari criterionDas Kabinett des Doktor Caligari (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari) (1920)
Director: Robert Wiene. This silent German Expressionist film is a classic of early horror cinema that explores the psychology of a mad hypnotist and his murderous somnambulist. But things are not always as they seem in this haunting picture.

Golem 1920 Poster.jpgDer Golem, wie er in die Welt kam (The Golem: How He Came Into The World) (1920)
Directors: Paul Wegener and Carl Boese. The Golem is a silent horror, German Expressionist film about the mythic German-Jewish golem creature as it is animated by a Jewish rabbi to protect the Jews of ancient Prague, but the golem predictably terrorizes the whole community.

FairbanksMarkofZorro.jpgThe Mark of Zorro (1920)
Director: Fred Niblo. Starring Douglas Fairbanks “The King of Hollywood” as the unimpressive Don Diego Vega by day,  turned acrobatic  hero by night, Zorro. It is a fun adventure in old  Spanish California.Waydowneast1.jpgWay Down East (1920)
Director: D.W. Griffith. Starring Lillian Gish and Richard Barthelmess, this melodrama is one of Griffith’s great silent masterpieces. The film is about a pitiable young country girl, who is treated poorly and births a child to an unjust man who leaves her and then the baby dies. When rumors circulate, she is cast out and left for dead in a dangerous scene of ice and snow, only to be rescued and reunited with the love of her life in the end.

Image result for the four horsemen of the apocalypse (1921)The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921)
Director: Rex Ingram. This is the film that formed the career of the “Latin Lover” Rudy Valentino. It tells the epic story of an Argentinian-French family divided against one another during World War I.

Image result for the kid (1921)The Kid (1921)
Director: Charlie Chaplin. The Kid is Chaplin’s first feature film as a director. Tragically its production coincided with Chaplin’s own personal misfortunes: divorce and the loss of his firstborn. It tells the sentimental, tragicomic story of the Tramp as he cares for an orphaned child (played by Jackie Coogan) until the boy’s long-lost mother reclaims him.

Orphans of the Storm (1921)
Director: D.W. Griffith. Featuring the famous Gish sisters, Lillian and Dorothy, Orphans of the Storm is the last of Griffith’s major silent films. The film tells the story of two poor French sisters who travel to Paris during the French Revolution and they become caught up in the chaos only to find love and happiness in the end.

Image result for the phantom carriage (1921)The Phantom Carriage (1921)
Director: Victor Sjöström. The Phantom Carriage (literally Körkarlen or “The Wagoner”) is a silent Swedish, horror film about an old, ghostly legend. The film has a haunting, dream-like quality to it, thanks to its astounding special effects.

Image result for The Sheik (1921)The Sheik (1921)
Director: George Melford. The Sheik tells the exotic story of a woman who is captured by an Arabian sheik (played by Rudy Valentino) with whom she soon falls in love. A sequel was made in 1926, and the sequel is generally considered superior.

Image result for Dr. Mabuse The GamblerDr. Mabuse The Gambler (1922)
Director: Fritz Lang. Dr. Mabuse is a four and a half hour German epic about a mischievous psychologist who has mastered the art of mind control and disguise, so he orchestrates events to work in his favor.

Foolish Wives (1922)
Director: Erich von Stroheim. Foolish Wives is the erotic tragedy about a man posing as a Count in order to seduce wealthy women and steal their money. It is memorable mainly for being an early Erich von Stroheim film, and also for introducing his eccentric personality as a director.

Haxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages (1922)
Director: Benjamin Christensen. Haxan is a Dutch-Swedish silent, pseudo-documentary horror film focused on the occult: witches, satanism, and other superstitions. The costumes and set designs are particularly terrifying in this creepy film.

La Souriante Madame Beudet.jpgLa Souriante Madame Beudet (The Smiling Madame Beudet) (1922)
Director: Germaine Dulac. The Smiling Madame Beudet is an avant-garde and beautifully created short French film about a woman trapped in a loveless marriage.

Nanook of the North (1922)
Director: Robert Flaherty. Nanook is the famous, or perhaps infamous, silent documentary film about the trials facing Nanook, a Canadian-Inuit hunting chief. However, much of the film was actually scripted and staged for production.

Image result for Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (Nosferatu, a Symphony of Terror) (1922)Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (Nosferatu, a Symphony of Terror) (1922)
Director: F.W. Murnau. Nosferatu is one of the great horror films of all time and it is an essential German Expressionist picture. It was nearly sued out of existence by the estate of Bram Stoker for plagiarizing the story of Dracula, but thankfully one copy of the picture has survived to our great benefit.

Robin Hood (1922)
Director: Allan Dwan. Douglas Fairbanks “The King of Hollywood” plays the exuberant and acrobatic Robin Hood in this impressive fore-runner to future Robin Hood films, particularly Errol Flynn’s memorable 1938 performance.

Image result for a woman of paris 1923A Woman of Paris (1923)
Director: Charlie Chaplin. A Woman Of Paris is Charlie Chaplin’s attempt at a drama film that does not feature either himself or his classic Tramp character. It is a somewhat forgettable film, if not for Charlie Chaplin.

The Covered Wagon (1923)
Director: James Cruze. The Covered Wagon is important for being the first big Hollywood Western epic. It tells the story of a pioneer wagon convoy departing from Kansas to Oregon in 1848 as they encounter American Indians, wild buffalo, and unfriendly terrain.

Coeur fidèle (Faithful Heart) (1923)
Director: Jean Epstein. Faithful Heart is a slow-moving French Impressionist film that tells the melodramatic love story two people in Marseilles, France.

Le Roue (The Wheel) (1923)
Director: Abel Gance. Abel Gance is the master of the silent French epic film and The Wheel is his masterpiece. The film paints the tragic picture of Sisif, a railroad engineer who falls in love with his adopted daughter along with his son. He moves up into the mountains and is cared for by his daughter until his pitiable death. It is a disturbingly beautiful picture, albeit a behemoth of a film.

Our Hospitality (1923)
Directors: Buster Keaton and John Blystone. This Buster Keaton comedy classic is about two feuding southern families (in a parody of the Hatfields and the McCoys), and their son who returns years later to claim his inheritance. Naturally, mayhem ensues.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923)
Director: Wallace Worsley. This classic version of Victor Hugo’s great Parisian-Gothic novel is the film that made Lon Chaney “The Man of a Thousand Faces” famous for his grotesque portrayal of Quasimodo.

Image result for Safety Last! (1923)Safety Last! (1923)
Directors: Fred Newmeyer and Sam Taylor. Safety Last! is Harold Lloyd’s most celebrated silent comedy film. Even today, the film is an anxious comedy that leaves audiences worried for Lloyd’s safety as he scales a massive department store building, barely clinging to life from a clock tower while traffic speeds by far below.

Image result for the ten commandments 1923The Ten Commandments (1923)
Director: Cecil B. DeMille. Similar in scope to D.W. Griffith’s multi-narrative epic Intolerance, Cecil B. De Mille created a massive silent epic with The Ten Commandments that, in part, mirrors the story of the book of Exodus, and also conveys a parallel story about two present-day brothers, one noble and one evil. DeMille later restructured and remade the film in 1956.

Image result for Der Letzte Mann (The Last Laugh) (1924)Der Letzte Mann (The Last Laugh) (1924)
Director: F.W. Murnau. Starring Emil Jannings, The Last Laugh is the brilliant work of F.W. Murnau, the great auteur of early cinema. It tells the somewhat absurd story of a proud but aging hotel doorman who falls beneath his station in life when he is demoted to a washroom attendant as a result of his age. However, the film becomes a comedy in a surprising twist of fate, when he inherits a vast sum of money and regains his status.

Nibelung.jpgDie Nibelungen: Siegfried (1924)
Director: Fritz Lang. Die Niebelungen is a two part Germanic epic film directed by the “Master of Darkness.” Part I details the rise of the heroic Prince Siegfried and his many accomplishments until he is killed and his princess commits suicide.

Image result for Die Nibelungen: Kriemhild's Revenge (1924)Die Nibelungen: Kriemhild’s Revenge (1924)
Director: Fritz Lang. Die Niebelungen is a two part Germanic epic film directed by the “Master of Darkness.” Part II, is a revenge story against Hagen, the killer of Prince Siegfried in Part I.

Image result for The Great White Silence (1924)The Great White Silence (1924)
Director: Herbert Ponting. The Great White Silence is the powerful and harrowing documentary about the ill-fated 1910-1913 expedition through the desolate, icy tundra to reach the South Pole.

Image result for greed (1924)Greed (1924)
Director: Erich von Stroheim. With Greed, the eccentric Austrian-American director, Erich von Stroheim, creates an intertwined western story of two friends caught up in fraud and selfishness, who both wind up being murderers, handcuffed to each other, without water, in the desert just out of reach of their prized money.

The Iron Horse (1924)
Director: John Ford. John Ford once called this western epic his personal favorite from his repertoire. The film is about the clash of cultures amidst the construction of the transcontinental railroad.

Inhumaine.jpgL’inhumaine (1924)
Director: Marcel L’Herbier. “The Inhuman Woman” is an experimental French film about a heartless woman and the evil she brings upon those around her.

Image result for the navigator (1924)The Navigator (1924)
Directors: Buster Keaton and Donald Crisp. Buster Keaton’s classic stone-faced character hilariously purchases honeymoon cruise tickets prior to proposing marriage to a girl. When she predictably rejects his proposal, he decides to go on the honeymoon alone, but the two connect on the ship amidst Buster Keaton’s standard slapstick high jinks until the ship runs aground and they are nearly captured by cannibals, but they are saved at the last moment.

The Thief of Bagdad (1924)
Director: Raoul Walsh. Based on the Thousand and One Arabian Nights, this Douglas Fairbanks classic is a fun Arabian adventure that later became the inspiration for Disney’s Aladdin.

Sherlock jr poster.jpgSherlock, Jr. (1924)
Director: Buster Keaton. Sherlock, Jr. is delightful short meta-film. Buster Keaton plays a movie theatre projectionist who dreams of becoming a detective. He unsuccessfully tries to impress a girl and then falls asleep beside a film projector and has a dream that he climbs into the silver screen from the theatre and he appears in a series of movies (the effects are remarkable) only to be awoken and reunited with his love interest.

He Who Gets Slapped.jpgHe Who Gets Slapped (1924)
Director: Victor Sjöström. He Who Gets Slapped is a tragic silent film starring the great Lon Chaney. It tells the story of a reputable academic who makes a remarkable breakthrough discovery, but he is betrayed and his reputation is sullied. His wife leaves him, and he sinks to becoming traveling clown in a circus. However, the film is also a tale of revenge and requital as the clown ultimately gets the last laugh.

Vintage_PotemkinThe Battleship Potemkin (Bronenosets Potyomkin) (1925)
Director: Sergei Eisenstein. The Battleship Potemkin is Eisenstein’s masterpiece of Soviet propaganda. He used the film as a testing ground for his theory of montage editing in order to build dramatic tension to highlight and exaggerate the conflict between the rebellious sailors of the Battleship Potemkin against the oppressive Russian Tsarist regime.

Ben-Hur A Tale of the Christ (1925)
Director: Fred Niblo. Ben-Hur is the incredible epic story of the ancient Jew, Judah Ben-Hur, who rises up from slavery during the time of Jesus Christ, and he goes on to become a successful Roman athlete and charioteer. The film was, of course, famously remade by William Wyler in 1959 starring Charlton Heston. Both are excellent films.

The Big Parade (1925)
Director: King Vidor. The Big Parade is the foundational war epic film that laid the groundwork for other powerful war films to come, like All Quiet on the Western Front in 1930. It tells the horrific story of three men and their experiences in World War I. The film boosted King Vidor into the Hollywood spotlight and changed the landscape of war films for the future.

The Freshman (1925)
Director: Fred C. Newmeyer and Sam Taylor. The Freshman is another terrific comedy from Harold Lloyd, masterfully preserved thanks to the Criterion Collection. As the title suggests, Lloyd plays an awkward freshman in college who accidentally wins a football game for his alma mater and also wins the heart of his love interest.

220px-Goldrush2The Gold Rush (1925)
Director: Charlie Chaplin. The Gold Rush sees the return of Charlie Chaplin’s classic Tramp character to the silver screen as he travels to the Yukon for the Klondike Gold Rush. He meets an odd prospector named Big Jim, along with a dangerous criminal, and he falls in love with a girl in a nearby town. In the end, Big Jim and the Tramp discover gold and they become filthy rich, just as the Tramp wins the heart of his paramour.

Go West (1925)
Director: Buster Keaton. Go West is Buster Keaton’s parody of a cowboy western film as he travels west from the big city to become a cowboy, but winds up merely befriending a cow, until he leads a herd of cattle through the city of Los Angeles.

The Lost World (1925) - film poster.jpgThe Lost World (1925)
Director: Harry Hoyt. Based on the Arthur Conan Doyle adventure novel of the same name, The Lost World is wonderful adventure film about a group that gets trapped in the Amazon with dinosaurs and cannibals, until they successfully capture a brontosaurus and bring it back to the city where it runs amok, paving the way for King Kong.

The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
Director: Rupert Julian. The Phantom of the Opera stays true to the Gaston Leroux novel for the most part, but the true star of this film is Lon Chaney “The Man of a Thousand Faces” who plays the phantom, and who devised his own make-up for one particularly memorable and frightening scene in which the phantom is unmasked.

Stachka (Strike) (1925)
Director: Sergei Eisenstein. Strike is Eisenstein’s first major propaganda film (The Battleship Potemkin was released that year) and in it we find early elements of his Soviet montage style employed as a group of factory workers in Tsarist Russia rebel against the corrupt owners while spliced images of cows being slaughtered are edited into the montage.

Seven Chances (1925)
Director: Buster Keaton. Seven Chances is a delightful Buster Keaton short film about a young man who realizes he is receiving an inheritance of $7M, but his inheritance is dependent on him being married prior to his 27th birthday. Suddenly, he realizes he is about to turn 27 so he proposes to his girlfriend, but she declines believing he is after money rather than love, so he is chased all over town by many women for his money, until he is reunited with his girlfriend and married before he turns 27.

Image result for Visages d’enfantsVisages d’enfants (1925)
Director: Jacques Feyder. “The Faces of Children” is a simple and beautiful film about a family living in the scenic Swiss alps whose mother suddenly dies so the father sends his son away for a time, and he eventually falls in love again and remarries. The film is a psychological exploration into the boy’s mind focusing on his mother’s death and his father’s remarriage.

3 Bad Men (1926)
Director: John Ford. 3 Bad Men was John Ford’s last silent film (most of his silent pictures have not survived) and it tells the beautiful western story of three horse thieves during the South Dakota land rush but they decide to change their ways when they suddenly become caretakers for a young woman, and find her a husband so they can live in peace on the prairie. This was John Ford’s last western film until the incredible Stagecoach in 1939.

Image result for The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926)The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926)
Director: Lotte Reiniger. The Adventures of Prince Achmed is the oldest surviving animated feature film. The animation is amazing (Reiniger used the silhouettes of cardboard cutouts) and the plot is largely taken from the Thousand and One Arabian Nights.

Faust-1926-Poster-MGM.jpgFaust (1926)
Director: F.W. Murnau. This film is yet another excellent picture from F.W. Murnau, based on Goethe’s interpretation of the Germanic legend. It is a silent horror film in which Emil Jannings plays “Mephisto” (or Mephistopheles).

Flesh and the Devil (1926)
Director: Clarence Brown. Greta Garbo steals the show in this tragic tale of romance in Germany as two former soldiers battle for the heart of one woman who sadly slips through ice at the end of the film and drowns. Amazingly, during the production of the film the romance between Greta Garbo and John Gilbert was not faked on screen as they had fallen in love secretly behind the scenes.

Image result for the general 1927The General (1926)
Director: Buster Keaton. Loosely based on historical events that took place in the American Civil War, The General is Buster Keaton’s magnum opus. He plays a Confederate engineer who travels behind union lines on his train “The General” to rescue his sweetheart and provide key intelligence to the Confederate army.

Thesonofthesheik.jpgThe Son of the Sheik (1926)
Director: George Fitzmaurice. This 1926 sequel to The Sheik (1921), also starring the “Latin Lover” of silent cinema, Rudy Valentino, is widely reputed to be better than the original. In it, Valentino plays the spoiled son of the sheik as a he falls in love with a dancer who he believes betrays him in a dramatic scene of kidnapping and ransom. This was Valentino’s final film before his untimely death from peritonitis.

Seventh Heaven 1927.jpg7th Heaven (1927)
Director: Frank Borzage. 7th Heaven is a slow moving dramatic, silent, romance film starring Janet Gaynor (who played the memorable wife in Murnau’s Sunrise) and Charles Farrell. The story is about a Parisian sewer worker who falls in love with a young woman amidst the backdrop of the First World War.

Berlin: Die Sinfonie der Großstadt (Berlin: Symphony of A Great City) (1927)
Director: Walter Ruttman. Berlin is the essential, plotless “city symphony” film. This movie offers us a brilliant panorama of a day in the life of Berlin -its people, architecture, entertainment and so on- just before the rise of the Third Reich in a handful of years.

It1927clarabow.jpgIt (1927)
Directors: Clarence G. Badger and Josef von Sternberg (uncredited). It is the career-launching silent comedy film that labeled Clara Bow as the quintessential “It Girl.” The film tells a romantic story of a department store worker as she hopes to win the affection of her boss, the department store owner.

The_Jazz_Singer_1927_PosterThe Jazz Singer (1927)
Director: Alan Crosland. The Jazz Singer is important solely because it is the first “talkie” in the history of cinema (that is, it is the first film to synchronize dialogue with the running film). The plot is about a young Jewish man (played by Al Jolson) who disappoints his family by running away to become a jazz singer (and he performs in blackface unfortunately) but he eventually returns and reconciles with his father and his synagogue.

The Kid Brother (1927)
Directors: Ted Wilde, J.A. Wilde, Harold Lloyd, Lewis Milestone. The Kid Brother is another wild ride from Harold Lloyd as he plays one of three sons of a sheriff. He tries to win the heart of a girl, but he is regularly mocked for being weak. Then the town is robbed and the sheriff (his father) is blamed. The sheriff sends his two older and stronger sons to solve the crime but they cannot, so Lloyd accidentally solves the crime and returns the stolen items to his town.

The King of Kings (1927)

Image result for the lodgerThe Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927)
Director: Alfred Hitchcock. The Lodger is Hitchcock’s first great film. All of London is in fear because a serial killer (a la “Jack the Ripper”) is on the loose and attacking blonde women. One night, a strange man appears at a lodging house to rent a room, and suspicions grow but Daisy, the girl of the house finds him intriguing. However, just as a mob descends on ‘the lodger’ he professes his innocence and that he was trying to catch the true killer, whom the police apprehend. The Lodger is a classic Hitchcock film.

MV5BNDAzNTkyODg1MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDA3NDkwMDE@._V1_SX640_SY720_Metropolis (1927)
Director: Fritz Lang. Metropolis is the great silent, monumental, masterpiece directed by the “Master of Darkness.” It tells the dystopian, futuristic story of workers who work in dark and dingy quarters below ground, while a peaceful aristocracy enjoys life above ground. One member goes below to see the horrors of life for the workers, meanwhile a scientist has been constructing a humanoid female robot who leads an uprising of workers below ground until reconciliation is found at the end.

Image result for napoleon 1927Napoleon (1927)
Director: Abel Gance. Napoleon is one of Abel Gance’s towering epic films of the silent era, along with J’accuse! in 1919 and La Roue in 1922. The original intent was for the film to be a six part, 75 minute each biopic, however it was significantly edited down to a more palatable time-frame, but nevertheless Gance’s films are all behemoths.

Oktyabr (October) (1927)
Directors: Sergei Eisenstein and Grigori Aleksandrov. October is Eisenstein’s third and final great silent classic film that employs the use of his montage theory. This Soviet government commissioned this propaganda film to commemorate the Bolshevik revolution, or the Leninist “October Revolution.”

Sunrise-PosterBest Unique and Artistic Picture (1927-1928): Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927)
Director: F.W. Murnau. Sunrise is yet another silent masterpiece from F.W. Murnau. It won an award at the very first Academy Awards ceremony for “Best Unique and Artistic Picture,” an award that has only been given once to clear the way for the Best Picture award (which has been credited to Wings for the year 1927-1928). The film paints a beautiful picture of an unhappy married couple in a rural European community, the unnamed husband is tempted by a loose woman, and he fails in an attempt to kill his wife so they both flee to the city where he begs her for forgiveness in a church and they reconcile. They return home after adventures in the city and he kills the other woman to be with his wife just as the sun rises.

Underworld (1927)

Wings_posterOutstanding Picture (1927-1928): Wings (1927)
Director: William A. Wellman. Wings is the first ever winner of the award for Best Picture from the Academy. The film stars Clara Bow and a young Gary Cooper. It tells the story of two young adversaries who both are sent to fight in World War I, and both are in love with the same girl back home.

The Cameraman (1928)
Directors: Edward Sedgwick and Buster Keaton. It tells the story of a young cameraman who tries to become a MGM filmer/photographer (ironically this was Keaton’s first MGM film) and he tries to impress a young woman with his footage. It is another delightful film from Buster Keaton.

The Circus (1928)
Director: Charlie Chaplin. The Circus was an extremely challenging film for Chaplin to complete due to his public divorce from his second wife, her allegations of infidelity, a massive studio fire, the death of Chaplin’s mother, and threats from the IRS for owing back taxes. For all this Chaplin suffered a nervous breakdown. The film tells the story of the Tramp who wanders into a circus and accidentally steals the show. It is a tremendous film and it was a huge success of the silent era.

The Crowd (1928)
Director: King Vidor. The Crowd is a powerful and somber film about a man who is struggling through his job and marriage in the big city. One day, his daughter is accidentally killed and ‘the crowd’ of people mourns briefly and then moves along leading the protagonist into a downward spiral until he gets a job as a juggling clown. In 1934, King Vidor produced a sequel of sorts about a man who lives far away from the crowd in the country, called Our Daily Bread.

The-Docks-of-New-York-Poster.jpgThe Docks of New York (1928)
Director: Josef von Sternberg. The Docks of New York is Josef von Sternberg’s third silent masterpiece, after Underworld in 1927 and The Last Command in 1928. It is a film about the dark underclass of New York as two shipmen arrive at New York’s harbor and are caught up in a swirling drama, one in reuniting with his former wife, and another with a prostitute.

In Old Arizona (1928)
Best Actor: Warren Baxter
Director: Irving Cummings. In Old Arizona was the first “talkie” western film. It tells the story of a desert bandit named “The Cisco Kid” as he thwarts his capture by a local sergeant and he double crosses the woman who loves him.

The Last Command (1928)
Best Actor: Emil Jannings (also awarded for his performance in The Way of All Flesh)
Director: Josef Von Sternberg. Starring the great but controversial Emil Jannings, who won the first Academy Award for Best Actor for his part in this film, The Last Command is one of Von Sternberg’s three silent masterpieces, also including Underworld in 1927 and The Docks of New York in 1928. The plots tells the flashback story of a formerly powerful commander from Tsarist Russia who narrowly escapes the Bolshevik revolution (leaving him with an unusual head twitch) and he comes to Hollywood as an aging extra who is cast in one final film (as a Tsarist general to mock him) but he delivers an outstanding performance, believing himself to be in Tsarist Russia once again, before he promptly dies.

Image result for the fall of the house of usher film 1928La Chute de la maison Usher (The Fall of the House of Usher) (1928)
Director: Jean Epstein. The Fall of the House of Usher is an experimental, French avant-garde retelling of Edgar Allen Poe’s story.

the-passion-of-joan-of-arcLa Passion de Jeanne D’Arc (The Passion of Joan of Arc) (1928)
Director: Carl Theodor Dreyer. The Passion of Joan Arc is an extraordinary, silent, stylized French retelling of the trial of Joan Arc. The film focuses on her inquisition after being captured by the English, and her refusal to sacrifice her faith, and it concludes with her being burned at the stake. Renee (Maria) Falconetti delivers a career-defining performance as Joan of Arc.

Image result for La Petite marchande d'allumettes 1928La Petite merchande d’allumettes (The Little Match Girl) (1928)
Director: Jean Renoir. The Little Match Girl is a tragic short, French film from Jean Renoir. It tells the story of a poor, French girl who wanders the snowy streets of Paris trying to sell matches, until she huddles into a corner and dreams of being in a toy store until she dies alone on the street.

2largeSteamboat Willie (1928)
Directors: Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks. Steamboat Willie is the famous short cartoon, known for being the first cartoon to feature synchronized sound, as well. The title is a reference to Buster Keaton’s film, Steamboat Bill, Jr. released that same year. Steamboat Willie debuts Mickey Mouse.

stea2Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928)
Director: Steamboat Bill Jr. was the last of Buster Keaton’s 9 independent films made for Joseph Schenck. It tells the story of the clumsy and effeminate “stone face” character who disappoints his Mississipii river-boat captain father, but suddenly when a cyclone strikes, Keaton’s character accidentally saves the day.

190px-The_Wind_(1928)The Wind (1928)
Director: Victor Sjöström. The Wind was one of the last silent films to be released, and it is only appropriate that Lillian Gish stars in the film. The Wind is a chilling film about a young girl who travels west by train, haunted by the wind. She arrives at a ranch and defends herself by killing a man who assaults her. The wind reveals the man’s body to her, only to swallow it up in the sand shortly thereafter, vindicating her killing.

Blackmail (1929)
Director: Alfred Hitchcock. Blackmail tells the story of woman in an argument with her boyfriend, an investigator, so she meets another man and goes up to his flat where they paint over a picture of a sad clown but when he tries to assault her she kills him. She leaves in a daze, but accidentally leaves behind her glove. She and her boyfriend are then blackmailed until the story is brought to a close.

Outstanding Picture (1928/1929) The Broadway Melody (1929)
Director: Harry Beaumont. The Broadway Melody won the second award for Best Picture from the Academy in Hollywood, and it was also the first “talkie” to win the award. The film tells the story of two poor sisters who travel to New York City, looking for a career on broadway. One sister becomes a great success than the other, and the film is about their parallel stories, jealousies, and redemption.

The Cocoanuts.jpgThe Cocoanuts (1929)
Directors: Robert Florey and Joseph Santley. The Cocoanuts is the first big Marx Brothers feature-film as Groucho Marx runs a hotel in Florida along with Zeppo Marx, and predictably chaos ensues when a wealthy aristocrat arrives, along with her concerns of her daughter’s marriage, followed by two empty-suitcased thieves (played by Harpo and Chico Marx).

Diary of a Lost Girl (1929)

Die Büchse der Pandora (Pandora’s Box 1929)
Director: G.W. Pabst. Starring the erotic-icon, Louise Brooks, this German melodrama is about a woman who seduces men, married or not, which leads her into a downward spiral working the streets and treated poorly. The ending is ambiguous, but the audience is led to believe she is stabbed to death.

The Love Parade (1929)

man-with-a-movie-camera-posterMan With A Movie Camera (1929)
Director: Dziga Vertov. Man With A Movie Camera is an abstract and highly experimental Russian film shot around the cities of Kiev, Kharkov, Moscow, and Odessa. It employs a variety of innovative shooting and editing techniques.

un-chien-andalouUn Chien Andalou (An Andalusian Dog) (1929)
Director: Luis Buñuel. “An Andalusian Dog” is a silent, surrealist, Freudian free association French film that depicts a series of disturbing nightmarish sequences. The idea for the film came about from dreams between friends, Salvador Dali and Buñuel (who was a staff member on Jean Epstein films).

The Virginian (1929)
Director: Victor Fleming. The Virginian is an early Gary Cooper film about a Virginia man who gets into a fight with a cattle rancher, gets married, and when the rancher returns they duel.

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