wed 20/10/2021

silent movies

Blu-ray: The Hands of Orlac (Orlacs Hände)

The German director Robert Wiene is best known for The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari (1920), perhaps the most influential piece of expressionist cinema. He's not as well known as F. W. Murnau or Fritz Lang, but he deserves to be in the same league....

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Blu-ray: Straight Shooting / Hell Bent

There are moments in Straight Shooting (1917), the first feature directed by John (then "Jack") Ford, when its star Harry Carey (1878-1947) exudes a naturalism that the famous Western actors who followed him, most notably John Wayne, strove to...

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The Best Films Out Now

There are films to meet every taste in theartsdesk's guide to the best movies currently on release. In our considered opinion, any of the titles below is well worth your attention.Enola Holmes ★★★★ Millie Bobby Brown gives the patriarchy what-for in...

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Blu-ray: The Golem

A lumbering, barrel-chested hulk with a weirdly Ancient Egyptian wedge of hair, the eponymous clay monster of Paul Wegener and Carl Boese’s The Golem: How He Came Into the World compensates for his limited intelligence with brute strength and a...

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Edinburgh International Festival 2019 review: Roots

A fat cat who gobbles up everything in sight. A king who tests his wife’s fidelity with increasingly horrific trials. A man whose flatmate is Poverty. It’s hard to ignore the scathing contemporary resonances in theatre company 1927’s sly, witty new...

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Haley Fohr: Salomé, Brighton Festival 2019 review – potently camp debauch

Haley Fohr’s disquiet at the “wildly outmoded” sexual politics of this notorious 1923 Wilde adaptation led her to cut its intertitles, relying only on sometimes delirious imagery and her throbbing live score. The inherent misogyny of the story of...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Dawson City - Frozen Time

Bill Morrison’s Dawson City: Frozen Time is an intoxicating cinematic collage-compilation that embraces social history – in microcosm, via its story of the titular Canadian mining town – as well as the history of film itself. But it goes further,...

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The Rosenkavalier film, OAE, Paterson, QEH review - silent-era muddle expertly accompanied

Let's face it, Robert "Cabinet of Dr Caligari" Wiene's 1926 film loosely based on Strauss and Hofmannsthal's 1911 "comedy for music" is a mostly inartistic ramble. Historically, though, it proves fascinating. The composer mostly left it to Otto...

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Michel Hazanavicius: 'Losing himself is how he found himself'

French director Michel Hazanavicius made a name for himself with his OSS 117 spy spoofs, Nest of Spies (2006) and Lost in Rio (2009), set in the Fifties and Sixties respectively and starring Jean Dujardin as a somewhat idiotic...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Shiraz

The subtitle of Franz Osten’s 1928 film, A Romance of India, says it all: this Indian silent film is a tremendous watch, a revelation of screen energy and visual delight. An epic love story-cum-weepie with lashings of action and intrigue thrown in,...

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DVD: London Symphony

Director Alex Barrett’s wordless London Symphony is a conscious throwback to the silent "city symphonies" of the 1920s, specifically Walter Ruttmann’s 1927 Berlin - Symphony of a Great City. You’re also reminded of Terence Davies’s Of Time and the...

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Darius Battiwalla, Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester review - improvisation extraordinaire

Organ improvisation is a remarkable art, prized in French musical culture particularly, and there was something highly appropriate in the choice of The Phantom of the Opera – a screening of the 1925 silent film with live accompaniment on the RNCM...

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