sat 20/07/2019

silent movies

DVD/Blu-ray: Minute Bodies - The Intimate World of F Percy Smith

F Percy Smith was a maverick film-maker whose most important work was created in a house in suburban Southgate, North London. Born in Islington in 1880, he joined the Quekett Microscopical Club as a teenager, all the better to pursue a healthy...

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Blu-ray: Early Murnau

“FW Murnau’s work is, at first glance, the most varied, even inconsistent, of the great German cineastes.” Those are the opening words of film critic David Cairns's What Will You Be Tomorrow? an extra conceived for Early Murnau: Five Films, 1921-...

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DVD: The Last Command

From Hollywood in 1928 back to Petrograd in 1917 and forward again, the fortunes of Emil Jannings' General Sergius Alexander encapsulate the ambivalence of Austrian-American Josef von Sternberg's silent masterpiece. Our protagonist seems heartless...

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DVD: Shooting Stars

Twenty-five-year-old Anthony Asquith didn’t call the shots on the silent movie that launched his distinguished directorial career, but the screenplay he co-wrote with JOC Orton included elaborate scenarist notes that told his designated co-director...

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The Magic Flute, Komische Oper Berlin, Edinburgh Festival Theatre

In 2007, a tiny British theatre company called 1927 staged their first ever show at the Edinburgh Fringe – the darkly reimagined collection of fairytales and fables Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. Now, almost a decade on, they are back...

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The Associates, Sadler's Wells

The Associates is not the title of a new Scandi crime drama, though in dance world terms we’re perhaps approaching that level of Event. Associates are what Sadler’s Wells, London’s dance powerhouse, calls the selected band of dancemakers it deems...

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DVD: Spione

If you have trouble grasping all the plot-lines of Fritz Lang’s 1928 silent thriller, fear not: they’re chimerical, existing only to display all the accoutrements of a spy-movie genre which Lang is credited with having launched. All paths lead to...

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DVD: Frau im Mond

So much of Fritz Lang's 1929 silent film Frau im Mond rings true that you're inclined to forgive its shortcomings – notably a protracted, slow first act which takes far too long to set the plot in motion. Which involves brooding engineer Helius (an...

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Silent Sonata

The forces of death and life come up against each other in the strange, somehow impressive Slovenian war drama Silent Sonata. I say “Slovenian” only because director Janez Burger hails from there, and that’s where some of the filming took place (the...

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DVD: Wings

The silent-era Wings is not a subtle film. Director William A. Wellman’s action-packed World War One tale of loyalty, love and war is also, at just short of two-and-a-half hours, long. At the time of its release in 1927, the film news bulletin Movie...

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Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens

Common sense indicates it’s a rare film which retains the impact it had on first exposure. Films can often reveal new depths and fresh detail with repeated viewing, but that initial effect is tough to duplicate. This new release of FW Murnau’s...

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DVD: The Adventures of Prince Achmed

Cinema's unrivalled silhouette animator Lotte Reiniger (1899-1981) was influenced by Arthur Rackham's illustrations and by Chinese and Indonesian puppet theatre. Like her fellow German filmmaker Fritz Lang, she must have appreciated the intricacy...

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