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The Twenties







Orphans of the Storm

 

I could go into the long synopsis of this story, but I won’t.  The story takes place during the French Revolution.  It is about two sisters who are very close.  Henriette brings Louise, who is blind, to Paris in hopes of finding a surgeon who can restore her sight.  Henriette is kidnapped by a lascivious nobleman, leaving Louise to wander helplessly about until she too is stolen by a family of beggars.

 

These scenes are extremely poignant. 

 

At this point in the story the old hag is taking her meal ticket out on rounds.  While Louise is singing, Henriette is telling the story of their separation when she hears singing and she recognizes Louise’s voice. 

 

 

The Patsy

 

This movie was made in 1928, It was directed by King Vidor and it starred Marion Davies and Marie Dressler.  (Dressler is hilarious in this film, but she is in all of her films. (Check out her facial expressions.)  Marion Davies was (unfortunately best known as the mistress of William Hurst, the newspaper magnet, whom many think of when they see Orson Welles’s Citizen Kane.  No!  “Rosebud” may have been Charles Foster Kane’s sled, but it was William Hurst’s nickname for Davies’s clitoris.  (Pardon my digression!)

 

The Patsy gives you another look at sisterhood.  The heroine’s name is Patsy and she is treated like a second hand citizen by her mother and sister.  Patsy’s mother sees her sister as the pretty one and the one who has the best chance of marrying someone with money.

 

In this scene, things come to a head and Patsy has had enough.  

 





 

Way Down East

Starring Lillian Gish and Richard Bathelmess

This is a melodrama by D.W. Griffith centers around a starving, impoverished young girl, Trust Lennox, who loses everything after a wicked millionaire tricks her into a marriage. The marriage ends after Trust becomes pregnant. The baby doesn't survive and the poor girl ends up sheltered by a puritanical farm family, who puts her out in a blizzard. The distraught young woman is trying to cross a frozen river which begins to thaw, leaving her stranded. As she drifts towards a deadly waterfall, her lover tries to save her.

 

 

Nosferatu

 

A Symphony of Horrors, made in 1922 (based on Bram Stoker's Dracula.  Photographed by Fritz Arno Wagner in stark, high-contrast black and white, with exaggerated shadows and low angles.  Nosferatu exemplifies Expressionist cinema.





 The Silent Clown

Harold Lloyd in Saftey First, made in 1923. Watch Harold Lloyd as he takes on the CLOCK. 

Charlie Chaplin in The Kid.  This movie, made in 1921, is both funny and poignant.  In Part One, Chaplin portrays the Little Tramp as he and an orphan (played by Jackie Coogan) have teamed up to work a scam.  Part Two shows Chaplin (The Little Tramp) fighting desperately to find his little companion.

Buster Keaton was an amazing and daring stunt man.  He was also an innovative writer and director.  These scenes are from a movie called The Goat, made in 1921.




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