The Thief of Bagdad (1924)

The Thief of Bagdad is about grand sets, spectacle, Douglas Fairbanks and a lot of hand waving. Two and a half hours of it. Continue reading


Show People (1928)

Wow. Wow. Wow. Wonderful. Being humbled can be a wonderful and exciting experience. I’m watching films to find out about them as well as for entertainment. I’d never even heard of Marion Davies before but she’s really great in Show People. She’s in other films, too, many of which look to be worth pursuing. Taking that step to knowing more, but also knowing you knew so little really can be exciting! Continue reading

Lonesome (1928)

“Gee, it’s funny how lonesome a fella can be… especially with a million people around him.”

Lonesome is such a sweet film. It depicts the business of modern life: getting up for work; commuting; putting in a long, chaotic day; chatting to friends afterwards about weekend plans; saying goodbye as they pair off; going back to your apartment to kill time… alone. It’s serious, it’s fun, it’s sweet, it’s beautiful. It’s Modern Times without the slapstick. It’s the film I expected Modern Times to be. It delivers. Continue reading

Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928)

Given its renown, I had high hopes for this one. It’s amusing, watchable and has that Buster Keaton charm… but it never truly catches fire in the way that some of his other films like The General, Seven Chances or The Navigator do. Even though many other good films suffer in comparison with Buster’s best, I feel this isn’t a film that would convince newcomers to silent film – it’s one for those who crave more Keaton magic. Continue reading

The Cameraman (1928)

1928? This film feels like quite a step backwards for Buster Keaton. It’s full of cheap gags about people bumping into things, falling over, not being unable to work out revolving doors and other basic slapstick. Silly stuff, that’s usually only mildly amusing like two men getting changed in the same cubicle, losing swimming togs in a public pool and a young man having his brain fried so much by love that he’s unable to function properly. There aren’t really any eye-opening stunts. There is, however, a very sweet, innocent love story. That, and a monkey… Continue reading

Safety Last (1923)

Safety last is an amusing comedy whose nuts and bolts are the basic archetypes who inhabit it – its main characters are “The Boy” (Harold Lloyd), “The Girl” and “The Pal”. The boy is a young lad from a small town who wants to make it in the city so he can marry his sweetheart. The others are defined relative to him. Among the minor characters is “The Law” and a drunk – again, very self-explanatory. As with a lot of silent films there’s a purity to the storytelling and comedy. They’re stripped down to the fundamentals with no unnecessary flab. It’s timeless, has universal appeal and is funny, but not overly so.
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Seven Chances (1925)

Yes, this will do. Seven Chances is a finely-crafted comedy that’s amusing throughout, up until… what must be about the most elaborate, madcap, off-the-wall chase sequence you’ll ever see. It’s crazier than anything in Road Runner, and, of course, Buster Keaton did the stunts himself. The man’s a genius and this is one hell of a bloody funny, absolutely mental film. I laughed my arse off! Continue reading