It’s during these warm days of summer, when the humid, greenery-scented air brings back nostalgic memories, that I find myself turning to Tol’able David (1921). A masterpiece of Americana, it’s also arguably one of the great masterpieces of the cinema. It’s also one of my absolute favorite silent movies.
I wanted to wish a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Louise Fazenda, one of our great unsung comediennes!
And it wouldn’t be a birthday without a fabulous Art Deco cake:
A veteran of Joker comedies who achieved fame as one of Mack Sennett’s Keystone regulars, Ms. Fazenda also had a long career as a character actress in the talkies. She was married to producer Hal B. Wallis for over thirty years. Although most sources say her birth year was 1895 (even contemporary magazines and newspapers), according to her birth certificate the year was actually 1896. I wrote a detailed article on her life here. (Featuring mah very own research! I’m hoping to pen a Louise biography, so if you have any information please contact me.) Continue reading
As part of the ongoing, year-long celebration of his 1917 entry into films, I will periodically review the prominent books on Buster Keaton. Here’s my take on two of the more widely read biographies out there:
One of the great classic film biographies, Keaton–along with Buster’s own autobiography–is an absolute must for anyone looking to learn more about our favorite straight-faced comedian in a porkpie hat. Continue reading
So recently I stumbled across a fun story making the rounds on social media, and thought I’d take a minute to share it myself. Because it’s a perfect antidote for those moments when the world seems to be an endless sea of folks who think that Jurassic Park is an old movie.
The story was published on May 9 of this year on Omaha.com, and the headline alone is a thing of beauty and a joy forever: “The story of the Nebraska fourth-graders who became obsessed with silent cinema”. That’s almost enough right there, but let’s go on: Continue reading
If you have even a passing interest in learning about vaudeville–that hugely influential form of entertainment that today’s pop culture wouldn’t be the same without–and indeed want to acquaint yourself with early stage shows in general, there’s one name in particular that you should know: Bert Williams.
Oh yes, I can sense you raising your eyebrows right now–Williams (who himself was black) is in that cringeworthy blackface makeup, white gloves and all. This was how he appeared on the stage, and how audiences recognized him. But this man was much more than a dated makeup–this was a performer who transcended a stock character appearance by his sheer talent and charisma, and became one of the most successful performers of his time. A performer so beloved, that after his sudden death in 1922 from pneumonia over 5,000 fans filed past his casket. Continue reading
Hola! I’ve been out of town for a awhile but am back just in time for the Five Stars Blogathon hosted by Classic Film and TV Cafe, celebrating National Classic Movie Day–my kind of holiday!
In true Silent-ology style, I decided to focus on my top 5 utmost favorites from the silent era, rather than film in general. So let’s count down to number 1: Continue reading
Part of the fun of spending an unhealthy amount of time perusing old movie magazines is finding…well, stuff you can’t make up. From a June, 1926 issue of Film Fun:
I’m guessing that many of you have seen silent films from a number of countries, like Germany, France, Italy, Sweden, and possibly even Japan. But have you ever watched one from Ireland?
Sure and there are Irish silents, indade! And they captured snapshots of traditional rural life in Ireland several years before the famous Easter Rising. Thanks to Trinity College in Dublin, several Irish dramas are available for your viewing pleasure on their official YouTube channel. Continue reading
Today is the birthday of Florence La Badie (pronounced “LAH-bah-dee,” as she’d like you to know). She was one of our earliest movie stars, and was perhaps the first to pass away too soon.