A Lone Prospector (Charles Chaplin) makes his way to Klondike, hoping to find gold and with it, his luck. But the conditions there are more than harsh and soon he finds himself lost in the cold. By chance, he stumbles on a hut where he finds Black Larsen (Tom Murray) who tries to get rid of him. Instead, they are joined by a third gold digger, Big Jim MacKay (Mack Swain). In an uneasy truce they have to make it through the storm together somehow. But will their luck be enough to make it through?
The Gold Rush is an amazing film, no doubt about it. It is incredibly funny and touching at the same time, further proving that Chaplin is such an icon for a reason [even if it makes me deeply uncomfortable to say that about a guy who was way too much into teenage girls].
USAmerican Mister West (Porfiri Podobed) is tasked with traveling to Russia to see the land of the Bolsheviks for himself. Trouble is, all West knows about Russia is a magazine article making them out to be the worst kind of savages and Mr West is pretty much scared out of his wits. So he takes his faithful companion Jeddy the Cowboy (Boris Barnet) and starts praying. Once he reaches Russia, West is actually robbed. The thieves find the magazine and decide to create the savage land portrayed there for West, sure that they can squeeze some money out of him that way.
The Extraordinary Adventures of Mr. West in the Land of the Bolsheviks is a funny, albeit silly film. The music by PHACE wasn’t that much my cup of tea, but it works as accompaniment to the film.
Boss Huller (Emil Jannings) is an artist at the circus together with his wife (Maly Delschaft), but after an accident he started to stay away from the trapeze. When young woman Bertha-Marie (Lya De Putti) is brought to the circus because she has debts she can’t pay otherwise, she finds a bed with the family Huller. It doesn’t take long until she and Boss fall in love and Boss uproots his entire life for her. But things are not headed for a happy end.
Varieté is not only an excellent film, combined with the soundtrack by The Tiger Lillies, it makes for an utterly fantastic, riveting evening.
In the mud and grime of the docks, the boy (George K. Arthur), the girl (Georgia Hale) and the child (Bruce Guerin) find each other. Fueled by the hope for a better life they decide to move to the big city to make their luck there. The boy may dream big, but reality isn’t quite so accomodating. Will they be able to find their luck?
The Salvation Hunters is an interesting film that works in some parts, but not in others. Mehldau’s accompanying music was nice, but for me it didn’t always fit the film. Altogether though, it was a very nice evening.
Carmen (Geraldine Farrar / Edna Purviance) works with smugglers. When the city watch gets a new commander in Don José/Darn Hosiery (Wallace Reid/Charles Chaplin), Carmen makes it her mission to seduce him to secure herself and her people a blind eye to their activities. But José/Hosiery falls hard for Carmen, causing unforseeable complications for everybody.
The straight-up Carmen version was fine, though its cinematic language hasn’t aged all that well. The Chaplin version was fantastic though. And for both version, Brock provided excellent music and arrangements.
Alice (Anny Ondra) has been dating Scotland Yard detective Frank (John Longden) for a bit, but she is a little bored by him. That’s why she accepts an invitation by an Artist (Cyril Ritchard). They spend an evening together and Alice agrees to visit his studio in the end. But there things go awry and the Artist tries to rape Alice. She fights him off and kills him. Dazed she runs away, only to be confronted with the deed when Frank takes up the investigation. He quickly connects the murder to Alice, but decides to keep it to himself. Especially when a witness (Donald Calthrop) turns up and tries to blackmail the both of them.
I came rather late to Hitchcock in my cinematic life and I still haven’t seen much, but with each of his film more I see, I appreciate him more as a filmmaker. His films aren’t always perfect, but they are always engaging. That is also true for Blackmail, especially with the musical support by Stephen Horne.
Ilse Rohde and Hannes Schneider are two skiers who decide to climb the 4.500m high Lyskamm mountain. It takes them three days to make the trip and return, during which a camera team follows them to document their climb that is neither easy nor without danger.
I’m not a mountain person (weird for an Austrian, I know) and watching people risk their lives to climb a mountain, look around for a bit and then descend again, makes me uncomfortable, both in theory and in practice. That being said, Im Kampf mit dem Berge is a beautifully shot film with great music and probably one of the best films that could have been made with that material.
There’s trouble brewing on the Battleship Potemkin. The Crew is far from happy with their leadership and the conditions they have to work in. Soon discontent grows into outright rebellion – a rebellion that grows even past the ship and onto the mainland.
I had never seen the film before and practically all I knew going in was that it was an absolute classic and that it featured a famous scene with a baby carriage. In any case, it was a great film, though I’m less sure about Nyman’s accompanying music.
Paul Bäumer (Lew Ayres) is a young soldier in World War I. Spurred on by his class teacher, he and his class mates volunteered their services, but only little time later there numbers are already substantially reduced. That Paul is doing rather well for himself is mostly due to the seasoned soldier Kat (Louis Wolheim), who has a knack for organizing things. But war is still war.
The movie was very well made and interesting, maybe a tad too long. I did not like the accompanying music, though – it was a little too percussion-y for my taste.
Maya is a small bee who is born on the same day as the new queen. While her teacher Cassandra takes care of Maya, the hive splits in two. Despite that, Maya grows up with a very strong natural curiosity and so one day she takes off and goes on an adventure, meeting the various creatures and facing different dangers.
The movie is quite impressive for two things: one, it’s a real life fiction film with all insect actors, and two, it is full of completely disgusting war rhetoric. But the music was wonderful and more than made up for that.