I talk to blogger and silent movie expert Fritzi Kramer about the filmmaking style, the variety of topics it covered, its immersive quality, pre-feature cinema, mainstream Hollywood dramas, the best way for people to get into silent movies, silent actress Pola Negri, and much, much more. You can find Fritzi Kramer at moviessilently.com and on Twitter @MoviesSilently.
It took a while, but we finally reached the end of the 1940s. I’m thankful to say the decade is ending on a good, I might even say fantastic, note. It’s a political drama directed and written by Robert Rossen and starring Broderick Crawford in a role that won him an Oscar for Best Actor. Supposedly based on the life of Louisiana politician Huey Long, All the King’s Men (1949) tells the story of Willie Stark, an idealistic man turned corrupt when he becomes Governor of an unnamed U.S. state. It’s a harsh, hard hitting story that still hits all the right notes, remaining just as relevant as ever. Also nominated for Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor for John Ireland, Best Supporting Actress for radio veteran but film newcomer Mercedes McCambridge (who ended up taking home the award), and Best Editing for Robert Parrish and Al Clark, this is the Best Picture of 1949.
I’m doing something a little different today: a review of a short. A two-and-a-half minute short, to be more specific. Silent (2014) was made by Moonbot Studios, which was responsible for the beautiful and touching Oscar winning 2011 animated short The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. That earlier short showed a clear love of film and storytelling through gorgeous animation and references to Buster Keaton’s Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928) and The Wizard of Oz (1939). It was also happy and sad in all the right ways. It’s not the best short ever, but if you can, look it up and you’ll have a good 15-minute escape. I wish I could say the same for Silent. Continue reading →