When Rudolph Valentino died in 1926 at the age of 31, he left in his wake a massive audience of heartbroken fans—and one of those tragic, inherently private situations that the Hollywood spectacle machine enjoys stoking the most. For days before the final report of his passing, newspapers had offered conflicting, yet (they swore) definitive accounts of his …
American Cinematheque’s Retroformat began its series of early D.W. Griffith works at the Egyptian Theatre this past weekend with a handful of the films he produced for Biograph Films. This series will continue over the next few months and ultimately showcase more than 100 of Griffith’s films from 1908 to 1913, with this first night focusing on the period between 1908 and 1909.
The Show, Tod Browning’s 1927 semi-salicious silent drama starring John Gilbert, is both a great bit of fun as well as a great example of Browning’s skill in visual storytelling. It’s a gorgeously shot film with plenty of the offbeat elements that have made Browning a lasting figure in cult cinema.
The Little Tramp, the enduring, mustachioed character brought to life by Charlie Chaplin, is celebrating one heck of a birthday this year: 100. The character first appeared in a Keystone comedy short called “Kid Auto Races at Venice” in 1914, where he plays a bumbling spectator constantly getting in the way of the camera’s attempts to focus on the action. Another film, “Mabel Behind the Wheel,” was technically the first Tramp film shot, but “Kid Auto Races” was released first, so it gets the permanent claim to fame. Of course, this being 1914, that difference is only a matter of days, so it’s really only a distinction for the record books. Both films are very charming and recognizably set up the many iterations of the character that were to follow–and not just in costume, but the Tramp’s personality that we’d come to know as well.