Reviews written by registered user

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237 reviews in total 
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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
David Jeffers for NCRD Performing Arts, 19 June 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Wednesday, July 22, 4pm, NCRD Performing Arts Center, Nehalem

"Don't enlist him. He is more valuable to the South as an engineer."

Johnnie Gray had two loves in his life; his engine, The General and his sweetheart, Annebelle Lee. When war breaks out between the states he dutifully tries to enlist, but is turned away. Union spies steal The General (with his girl aboard), forcing Johnnie to singlehandedly chase after them behind enemy lines in a daring rescue attempt.

Based on a true story, The General (1927) is considered by many to be Buster Keaton's masterpiece. The General also lays claim to the single most costly special effect of the Silent Era. Keaton originally planned to film in Georgia using the actual General, but Confederate veterans objected to a comedy and production was moved to Cottage Grove Oregon. Using modified logging engines, Keaton is a sight to behold as he deftly clambers on and around the moving locomotives with stunning ease and agility, barely sixty years after the real events took place.

NCRD Performing Arts Center presents Buster Keaton's The General (1927), the third of three silent films featuring live musical accompaniment performed by pianist Liz Cole.

Girl Shy (1924)
David Jeffers for NCRD Performing Arts, 23 May 2016

Wednesday May 25, 4:00pm, NCRD Performing Arts Center

"Say, Barney Oldfield, what are you trying to do - run away from your rear tires?"

A boy with a paralyzing fear of girls (and a panic stutter), writes a manual on the art of seduction. On his way to find a publisher, he meets a girl.

Girl Shy is all about the chase. Harold resolves to save his girl from the clutches of the villain, by any means possible. He commandeers numerous cars, hitches a ride on a fire engine, steals a wagon, three horses, a streetcar and a motorcycle in a mad dash to stop a wedding that must not take place. Lovely Jobyna Ralston returns for her second of six features with Lloyd and - courtesy of Hal Roach - several Our Gang kids make surprise cameos. Viewed through a modern lens, Girl Shy is an unkind joke, with a young man's disability as the butt. In spite of this it possesses the sentimental, off-kilter hilarity Lloyd played so well, in a less serious time.

NCRD Performing Arts Center presents Harold Lloyd's Girl Shy (1924), the second of three silent films featuring live musical accompaniment performed by pianist Liz Cole.

The Kid (1921)
0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
David Jeffers for NCRD Performing Arts, 18 April 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Wednesday April 20, 4:00pm, NCRD Performing Arts Center

"A picture with a smile - and perhaps, a tear."

A kind hearted tramp discovers an infant abandoned by its unwed mother and raises the foundling as his own. Five years pass and the now wealthy mother, still pining for her child, encounters the boy without knowing his identity. When he becomes ill, she summons a doctor. The authorities intervene and a battle ensues as they attempt to take the boy.

Breaking from the established short format of motion picture comedy, The Kid (1921) was the sixth of nine films Charles Chaplin produced while under contract to Associated First National Pictures and his first full-length feature. Chaplin spent an entire year in production, exposing an unheard of amount of film for the resulting six-reel masterpiece. Five-year-old Jackie Coogan became an overnight sensation, seen by countless millions around the globe. Highlights include the spectacular dream sequence, several broken windows, and every mouthful of food, gleefully consumed. Watch for the flying dog.

NCRD Performing Arts Center presents Charlie Chaplin's The Kid (1921), the first of three silent films featuring live musical accompaniment performed by pianist Liz Cole.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
David Jeffers for SIFFblog2, 28 July 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Monday July 30, 7pm, The Paramount, Seattle

The life of Jesus from the conversion of Mary Magdalene to the crucifixion is revealed in beatific splendor.

Directed by Hollywood's master of the spectacle, The King of Kings (1927) featured Cecil B. DeMille's by then standard combination of moralizing melodrama played against dizzying production values, monumental sets, and a cast of thousands. Outwardly expressing disdain for Sunday-school stereotypes, DeMille cast fifty-two-year-old H.B. Warner in the title role, dressed him in flowing robes and bathed him in glowing light, while art directors constructed scenes reproducing the work of 298 old masters. To sanctify Jeannie MacPhereson's anti-Semitic, evangelical Christian with-a-showbiz-twist screenplay, DeMille invited members of the clergy to visit the set, and received the stamp of approval from Will Hayes. Highlights include the spectacular palace of Mary Magdalene, the Calvary tempest and bookending Technicolor scenes.

Grauman's Chinese Theatre held the West Coast premiere for their grand opening, charging $22 a seat!

David Jeffers for SIFFblog2, 25 July 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Thursday July 26, 6:30pm, The Uptown, Seattle

A lawyer appears at the office of two businessmen on the verge of ruin. "This man has some kind of a legal paper with him!" "Maybe it's a summons!" On the morning of his twenty seventh birthday, Jimmie (Buster Keaton) learns that his grandfather has left him seven million dollars, providing he is married by seven o'clock on the evening of… his twenty seventh birthday. He immediately proposes to his sweetheart, who turns him down. "He said he must wed someone, and it might as well be me!" In a panic, he pops the question to every girl in town and demonstrates why falling asleep in church is always a bad idea.

Beginning with a Technicolor surprise, Keaton's Seven Chances includes the most outrageous chase ever filmed on the streets of Los Angeles, with a heart stopping leap across Beale's Cut. Keep an eye out for Jean Arthur's wedding ring!

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
David Jeffers for SIFFblog2, 21 July 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Monday July 23, 7pm, The Paramount, Seattle

"To be a Roman is to rule the world! To be a Jew is to crawl in the dirt!"

In first century Jerusalem, a Jewish prince is condemned by his childhood friend for a crime he did not commit. His mother and sister are imprisoned and Judah Ben-Hur (Ramon Novarro) is cast into slavery. Three years later, a Roman tribune adopts him when he saves his life in battle. With his wealth and freedom restored, Judah seeks revenge on Messala (Francis X. Bushman) as his journey parallels the footsteps of Jesus.

Inherited by the fledgling Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corporation, the creation of Ben-Hur A Tale of the Christ (1925) was as epic as the nineteenth-century best seller on which it was based. Plagued with production problems and a budget nearing four million dollars, Ben-Hur was the costliest feature of the silent era, but the enormous popularity and prestige of the film helped establish MGM as a major studio. Highlights include several breathtaking two-color Technicolor segments and the jaw-dropping climactic chariot race.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
The 38th Seattle International Film Festival and The 17th Annual San Francisco Silent Film Festival, David Jeffers for SIFFblog2, 10 July 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Friday July 13, 7pm, The Castro, San Francisco

Saturday May 26, 2:30pm, The Harvard Exit, Seattle

"To kowtow before a tiger means to be his food."

An artisan toymaker is forced to leave her bucolic village and move to Shanghai when her husband dies and cheap foreign imports ruin her business. The change has tragic results for Ye Dasao (Ruan Ling-Yu), swallowed up by the violence and anonymity of city life, as she descends into madness.

Released by the Lianhua Film Company in 1933, Xiao Wanyi (Little Toys) was the third and final pairing of the "Great Poet" director Sun Yu and "The Garbo of Shanghai" Ruan Ling-Yu. Sun paints a sentimental portrait of country life with the lyrical imagery of handcrafted toys and masterful choreography of large groups. The jarring transformation to an urban nightmare is propelled by a dogged undercurrent of anti-imperialist propaganda. Of particular note are bookend images of tears on Ye's hands and an innocent image of toy tanks in playtime, which suddenly transport the viewer into the horrific reality of war.

Piccadilly (1929)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
David Jeffers for SIFFblog2, 7 July 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Monday July 9, 7pm, The Paramount, Seattle

"Just imagine the whole place being upset by one little Chinese girl in the scullery."

A failing nightclub owner abandons his star for a beautiful Chinese dishwasher, who becomes an exotic sensation. Shosho leaves her old life behind and blossoms in the spotlight, while bitter, jilted Mabel withers on the vine, setting the stage for a tragic confrontation.

Directed by a cornerstone of Weimar cinema, the great E. A. Dupont, and exquisitely photographed by Werner Brandes, Piccadillly was British International Pictures "…most expensive and prestigious production at the time." Featured performers include Thomas Jameson as Valentine the amoral boss, Gilda Gray as his faded star, Cyril Ritchard as her fawning partner and Anna May Wong in a dazzling role as the drudge turned star who saves the Piccadilly Club. Charles Laughton's cameo as a drunken, temperamental patron is memorable.

In spectacular fashion, Piccadilly exposes the seedy underbelly of nineteen-twenties nightclub life, from the box-office to the scullery, and the fish rots from the head down.

Napoleon (1927)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
The San Francisco Silent Film Festival 7th Annual Winter Event, David Jeffers for SIFFblog2, 22 March 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

March 24, 25, 31 and April 1, 1:30pm, The Paramount, Oakland

The Eagle of Destiny

The life of Napoléon Bonaparte as the heroic savior of France is revealed from age ten to twenty-seven. Beginning with his boyhood at military school in Brienne, Boneparte is viewed as an outcast and a leader. Emerging as a young officer during the Revolution, the adult Boneparte (Albert Dieudonné) is first seen in Paris at the Club des Cordeliers where Danton introduces La Marseillaise to the mob as their national anthem. Bonaparte then attempts to unify his native Corsica, survives The Terror, becomes the hero of Toulon and embarks on his conquest of Italy.

Directed by Abel Gance, Napoleon (1927) was initially conceived as the first of six chapters on the life of Bonaparte. Cut by MGM from an original 29 reels to eight for its 1929 American release (with von Stroheim's Greed a fresh memory), restoration of Napoleon became the life work of film preservationist Kevin Brownlow in 1954.

Wings (1927)
The 17th Annual San Francisco Silent Film Festival, David Jeffers for SIFFblog2, 12 February 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Thursday July 12, 7pm, The Castro, San Francisco

Monday February 13, 7pm, The Paramount, Seattle

"D'you know what you can do when you see a shooting star?"

Two boys from the same town become pilots in the Great War. They battle the enemy over France and each other over a girl back home. Jack (Charles 'Buddy' Rogers) and David (Richard Arlen) both love Sylvia (Jobyna Ralston), while Mary (Clara Bow), the girl next door, secretly pines for Jack and joins the ambulance corps to be near him.

Wings (1927) astonished moviegoers with wide-screen "Magnascope" and breathtaking effects achieved filming the actors in-flight from fuselage mounted cameras. Adding authenticity, director William Wellman, writer John Monk Saunders and Arlen all served as fliers during the War. The United States Army enthusiastically loaned Paramount Famous Lasky Corporation hundreds of aircraft, vast amounts of Texas real estate and an infantry division, over and above their astronomical $2,000,000 budget.

Wings shared the first Best Picture Academy Award with F.W. Murnau's Sunrise (1927). Roy Pomeroy also won the first Oscar for Special Effects.

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