The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927)

ALFRED HITCHCOCK Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5.  United Kingdom, 1927.  Gainsborough Pictures, Carlyle Blackwell Productions.  Screenplay by Eliot Stannard, from the novel and play by Marie Belloc Lowndes.  Cinematography by Gaetano di Ventimiglia.  Produced by Michael Balcon, Carlyle Blackwell.  Production Design by C. Wilfred Arnold, Bertram Evans.  Film Editing by Ivor Montagu. This early classic by Alfred Hitchcock shows the master…

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Berlin: Symphony Of A Great City (Berlin: Die Sinfonie der Grosstadt)

BBBB (out of 5) The great German capital awakening to economic success is captured in all its organized, efficient glory in this fascinating documentary accompanied by a gorgeous symphonic score.  Filmed in 1927, years after the devastation of the first World War and just moments before the crash of ’29 and the subsequent rise of Nazi power, it…

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Chicago (1927)

BBBB (out of 5) The play by Maureen Dallas Watkins that later became a talkie hit for Ginger Rogers and, most famously, a Broadway musical and Oscar winning film many decades later was also made as a now forgotten silent film. Phyllis Haver is superb as Roxie Hart, the wayward housewife who goes to jail for…

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Underworld (1927)

BBBB.5 (out of 5) This excellent, beautifully shot drama is considered the film that sparked the craze for gangster movies in the thirties. Rough thug George Bancroft finds his lawyer friend Clive Brook at a bar and convinces him to give up the booze, turning the man from a useless bum to a dapper dan in no…

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Sunrise (Sunrise: A Song Of Two Humans)

BBBBB (out of 5) This beautiful film won the only Academy Award ever given out for Best ‘Unique And Artistic Picture’, and it was well-deserved. It tells the story of a plain-jane housewife (Janet Gaynor, who tries to be plain but is clearly not) whose husband dabbles with a city girl who convinces him to…

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Metropolis

BBBBB (out of 5) Milestone chapter in science-fiction film history, about a futuristic city run by mass human labour and devoid of individualistic passion. When a woman decides to lead a revolt, she and a group of Workers (the people who do everything but can’t make decisions) decide to invade the intellectual world of the…

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The King Of Kings

BBB.5 (out of 5) Films about the life of Christ were already a frequent focus of the medium when Cecil B. DeMille made this impressive blockbuster, but it would be safe to say that this is the first grand project on the subject.  H.B. Warner is appropriately blond and lightning-eyed for the white Protestant crowd,…

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The Jazz Singer (1927)

BBB (out of 5) Monumental in its day, this film now seems like nothing but pure, unadulterated corn. Al Jolson is peppy as a Jewish boy who is expected by his parents to take over his father’s job as head cantor in their synagogue, but cannot see himself doing the job thanks to his private…

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Chang: A Drama Of The Wilderness

BBBB (out of 5) Wonderfully crafted adventure film that works as part documentary, part staged adventure. Filmed in the jungles of Siam with unprofessional actors, directors Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack (who would later do King Kong) show scenes of a family living in the jungle. Their daily life revolves around working their…

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Wings

BBB (out of 5) First Academy Award winner for Best Picture is a rip-roaring adventure of the skies that has rival suitors Charles Buddy Rogers and Richard Arlen forget their differences once they enlist and become friends during their many missions together as fighter pilots. Clara Bow plays the girl back home who loves Rogers, even though he’s…

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