1919: Daddy Long Legs

All I’ve got in my collection from 1919 is four undistinguished early shorts from Harold Lloyd, but a quick look at Wikipedia reveals that the second biggest grossing film in America this year is “Daddy Long Legs” with Mary Pickford, adapted from the novel by Jean Webster. As it happens it’s available on Amazon Instant…

1918: Shoulder Arms

Not a lot of options for 1918. Chaplin only made two films this year, this one and “A Dog’s Life”. In “A Dog’s Life”, Charlie’s tramp meets a pretty girl (Edna Purviance), sees off some ruffians, and the two go off together at the end – much the same story as most of his last…

1917: The Immigrant

In 1914, Chaplin made 36 films for Keystone. In 1915, he made 13 for Essanay. In 1916 he made 9 – one for Essanay and the rest for Mutual – and in 1917 he only made 4, all for Mutual. He was quite rapidly acquiring more control, more time, and more money to make his…

1916: The Vagabond

I hope you like Chaplin, because he’s going to be my subject for the next three entries – mainly because I don’t have any other DVDs from those years. I watched most of his 1916 output before deciding which one to review. Far and away, I like this one the best. Although much more sophisticated…

1915: The Birth of a Nation

1915, and I finally get to review a feature film. There were a few feature length pictures before this but none of such epic scale, and none that made such an impact. I have seen this before, but many years ago and I remembered little about it this so was almost like a first viewing…

1914: Kid Auto Races at Venice

Cinema’s 20th year, and Chaplin makes his first appearance. Chaplin was on tour in the USA with Fred Karno’s music hall company when a talent scout from Mack Sennett’s Keystone studio spotted him and offered him a contract. His first film for Sennett was “Making a Living”, in which he plays a slimy swindler in…

1913: Bangville Police

Now we’re getting to the early days of recognisable Hollywood silent comedy. The Keystone company was founded by Mack Sennett only ten months before this film was released in April 1914 and is often cited as being the first Keystone Cops film – however the trademarks aren’t all there yet – there are no truckloads…