Film Review: Paris Asleep (1923)

Paris Asleep poster

SYNOPSIS: “Early roots of sci-fi magic are given to us in the form of a scientist who invents a ray that makes people caught in its beam fall asleep where they stand. With magical and wonderful shots of a Paris long gone, it is the adventure of a group of unaffected who with their sudden freedoms play the game of mice while the cat is away. With a narrative that sways toward a moralistic stance … Continue reading

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Film Review: Aelita Queen Of Mars (1924)

Aelita poster

SYNOPSIS: “This is called the first Soviet science fiction film because of its ‘futuristic’ sets on Mars, although most of it takes place in Moscow. The movie is set at the beginning of the NEP (New Economic Policy) in December 1921. A mysterious radio message is beamed around the world, and among the engineers who receive it are Los, the hero, and his colleague Spiridonov. Los is an individualist dreamer. Aelita is the daughter of … Continue reading

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Film Review: 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (1916)

20,000 Leagues DVD 1

SYNOPSIS: “Captain Nemo has built a fantastic submarine for his mission of revenge. He has traveled over 20,000 leagues in search of Charles Denver, the man who caused the death of Princess Daaker. Seeing what he had done, Denver took the daughter to his yacht and sailed away. He abandoned her and a sailor on a mysterious island and has come back after all these years to see if she is still alive and if … Continue reading

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Film Review: A Trip To The Moon (1902)

Trip To The Moon poster

SYNOPSIS: “A group of astronomers study the way to travel to the moon. When they conclude their project, the president selects five other astronomers to travel with him. They embark in a shell and they are shot from a giant cannon to the moon. When they land, they seek shelter in a cave to protect from the snow. They meet the Selenites, the alien inhabitants of the moon, and they are destroyed by the astronomers … Continue reading

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Film Review: The Lodger (1927)

The Lodger photo 1

SYNOPSIS: “A serial killer known as the Avenger is murdering blonde women in London. A new lodger, Jonathan Drew, arrives at Mr. and Mrs. Bounting’s in Bloomsbury and rents a room. The man has some strange habits, he goes out during foggy nights and keeps a picture of a blonde girl in his bedroom. The Bounting’s daughter, Daisy, is a blonde model and she is engaged to Joe, a detective. When Joe finds out that … Continue reading

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Film Review: The Lost World (1925)

Lost World DVD

SYNOPSIS: “Explorer Professor Challenger is taking quite a beating in the London press thanks to his claim that living dinosaurs exist in the far reaches of the Amazon. Newspaper reporter Edward Malone learns that this claim originates from a diary given to him by fellow explorer Maple White’s daughter, Paula. Malone’s paper funds an expedition to rescue Maple White, who has been marooned at the top of a high plateau. Joined by renowned hunter John … Continue reading

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Film Review: The Phantom Of The Opera (1925)

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SYNOPSIS: “At the Opera of Paris, a mysterious phantom threatens a famous lyric singer, Carlotta and thus forces her to give up her role (Marguerite in Faust) for unknown Christine Daae. Christine meets this phantom (a masked man) in the catacombs, where he lives. What’s his goal? What’s his secret?” (courtesy IMDB) REVIEW: This week I’m extremely pleased to discuss a film that is good – mostly – sometimes. This is the first film version … Continue reading

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Key Genre Films 1920s

1920s

The coming of sound to the movies meant a great deal to the development of the fantasy genre. Although science fiction and particularly horror films had been produced since the earliest days of the medium, the addition of dialogue and, more importantly, special effects, greatly enhanced the creative abilities of filmmakers. As early as the turn of last century, Frenchman Georges Méliès had making short ‘trick’ films which had often been about or featured fantastic … Continue reading

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Film Review: Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde (1920)

Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde poster 2

SYNOPSIS: “Doctor Henry Jekyll’s enthusiasm for science and his selfless acts of service have made him a much-admired man. But as he visits Sir George Carew one evening, his host criticises him for his reluctance to experience the more sensual side of life. Sir George goads Jekyll into visiting a music hall, where he watches the alluring dancer Gina. Jekyll becomes fascinated with the two contrasting sides of human nature, and he becomes obsessed with … Continue reading

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Film Review: Nosferatu (1922)

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SYNOPSIS: “Count Orlok moves to Wisburg bringing the plague, which reveals his connection to the realtor Thomas Hutter, and the Count’s obsession with Hutter’s wife, Ellen – the only one with the power to end the evil.” (courtesy IMDB) REVIEW: Back in the twenties, German director F.W. Murnau was so impressed with Bram Stoker‘s novel Dracula, he made Nosferatu: A Symphony Of Horror (1922), which remains one of the greatest horror films of all time. … Continue reading

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Film Review: The Golem (1920)

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SYNOPSIS: “In 16th-century Prague, a Jewish rabbi creates a giant creature from clay, called the Golem, and using sorcery, brings the creature to life in order to protect the Jews of Prague from persecution.” (courtesy IMDB) REVIEW: The Gothic tradition had always been stronger in Germany than anywhere else, ever since the Romantic Movement at the beginning of the Nineteenth Century. At the heart of the Gothic was a revolt against the rationality and smugness … Continue reading

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Georges Méliès

Georges Melies 1

Horror cinema is almost as old as cinema itself, for the very good reason that fantasy is implicit in the very nature of film. Action can be slowed down or speeded up, people can be made to appear or disappear, scale can be altered so that people can become giants or mannequins, double-exposure allows one actor to play two roles simultaneously. The possibilities are endless and they were realised very early – not long after … Continue reading

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The Barrymores

Barrymore Jekyll And Hyde 3

You know, my old friend John Barrymore was one of the most fascinating characters in film and theatre during the last century. He was son of stage actors Maurice Barrymore and Georgiana Drew Barrymore, and his siblings Ethel Barrymore and Lionel Barrymore also had extensive film careers. John made his stage debut in 1900, and quickly became a matinee idol. He entered films in 1913, thanks to the invention of the cinematograph, and although he … Continue reading

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Film Review: The Cabinet Of Doctor Caligari (1919)

Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari poster 2

SYNOPSIS: “A horror film that surpasses all others. Alan relates the story of traveling magician Doctor Caligari and Cesare. Their arrival in a town coincides with savage killings. Secretly Caligari was an asylum director who hypnotizes Cesare to murder. But the final reel contains something which will leave an audience shattered. It blows away all your moral certainties and beliefs. This is the true power of its horror. To leave you vulnerable and uncertain of … Continue reading

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