Thursday, August 18, 2011

Pithy Reviews (8) - Silent Movies

The 20s were the best decade in cinema history. Everything you need to know about movies is there. And here are some of the best ones.

Die Büchse der Pandora (G.W. Pabst, 1929)
This is one of those movies you know about even without reading anything on it and you have a pretty good idea how it's going to turn out in the end. However, Pabst's direction dives it a darker-than-usual edge and makes it suspenseful, erotic, unsettling and wildly entertaining. Louise Brooks gives what is probably her best performance and, certainly, her most iconic one. A masterpiece (and I don't tend to say that about any movie).
Rating: 5 out of 5

La roue (Abel Gance, 1923)
A very long movie (about 4 1/2 hours), but still not as long as Gance's other big movie, "Napoleon", a 5-hour-long incomplete movie that was supposed to be the first one of a hexalogy. "The Wheel" can best be described as Sisyphus meets Oedipus, but the movie in remarkable because of the technical innovations (the movie redefines special effects, camera movements and editing).
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Greed (Erich von Stroheim, 1924)
Another long one, but it would've been even longer if Thalberg wouldn't have butchered it before the release.
In its current version (even the reconstituted one), the movie feels incomplete and it's the only reason I can't call it a masterpiece (as it probably should have been). Still, this movie is amazing and there are so many amazing sequences (the prologue, the wedding, the final confrontation in the desert and so on...)
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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