Pre-1930s Hall of Fame


Sherlock Jr tells the story of a poor projectionist who while courting a young lady ends up thrown on his butt after he gets framed for a theft. While down on his luck he falls into a fantasy world where he's the worlds greatest detective and we get a series of humorous stunts with the cast playing duel roles.

Yeah I loved this one, all of Keaton's physical comedy is on display and it works so well. Their is this great shot where he helps the girl out of the window by lying on all fours, then he jumps in the car to speed away and the girl falls backwards...that is classic comedy.

And while some parts feel dated and perhaps racist "local sheik" feels a bit problematic 100 years later I did enjoy the twist of the Girl being the proper detective and figuring out the crime. It's the little things in this one that made me enjoy.

"Money won is twice as sweet as money earned."

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The Kid

"A picture with a smile--and perhaps, a tear" is a brilliant and suitable tagline. The movie wasn't brilliant for me but I at least thought it had some brilliance. I've liked everything I've seen so far from Chaplin and this was no exception. Not as consistently funny as I expected, but there certainly are plenty of laughs. That is of course by design as the movie contains heavy elements. I thought the balance worked really well, but I felt like there was some unnecessary mean-spiritedness that rubbed me the wrong way. Not enough to soil the entire experience, but definitely enough for me to take notice. I was yearning for more of the sweetness of Modern Times, my favorite Chaplin to this point. I did not care for the dreamland sequence either. Every other part of the movie I thought of as high level. Chaplin is a terrific entertainer but that kid was phenomenal and at least his equal. Their relationship was the best part of the film. The supporting cast was good. I read a small bit about Chaplin and damn; from the tragedies to the romances with little girls, he had one messed up life.


Lucky Star

Not a fan of this one. I think it could only really hold up well under the lens of historical analysis, since it is a silent film partially about World War I. Other than that, I think the characters were mostly unlikable, whether it is the clueless farm girl or the condescending "well-mannered" Tim. The story gets somewhat interesting at the end, but the first half or so is basically just Tim showing Mary how to have good manners... I may have dozed off a couple times. To me, nothing really stands out in this movie.

The Kid (1921)

This might be my favorite Chaplin film so far. Two aspects of Chaplin the director/writer stands out:

1) He takes a bold social stand by clearly stating the unwed mother's only sin is that of motherhood. We then see her leaving the building where she had the baby and two rather stern people are shaking there heads in disapproval. For 1921 that was bold of Chaplin to champion the unwed mother in his film.

2) Chaplin allows the child actor to shine in the film, giving the kid many a close up. Another actor/director might have been unwilling to let the kid have any of the limelight. But Chaplin seems to not have an ego about his own stardom and so we get equal time with little Jackie Coogan.

The more I know of Charlie Chaplin, the more I think he was a pretty cool dude and way ahead of his time.

Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?

Sherlock Jr.

It seems like the third time IS the charm with this being nominated two other times previously and then disqualified, so I finally get to watch, what is considered, along with The General one of Keaton's very best. It definitely is when it comes to the stunt work, which is pretty impressive and at many times, quite seamless and expertly timed. And, may I add, the man is a helluva pool player when it comes to trick shooting. WOW.
I honestly can't say enough about them and the man's ability to pull them off so amazingly well. Truly astounding.

My actual viewing of Buster Keaton films is, sadly, very limited and I'm pretty happy to finally sit back and thoroughly enjoy one of his best. It definitely gets me psyched to watch one I was considering for a blind grab; The General.

THANK YOU @ahwell for allowing me to finally have the actual opportunity to watch all of this, having only seen highlights of Keaton throughout my life.
They say: that after people make love there's a kind of melancholia, the petite mort, the little death. Well, I'm here to tell you, after a romantic night with yourself there's a very acute sensation of failed suicide. ~Dylan Moran

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Lucky Star

A simple and schmaltzy story and luckily I'm a simple and schmaltzy guy. I didn't like it at first when I found Janet Gaynor's character very annoying. As her character got better so did the movie. Tim was likable although he looked like he was ready to rip Mary's intestines out when she said she had been holding out on her ma. Wrenn was a suitable jerk. I liked the down home feel and look of the movie. Not much for humor except the look of horror on Mary's face when Wrenn told her mother that they were equally beautiful or whatever the words were. I hated the musical score and thought it really detracted from the movie. Overall I enjoyed it but didn't think it was anything special.

I’m confused...I tried the link for Marianne and three minutes in I realized it’s in French. Is there a way to get English subtitles or something?

Marianne (1929)

This was my movie and it was a blind nom too. And to be honest I didn't really enjoy it all that much from a pure entertainment stand point. But what I really liked was Marion Davies. I can see why she was such a big star in the silent film days, and I can see why William Randolph Hurst took such a fancy to her....She was a doll! And so animated and lively that she carried the film effortlessly. I'm kinda embarrassed to say that this is only the second film I've seen of hers. I need to work on that!

Even though Marianne doesn't compare to the heavy hitter films in this HoF, I'm still glad I seen it as it's an important part of film history and sets on the cusp of both silent and talkie movies.

Originally this was shot as a silent film and as a drama and was 30 minutes shorter. What's interesting from a film buff's point of view is that this movie was made in that one year when sound films made a huge impact, and some silent films that were in production went back into production and added in sound. At no other time in movie history has such and abrupt change took place in films.

I haven't seen the silent version of this, but I think I can tell that the added in dialogue scenes were done to take advantage of the new trend in sound. I swear this film has more dialogue in it than films being made today, and it has a bunch of music to boot, which must have been amazing for audiences in 1929 to see AND hear.
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This one was another letdown. I just though the humor was really dated and they tried to add in sound elements (like the mediocre music) when they weren't necessary. Some of the dialogue scenes were interesting but overall it just wasn't too fun of a movie... the french accent of that woman drove me crazy, and I don't really know why. All of the characters just seemed unlikable and I wasn't very satisfied with the ending. Maybe I'm viewing it too much from an entertainment perspective, but I did the same for Pandora's Box and got much better results.


... the french accent of that woman drove me crazy, and I don't really know why.
Yeah it was hard to understand her. I think if that was done on the stage it would have been more dynamic, but it didn't really work for me either. Not sure why it's rated so high at IMDB?

Yeah it was hard to understand her. I think if that was done on the stage it would have been more dynamic, but it didn't really work for me either. Not sure why it's rated so high at IMDB?
Well ,I think because it only has 1,000 votes, that's about 1500 times less than the higher rated movies at IMDB.

Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
Watched The Kid last night -- loved it (of course, being a Chaplin fanboy since I was around 5 or 6).
Will try to post a review in the next few days.

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The Man Who Laughs

I saw this mostly as a tragic love story that I could have loved with more tragedy. There's a lot to like about it, and what I liked most was the settings. The story, characters, performances, and score were also all above average. I wonder how the actor's cheeks felt having to keep that stupid smile on his face all the time. It had the type of tone that I look for and I don't have any complaints except that I was never spellbound by it. Oh yea I have one complaint; I never got to see the five legged cow. Good movie.

Marianne is well...a bit of a slough to get through, the music is not really that great, the humor has it's moments and the cinematography leads a bit to be desired. I suppose it's strength is it's a timeless story, I could see this basic plot rehashed today. At first I was excited that this wasn't a silent film...that excitement subsided rather quickly.

I'm surprised Citizen Rules liked Marion Davis' performance I thought her french accent was cartoonish and frankly terrible it completely took me out of the film. I'm not sure why they couldn't just get a french actress their should have been dozens of quality ones around during this period of time.

Perhaps the film would have been better as a silent one...but yeah it didn't do anything for me. An interesting experiment that just didn't work for me.


the french accent of that woman drove me crazy, and I don't really know why.


Marianne...I'm surprised Citizen Rules liked Marion Davis' performance I thought her french accent was cartoonish and frankly terrible it completely took me out of the film...
I didn't like the movie either, it was a blind nom and I expected more out of it. I guess I liked Marion Davies performance, just because I thought she was cute! But yeah she over did the French bit, but then again the whole movie borders on farcical comedy, so it didn't bother me as everbody was wacky just about. I haven't seen the silent version, but I gather that it's much more serious and that the longer talkie is more silly as they included singing numbers and jokes for the audience who hadn't probably heard a film ever before in their lives.

Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?

"It's like wiping your ass with silk, I love it.

Lucky Star often we speak of performances and story's yet we miss out on the cinematography and direction. Lyons and Smith who did the photography in this film did a fantastic job. The camera really feels like an extra person. What I really value about the film is how Borzage doesn't skimp on the background or foreground, you've always got something going on somewhere that your eye can drift towards.

"Hope you ain't been shot dead"

The film moves away from the gothic and war setting and settles into a story of being handicapped post war romance. Now a hundred years later I'm not sure if the romance between a 17 year old and a guy near 30 but they address it and that's nice. The leads really make the romance work...I would actually say parts of this remind me of Douglas Sirk film from the 50's.

Looking through his filmography this might actually be my favorite Borzage film, makes me want to check out some of his other silent films.