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Friday Five: 1910s Films

Friday Five


My top five films from the 1910s!

#5. In Nacht und Eis (1912)

Titanic sank on April 15th - and by May 14th the first film based on the sinking had been released. Saved from the Titanic starred actress and survivor Dorothy Gibson, wearing the same clothes she was rescued in. Sadly the last known print was destroyed in a fire in 1914, which leaves In Nacht und Eis - released in August 1912 - as the oldest film about the tragedy.

#4. The New York Hat (1912)

It pulls at your heartstrings in the way only a Mary Pickford picture can.

#3. A Fool There Was (1915)

Theda Bara is one of the most fascinating stars of early cinema. Born Theodosia Goodman of Ohio, the Fox studio publicity machine presented her as the Egyptian born daughter of a French actress and - at differing points - an Italian sculptor or an Arab Sheik. Bara was the first 'sex symbol' of the silver screen and typically played the 'vamp': aka 'the other woman'.

#2. Snow White (1916)

This is the film that convinced a 15-year-old Walt Disney that Snow White should be the subject of his animated masterpiece.

#1. Broken Blossoms (1919)

This had a big impact on me the first time I saw it, and the tragedy of the thing still gets to me even now. Lillian Gish shows why she is considered one of the all time greats, and the contrast of her treatment at the hands of her abusive father with her chaste romance with Cheng Huan (Richard Barthelmess in yellow face because 'progressive' was a flexible sort of term in 1919...) is really powerful, especially given the prejudices of the time.

For a more in depth review, check out my scanned copy of Picture Show from April 1920 when the film hit UK cinemas.

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Friday Five


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