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  • Those Awful Hats

    Those Awful Hats

    ★★½

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    This early short from Biograph is both a comedy and an informational promo. It shows a small audience in a Nickelodeon-style theater watching a movie. One at a time, several fashionably-attired women enter and find seats near the front. Each wears a hat which is adorned with a floral bouquet, and soon it is impossible for anyone to see the screen because of them. Towards the end, a giant claw descends from the ceiling and removes, first one of the…

  • Broncho Billy's Sentence

    Broncho Billy's Sentence

    ★★★½

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    This short movie is supposed to reflect a more “mature” stage in Gilbert A. “Broncho Billy” Anderson’s (also in “The Making of Broncho Billy” and “The Champion” with Charlie Chaplin) career. At only a single reel, it doesn’t really manage the complexity Anderson probably hoped for, but it does give him a chance to display a range of emotional states and motivations, making it well ahead of “Broncho Billy and the Greaser,” for example. It resembles “His Regeneration” in that…

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  • The Matrimaniac

    The Matrimaniac

    ★★★½

    This early Douglas Fairbanks (also in “The Lamb” and “The Americano”) vehicle shows all the “pep” you could ask for and then some. He and Constance Talmadge (from “Intolerance” and “Two Weeks”) are crazy about each other and crazy to get married, but her father has other plans, which launches us into a an increasingly complicated scheme of elopement, that turns into a chase as daddy struggles to get an injunction against the marriage read to each of the interested…

  • The Most Dangerous Game

    The Most Dangerous Game

    ★★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    One of the most iconic film pictures of all time, this nevertheless is less recognizable to audiences than the classic monster films of the same time. Everyone’s seen some variation of the story, though: shipwreck survivors find themselves on an island with a seeming benefactor who intends to hunt them down as if they were animals (even “Gilligan’s Island” did a version once). This first film version was made by the producers of “King Kong” a year earlier, using some…