Louise Brooks and Richard Arlen star in the hobo drama by William Wellman

Silents Please! – ‘Beggars of Life’ with Louise Brooks, ‘Varieté’ from Germany, and more

Catching up on some of the silent films released to Blu-ray and DVD in the past months… Beggars of Life (Kino Lorber) William Wellman was one of the most versatile directors of his day, making everything from comedies and musicals to gritty dramas and war movies, and his World War I epic Wings (1927) won […]

Blu-ray: Gloria Swanson is ‘Zaza’ and Rudolph Valentino is ‘The Sheik’ and ‘Son of the Sheik’

Zaza (Kino Lorber) Gloria Swanson plays the music hall star Zaza (1923), Allan Dwan’s spirited silent film adaptation of the 19th century play by Pierre Berton and Charles Simon. This is “the Zaza of today,” reads the introduction, a 20th century version with Swanson as the temperamental star attraction of the top music hall in […]

Felix E. Feist's 1933 'Deluge,' the first end-of-the-world disaster movie

Blu-ray: ‘Deluge’ – The original end-of-the-world disaster movie restored

Deluge (1933) (Kino Lorber Studio Classics, Blu-ray, DVD), the original end-of-the-world thriller, is a curious and often fascinating artifact. Produced in 1933, before the production code came down on Hollywood, on a relatively modest budget, it imagines not just the destruction of civilization in (unexplained) earthquakes and cataclysmic storms but life after the flood, so […]

Pioneers of African-American Cinema

Blu-ray / DVD: Pioneers of African-American Cinema

Pioneers of African-American Cinema (Kino, Blu-ray, DVD) – The legacy of African-American filmmaking—specifically films made by and for African-American audiences before Hollywood integrated its casts and gave leading roles to African-American actors—is largely unknown to even passionate films buffs, in part because the films were rarely seen by white audiences in their day, and in […]