#4- Les Vampires

Quick recap: Cue the Sad Trombone or Happiness Flute, depending on your preference, but this movie did not in fact contain any vampires. There is a group of villains who do all of their schemes at night though. The ‘movie’ is actually 10 episodes built around Investigator Philipe Guerande and his friend Mazamette. Each part has the criminals plotting something and then Guerande and Mazamette catch them in some way, usually without realizing it.

Fun (?) Fact: This is considered to be one of the longest movies ever made, clocking in at roughly 6 1/2 hours. I dispute this because when it was released in theaters, it was broken up into episodes over a year. It’s more of a mini series than a movie you would watch all at once.

My thoughts: Although it took me over a year to finish Les Vampires, I really enjoyed it for several reasons. First of all, there were some surprisingly violent scenes and an interesting mystery. I could see how later thriller movies evolved from this film. I imagine audiences at the time loved it as well. Secondly, if you are looking for a stereotypical silent movie, this is it. The deaths are long and drawn out, the actors talk for a long time and then the cue cards show one or two words to sum it up and the music guides you. Last reason Les Vampires was interesting:

Irma Vep

Irma Vep is one of the main villains and Musidora, who plays her, does the job perfectly. She is calculating and heartless and so smart. I was genuinely surprised how she is not portrayed as some woman caught up in the mess, but perfectly capable of handling herself.

Final Review: 4/5 If it wasn’t so long, I would totally give it a 5. Episodes are all different lengths so just jump in and watch when you have time.

Where I watched it: http://www.archive.org as well as Youtube

#3- Birth of a Nation

Quick recap: This is a Civil War era film, directed by the great DW Griffith. There are two plot lines involving the North and the South and how each is effected. The first part of the movie (it was originally two parts) is pre Civil War up to the end and the second part is all about the Reconstruction. In the second part of the film, African-Americans are given rights and wreak havoc on everything and everybody. The KKK rises up to protect all those innocent white people and everything is ok.

Fun (?) fact: The KKK used this movie as a recruiting tool. Of course they did.

My thoughts: So the first part was really no different than Gone With the Wind, with all its epic-ness. Nothing I haven’t seen before but I suppose for its time, I can see why people loved it. I sat through this part thinking, ‘This isn’t so controversial!” and then I got worried that the internet has desensitized me too much. And THAT’S when the second part started. Wow. It’s like I can almost imagine Griffith had a checklist of everything offensive to African- Americans and laughed maniacally as he put it into the film.

man in blackface eating fried chicken. Yeah.

Besides being offensive, this film did not interest me at all. I love historical movies as you shall see in later posts, but nothing kept me glued to the screen.

Final review: 2 out of 5. Not going to recommend this one, unless you want to watch it for its value to film. I watched the movie on archive.org.

Where I watched it: http://www.archive.org