A Preview of the 2022 Pordenone Silent Film Festival Online Edition
October 1, 2022
The online portion of the Pordenone Silent Film Festival kicks off today and runs through Saturday, October 8. Like last year, the organization is presenting both in-person and virtual events, which continues to be fantastic news for classic movie fans who can’t make the trip to Italy for the annual silent film celebration.
Below is a brief overview of the features screening virtually at the 41st festival, most of which I hope I’ll be able to see. As a bonus: They’re all new discoveries for me!
Sui Gradini Del Trono/On the Steps of the Throne (Italy, 1912)
Love affairs, royalty drama, isolated villas, a replacement prince: These are the small bits and pieces of this film I collected from a Google translated webpage published in 2011. The less I can find on a movie, the more obscure I assume it to be, so I’m very excited to see this!
Yes or No (US, 1920)
This is an eye-catching title... and a slightly bothersome poster. Norma Talmadge plays dual roles here, a rich wife and a poor wife, both of whom have to make decisions when tempted by romance: stay with a negligent husband or jump ship? I’m looking forward to seeing some familiar faces – Lowell Sherman, Edward Brophy, Frederick Burton – and what path(s) Talmadge’s characters choose.
Just Around the Corner (US, 1921)
Pordenone spotlights Frances Marion this year, and I am here for it! Just Around the Corner is the second of three films she’s credited with directing. (Marion also adapted the script from Fannie Hurst’s story “The Superman.”) I don’t recognize anyone in the cast, which isn’t the most unusual for me, but that makes me all the more interested in discovering this NYC-set drama.
Profanazione (Italy, 1924-1926)
A very empty IMDb page immediately piques my interest in a movie. Also, did it really take three years to film? I’m quite curious what this 63-minute feature will deliver!
Hans Kungl. Höghet Shinglar/Majestät Schneidet Bubiköpfe/His Majesty The Barber (Sweden/Germany, 1928)
Per IMDb, this film follows a small-town barber who gets ensnared in a coup occurring in his past homeland, which is a made-up country. Hmmm. I'm just hoping this movie at least provides some peeks at 1920s Sweden.
Po Horách, Po Dolách/Over Mountains, Over Valleys (Czechoslovakia, 1930)
Precious little information exists on this film on IMDb and Wikipedia, which is a trend this year. The two major points I gleaned from the translated Wiki page are: 1. This is a documentary, and 2. Director Karel Plicka served as the writer, director, and cinematographer. And with that, I’m quite looking forward to what I’ll learn from this one.
The Runaway Princess/Priscillas Fahrt Ins Glück (Great Britain/Germany, 1929)
A British-German co-production, shot in both countries, with directorial duties shared by one British and one German director – that sounds very well divided. That goes for the stars, too. Viennese actress Mady Christians plays the titular runaway princess, while British actor Paul Cavanagh takes on the role of the prince in disguise who tries to save her from being deceived by a forger. I’ve seen Christians in some of her later Hollywood work, including Address Unknown (1944) and Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948), and Cavanagh I’m familiar with from pre-Codes like The Sin of Nora Moran (1933). Suffice it to say, I can’t wait for this screening.
Manolescu - Der König der Hochstapler/Manolescu - the Prince of Adventures (Germany, 1929)
I know very little about this title except that it stars Brigitte Helm, who made her film debut in Metropolis (1927). I recall being mesmerized by her in 2020 Pordenone selection Abwege/The Devious Path (1928), so I’m thrilled to get to witness her in another starring role.
Norma Talmadge and Wallace MacDonald in The Lady (1925).
The Lady (US, 1925)
I’ll be out of town this weekend, so while I’m looking forward to The Lady – which boasts big names like writer Frances Marion, director Frank Borzage, and star Norma Talmadge – there’s a big chance I won’t be able to see it within its 24-hour streaming window. That’s unfortunate, because this movie sounds like it’s dripping with dramatics – we’re talking a disinherited, gambling-addicted husband; a father-in-law fighting for custody; and an impoverished mother who entrusts the care of her child to a couple she later can’t locate. Whoa.
Up in Mabel’s Room (US, 1926)
Per IMDb: “Mabel catches her husband buying lingerie, and he won't explain who it's for. She divorces him, but later learns he was buying her an anniversary gift. She becomes determined to win him back.” All this starring Marie Prevost?! Yes, please. (Though I have no idea when/if I’ll be able to sneak this in while I’m away…)
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