March 10, 1994 |
The doorman, the unnamed hero-victim of F.W. Murnau's "The Last Laugh," loves his uniform. It's a big, bulky symbol of power, and he feels renewed every time he wraps himself in it. His neighbors respond with exaggerated respect. Whenever the doorman leaves the hotel where he works and strides home, they check him out, admiring the image. They like the strength his uniform projects; they feel more secure because of it.
March 24, 1991 |
Most film buffs will probably tell you that director William Wellman's "Wings" won the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' very first best picture Oscar back in 1927-28. But they may be wrong--or half wrong--according to noted film historian Richard Koszarski. Koszarski--in his "An Evening's Entertainment," a comprehensive new history of the silent-feature era--claims there were essentially two winners that year: Paramount's "Wings" and Fox's "Sunrise."
October 22, 1999 |
The Zoo District's "Nosferatu: Angel of the Final Hour" at Art Share Los Angeles isn't about vampires. Created by Kaaren J. Luker, Jon Kellam and Bernadette Sullivan and written by Luker, this production is an expressionistic exploration of the 1922 horror film classic and its director, F.W. Murnau. The melange of slapstick comedy, performance art, song and somber scenes of vampire seduction doesn't quite make a cohesive whole, yet remains fascinating.
October 10, 2012 |
With its promise of destruction and chaos, of the mighty brought low, "The Last Days of Pompeii" is such an irresistible cinematic title it's been used time and time again. Two of the resulting films can be enjoyed in ideal surroundings in the Getty Villa's Outdoor Classical Theater this weekend in a miniseries accompanying the museum's engaging exhibition on the same subject. Playing Friday at 7:30 p.m. is the 1913 Italian silent directed by Mario Caserini and released in this country with a poster proclaiming it "A Spectacular Photo-Drama.
March 1, 2013 |
They don't make westerns like they used to; in fact they pretty much don't make them at all anymore. Which makes a pair of new DVD releases especially welcome to fans of the genre. Riding up from the distant past is "George O'Brien," a collection of three films on one disc from the good folks at the Warner Archive Collection. O'Brien is known to serious folks as the star of F.W. Murnau's silent classic "Sunrise," but he (and his horse Mike) also turned out 1930s films like "The Marshal of Mesa City," "Legion of the Lawless" and "Triple Justice," all on view here.
June 23, 2003 |
The flickering images have all the wide-eyed passion and vampire iconography of F.W. Murnau's 1922 "Nosferatu." But Guy Maddin's "Dracula: Pages From a Virgin's Diary" tells the tale with cinematic wit, sensuality and the grace of a ballet. In fact, members of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet play the familiar roles in Maddin's mostly silent, mostly black-and-white "Dracula," which opens Friday for a one-week run at the Nuart Theatre in West L.A.
June 15, 1989 |
Perhaps composer Richard Marriott sees himself as a musical ambassador. To him the current world of music is a collection of different isolated styles waiting to be joined into one big multifarious style. Tonight through Saturday at the Nuart Theatre, the Club Foot Orchestra performs his film music for "Nosferatu," F. W. Murnau's classic 1922 vampire movie. It's an unusual, eclectic musical event as well as cinema with a touch of wit. Not unexpectedly, extended sections of atonal improvisation, multiphonics on the bass clarinet and fidgety spiccato violin riffs accompany the more uncanny, horrific sections along with other sections of generic tonal film music.
February 12, 2001
In response to Jason Alexander Apuzzo's " 'Vampire' Does F.W. Murnau Injustice" (Counterpunch, Feb. 5), I just wanted to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this devilish picture and would like to suggest that Apuzzo needs to lighten up a little bit, cut out his long middle name and step off his intellectual high horse when viewing films, and see them for what they are most of the time: simply entertainment. To me, "Shadow of the Vampire" was brilliantly written, and Apuzzo seems to have missed the fact that the film isn't about a method actor, but rather, a method director.
October 5, 2006 |
After a dramatic three-month pause following its sale, the Silent Movie Theatre reopens tonight with a classic of the genre, "The Last Laugh" (1924). Then things get scary. "The Last Laugh" is about the humiliating demotion of a hotel doorman, whose job is his life. Despite the title, it's a tragedy -- at least until the last 10 minutes. Even preeminent German Expressionist director F.W. Murnau, it seems, needed to create a crowd-pleasing ending. But he wasn't happy about it.