Tag Archives: excellent women

The fallibility of film history: Valeria Creti unmasked as Filibus

I wrote about the delightful 1915 action caper Filibus a few years ago: a wonderful gender-bending tale of intrigue and adventure, one of my favourite silents. In particular, I praised the performance of Cristina Ruspoli as the title character Filibus, … Continue reading

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In search of Astrea, mysterious ‘strongwoman’ of the Italian silent cinema

The silent era was something of a golden age for athletic female stars. American serial queens were beloved by audiences around the world—it would be hard to overestimate how popular (and bankable) stars like Pearl White were at their peak. … Continue reading

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Mistinguett on film: three shorts

   Mistinguett must be considered one of France’s great entertainers. Born Jeanne Florentine Bourgeois in 1875, in the early twentieth century she was a huge star of the French music hall, lighting up the stage of such legendary venues as the Moulin … Continue reading

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Emilie Sannom, daredevil of the movies

In the history of film, the 1910s was the premier decade for female action stars. Long before Ellen Ripley became the prototype for the modern female badass, silent movie screens were filled with fearless women, female daredevils, adventurers and spies. … Continue reading

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The film star performing the film star: Asta Nielsen in Die Filmprimadonna (DE 1913)

“Lower the flags in her honour; she is incomparable and without peer.” So wrote early film theorist Béla Balázs of Asta Nielsen in his 1924 book Der Sichtbare Mensch (The Visible Man). It is well-known that Nielsen was one of the first international … Continue reading

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“Gossip is a fearful thing”: Ruan Lingyu’s 新女性 | New Women (CN 1935)

I’ll be in China in less than a week! So this seems like an appropriate time to take a look at another Chinese film from Shanghai’s golden era: 1935’s 新女性 | New Women, starring Ruan Lingyu in a heart-breaking role. … Continue reading

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Better living through athletics: Li Lili in 体育皇后 | Queen of Sports (CN 1934)

The first Chinese silent film that I ever saw was 1934’s 体育皇后, or Queen of Sports. It would have been 5 or 6 years ago, at the lantern festival in my home city, where they showed a few films on … Continue reading

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Mistress of disguise, pirate of the skies: Filibus (IT 1915)

Have you ever wanted to watch a film about a masked female criminal mastermind who flies around in a zeppelin, perpetrating audacious schemes for the thrill of it as much as for the spoils of victory? Well, not only does this … Continue reading

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Karalli & Bauer: Счастье вечной ночи | The Happiness of Eternal Night (RU 1915)

This week, a return to the Yevgeni Bauer hour of power! The Happiness of Eternal Night sees Bauer working with actress and ballerina Vera Karalli, actor Vitold Polonsky, and cameraman Boris Zavelev; the same core of After Death, which was released just six … Continue reading

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Xirgu on film: Alma Torturada | Tortured Soul (ES 1916)

I first became interested in Margarita Xirgu a year or two ago, when I saw a performance of the opera Ainadamar (‘Fountain of Tears’, 2003). The opera centers on the relationship between the poet Federico García Lorca and the actress Xirgu, his close friend, muse, … Continue reading

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