Tag Archives: forgotten film stars

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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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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Hesperia! The diva as star attraction in Emilio Ghione’s Anime Buie (IT 1916)

Today marks the 99th anniversary of the première of Anime Buie | Dark Souls, fourth in a series of films featuring the character Za La Mort, an honourable French apache (street criminal gang member) and his adventures in the criminal underworld and beyond. The character … 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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Tórtola Valencia in Pasionaria | Passionflower (ES 1915)

   From the Spain of a century ago comes the extraordinary film Pasionaria. The film is a star vehicle for Carmen Tórtola Valencia, better known simply as Tórtola Valencia, a famous Spanish dancer of the era who specialized in exotic dances. Here she … Continue reading

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Forgotten film stars: Ellen Jensen-Eck and Das Geheimschloss (Miss Clever versus the Black Hand; DE 1914)

I loved Das Geheimschloß (The Secret Castle) aka Miss Clever contra de „Zwarte Hand” (Miss Clever versus the ‘Black Hand’) when I saw it at Le Giornate del Cinema Muto in Pordenone a couple of years ago – a gem out of nowhere. A few months … Continue reading

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