Tag Archives: original research

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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Stacia Napierkowska on film

As dancer Marfa Koutiloff in Les Vampires (FR 1915-16), Stacia Napierkowska gave the silent cinema one of its most iconic images: a woman in a black bodystocking and great black bat wings, stretching and swirling as if to take flight. Later, she … Continue reading

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1918: Fragments of Menichelli. On the trail of “Gemma di Sant’Eremo” and “La passeggiera”

Recently, I was reading Italo Calvino’s wonderful book If on a winter’s night a traveller (1979), and the following line stuck in my mind: The dimension of time has been shattered, we cannot love or think except in fragments of … 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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Emilio Ghione’s Za La Mort: a filmography

As an adjunct to my post on Anime Buie | Dark Souls, here is a brief filmography of Emilio Ghione’s Za La Mort series (1914-1924). The films are listed chronologically, with survival information/availability indicated.

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To the stars and beyond: movies dream of outer space, 1898-1910

It was the end of the nineteenth century, a tumultuous time in Western society. Amidst the ongoing innovations in manufacturing and agriculture, there were new inventions such as the telegraph, the automobile, and lightbulbs; new forms of invisible energy such … Continue reading

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Retracing the history of an action blockbuster at 100: Il jockey della morte | The Jockey of Death (IT 1915) and its sequel, Il circo della morte (1916)

A stolen child, a skeleton mascot, a circus act, and a stunt-filled chase as a man in a skeleton suit and a female acrobat go on the run: continuing this month’s theme of ‘Adventure 1915’ is Il jockey della morte, an Italian … Continue reading

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