THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII
GLI ULTIMI GIORNI DI POMPEII
1926, 144 min, Italy, Dir: Carmine Gallone, Amleto Palermi

Based on Edward Bulwer-Lytton's popular 19th-century historical novel of the same title, THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII centers on the ardent love between young dandy Glaucus and the beautiful Ione in the days leading up to Mount Vesuvius' devastating eruption. It was Italy's most expensive production up to that point, with sumptuous, extravagant sets and photography re-envisioning a standing Pompeii followed by the volcano's annihilative mayhem, and one of the grandest examples of early cinema's fascination with the legendary natural disaster. With Victor Varconi, Rina De Liguoro and María Corda.


THE TONG MAN
1919, 58 min, USA, Dir: William Worthington

Japanese-American Sessue Hayakawa produced and starred in this unusually violent silent film about smuggling and the Chinese mafia, featuring realistic gun and knife fights and even a hatchet to the face! Hawakaya's extraordinary presence dominates the screen. Almost 40 years later, the actor received an Oscar nomination for his role in David Lean's BRIDGE OVER THE RIVER KWAI.


BLANCANIEVES
SNOW WHITE
2011, 104 min, Spain, Dir: Pablo Berger

In a year when Snow White reappropriations are de rigeur, Pablo Berger's 1920s-set silent tale, offset by punchy Flamenco rhythms, is hands-down the most imaginative. Rejected at birth by her father, Carmencita (Macarena Garcia) is raised by her grandmother. But when granny dies, the poor dark-haired maiden is sent to the lower depths of her evil stepmother's villa. Maribel Verdu (Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN) gives a knockout, ingeniously campy-smart performance as the villainess, hellbent on keeping Carmencita from Prince Charming - here a bullfighting dwarf! - and thwarting her dreams of becoming a matador. "While Michel Hazanavicius’ Oscar winner [THE ARTIST] was a playful valentine to pre-talkies Hollywood, Spanish writer-director Pablo Berger’s inventive Andalusian reworking of Snow White is a love letter to 1920s European silent film, liberally mixing humor and melodrama." - The Hollywood Reporter


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