UC Berkeley Library

1920-1929

Birmingham Black Bottom: The First BlackTalkies.

Contents: Music hath harms / Cast: SpencerWilliams, Roberta Hyson, Curtis Mosby's DixielandBlue Blowers -- The melancholy dame / Cast: EvelynPreer, Spencer Williams, Roberta Hyson -- Framingof the shrew / Cast: Evelyn Preer, Edward Thompson-- Oft in the silly night / Cast: Spencer Williams,Roberta Hyson. These groundbreaking comedies, thebrainchild of pioneer director, Al Christie, arefrom the first series of talking pictures writtenand conceived for black performers, rare shortsfrom 1929.

Blood & Sand (1922)

Directed by Fred Niblo. Cast: Rudolph Valentino, Lila Lee, Nita Naldi, Walter Long. A romantic tragedy about the rise and fall of a matador. Juan Gallardo, Spain's most idolized matador, returns to his home town and finds himself the victim of his own desires and the sinister charms of the exotic Dona Sol. Based on the novel "Sangre y arena" by Vincente Blasco Ibanez and the play by Tom Cushing.

Body and Soul (1925)

Directed by Oscar Micheaux. Cast: Paul Robeson,Julie Theresa Russell, Marshall Rogers, Chester A.Alexander, Walter Comick, Mercedes Gilbert. PaulRobeson stars in this early silent film of aminister gone corrupt. He associates with the ownerof a house of gambling, forces a girl to steal andlater kills the girl's brother. But, when all issaid and done it's only a dream. 80 min. ; Credits and other information from the Internet MovieDatabase

Chicago (1927)

Directors: Frank Urson, Cecil B. DeMille Cast: Ginger Rogers, Adolphe Menjou, George Montgomery, Lynne Overman, Nigel Bruce, Phil Silvers, Sara Allgood, William Frawley, Spring Byington. Based on a true crime story, the movies is about a jazz-loving flapper Roxie Hart, put on trial for the murder of her lover, who hits the headlines with her courtroom theatrics. Based on the play "Chicago" by Maurine Dallas Watkins. 119 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Cohen on the Telephone (1929)

Directed by Robert Ross. Cast: George Sidney. With the advent of sound, the vaudeville-immigrant genre added comic speech to its repertoire of physical comedy and funny situations. This film presents a humorous monologue of a Jewish immigrant using the telephone for the first time when he calls his landlord about repairs to the owner's property. Unfamiliar with the telephone and still uncomfortable with the English language, Cohen embroils himself in a comic monologue of misunderstanding. 9 min.

College (1927)

Directed by James W. Horne. Featuring Buster Keaton. Ronald, an idealistic freshman who attends Clayton College finds himself embroiled in a war of athletics as he fights for the heart of his beloved coed, Mary. 66 min. ; Video Disc 117:3 Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database
See also: Buster Keaton bibliography

Dancing Mothers (1926)

Directed by Herbert Brenon. Cast: Conway Tearle, Alice Joyce, Clara Bow, Donald Keith, Dorothy Cumming, Elsie Lawson, Norman Trevor. Set during the 1920's flapper era a wealthy family is torn apart when the wife discovers that her husband is cheating on her. The shock opens her eyes for the first time to the selfishness and shallowness of her daughter and husband. Based on the play by Edgar Selwyn and Edmund Goulding. 64 min. ; Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

East and West (Mizreh un Mayrev; Ost und West) (Austria, 1923)

Directed by Sidney M. Goldin. Cast: Molly Picon, Jacob Kalish, Sidney M. Goldin, Saul Nathan, Laura Glucksman, Eugen Newfeld, Johannes Roth. In this comedic film about assimilation and Jewish values, sophisticated New Yorker Morris Brown travels back to his village to attend his niece's traditional wedding. There he encounters the rambunctious Mollie, whose hijinks include boxing, and teaching other young villagers to shimmy. Mollie meets her match, however, in an engaging young yeshiva scholar who forsakes tradition and joins the secular world to win her heart.

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921)

Director: Rex Ingram. Cast: Pomeroy Cannon, Josef Swickard, Bridgetta Clark, Rudolf Valentino, Virginia Warwick. Partly set in Argentina, partly in France this anti-German story describes the horrors of World War I as the background for a tragic story of illicit love. It was Rex Ingram's first truly successful movie and established Rudolf Valentino as a star. Based on the novel of the same title by Vicente Blasco Ibanez. 150 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

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