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Reiniger had already completed her full-length masterpiece THE ADVENTURES OF PRINCE ACHMED (1926) when she made this animated tale of romance at the age of 32. A love story set to a Baroque score, HARLEQUIN is a delicate black-and-white ballet rendered through exquisitely detailed silhouettes.
The Stolen Heart
Based on a fable by Ernst Keienburg, this short drama exhibits an entrancing sense of space. As a story about a monstrous man who steals a town's musical instruments, scholars argue that this is an anti-Nazi allegory. When the musical instruments come to life, Reiniger's playful silhouette animation celebrates the…
An example of Reiniger's animated music films based on opera, PAPAGENO is filled with impeccable attention to detail. Papageno, a birdcatcher from Mozart's "The Magic Flute," idles his time with his bird companions, fights an undulating snake, and finds love and familial happiness through delicate and delightful visuals that parallel…
A Night on Bald Mountain
Taking 18 months to complete, this dizzyingly surreal pinscreen animation interprets music by Mussorgsky as interplay between shadow/light, permanence/impermanence, motion/stillness, human/animal, and night/day. Parker and Alexeieff slowly created the imagery for this dream-like world by constantly adjusting the pins on the board and then filming what their shadows generated.
Les Chiens Savants
Typical of Gaumont's output at the time and an example of cinema's early presentational style, this humorous "demonstration" film showcases a vaudeville act featuring a Miss Dundee and her trained dogs. While the dogs perform tricks like jumping over platforms and sticks, a male aide briefly assists Miss Dundee, who…
Une Histoire Roulante
In this pun-titled Gaumont comedy, a man rests in a barrel that gets pushed down a hill. The ensuing short is an advanced study on cinematic space and captures the continuity of motion as the rolling barrel moves from location to location violently hurtling into people. Music by Frederick Hodges.
La Barricade
This historical drama, which depicts a young boy caught by accident in revolutionary conflict, is notable for its unceremonious depiction of a firing squad in action. Remarkable for its confident use of the full frame, it anticipates Guy's later films made in the United States. Music by Frederick Hodges.
Falling Leaves
This straightforward family melodrama was filmed while Solax was still located in Flushing, New York. FALLING LEAVES echoes aspects of O'Henry's 1907 short story "The Last Leaf" and depicts the clever attempts of a concerned young girl trying to save her older sister who is dying of consumption. Music by…
Making an American Citizen
While this film is, according to film historian Alison McMahan, "'against' the oppression of women," it "tells us more about the social and economic pressures to 'Americanize'" and assimilate foreigners like Guy Blache. The film follows an Eastern European couple that comes to the United States, where the husband learns…
The Girl in the Armchair
In this drama about a man's gambling addiction and the woman who loves him, Guy Blache is a master of cinematic space and skillfully stages the action in the foreground and background of the frame. This film is also notable for the nightmare sequence, which, via superimposition, depicts playing cards…
Weber stars as a young mother who is home alone when a burglar enters her house in this visually captivating and stylistically advanced thriller. The chase scene, the use of split-screen, and the shots of the burglar ascending into the house are all powerful visuals that proclaim Lois Weber's skill…
Weber also provided the script for this short family drama, which follows a discontented Civil War veteran who leaves the old soldier's home and moves in with his wealthy nephew. Focusing on the tensions that arise as a result, DISCONTENT is an incisive exploration of change, family dynamics, class, and…