Brigitte Helm as Scheming Baroness Sandorf in L’Argent (1928)

L’Argent (“money”) is a French silent film directed in 1928 by Marcel L’Herbier. The film was adapted from the novel L’Argent by Émile Zola, and it portrays the world of banking and the stock market in 1920s Paris. Marcel L’Herbier insisted that the film should be updated from the 1860s to the present-day.

The plot revolves around rival Paris bankers Saccard and Gunderman. Saccard sees an opportunity to rescue his failing bank, Banque Universelle, by financing the solo transatlantic flight of Jacques Hamelin, a pioneering aviator, and then capitalising on his popularity to set up a colonial business project in Guyane. He also hopes to seduce Hamelin’s wife Line in his absence. When a rumour circulates that Hamelin has crashed, Saccard exploits the false reports to manipulate shares at the Bourse.

Gunderman disapproves of Saccard and his methods, and has secretly bought shares in his bank as a future weapon against him. The Baroness Sandorf, a former lover of Saccard, acts as a spy to assist Gunderman’s interests, and more particularly her own. Brigitte Helm stars as the scheming baroness.

Today L’Argent is regarded by many to be ground-breaking work and one of the cinema’s greatest achievements.

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Brigitte Helm in L’Argent via

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Brigitte Helm in L’Argent via

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Brigitte Helm in L’Argent via

A Collection of Photos feat. Greta Garbo by Ruth Harriet Louise (1920s)

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Ruth Harriet Louise, Greta Garbo, The Torrent 1925 via

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Ruth Harriet Louise, Greta Garbo, Love, 1927 via

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Ruth Harriet Louise, Greta Garbo in “The Mysterious Lady”, 1928 via

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Ruth Harriet Louise, Greta Garbo, The Temptress, 1926 via

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Ruth Harriet Louise Greta Garbo, The Single Standard, 1929 via

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Ruth Harriet Louise, Greta Garbo, A Woman of Affairs, 1929 via

Vintage Photos Featuring Alla Nazimova in “Salomé” (1923)

Salomé (1923), was directed by Charles Bryant and starred russian silent-movie queen Alla Nazimova – the film is an adaptation of the Oscar Wilde play of the same name.

The play itself is a loose retelling of the biblical story of King Herod and his execution of John the Baptist (here, as in Wilde’s play, called Jokaanan) at the request of his stepdaughter, Salomé, whom he lusts after.

Salomé is often called one of the first art films to be made in the U.S.  The highly stylized costumes, exaggerated acting (even for the period), minimal sets, and absence of all but the most necessary props make for a screen image much more focused on atmosphere and on conveying a sense of the characters’ individual heightened desires than on conventional plot development.

Alla Nazimova in Salomé 1923, directed by Charles Bryant via

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Alla Nazimova in Salomé 1923, directed by Charles Bryant via

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Alla Nazimova, in “Salomé” directed by Charles Bryant, 1923 via

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Alla Nazimova, in “Salomé” directed by Charles Bryant, 1923 via

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Alla Nazimova, in “Salomé” directed by Charles Bryant, 1923 via

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Alla Nazimova, in “Salomé” directed by Charles Bryant, 1923 via

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Alla Nazimova, in “Salomé” directed by Charles Bryant, 1923 via

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Alla Nazimova, in “Salomé” directed by Charles Bryant, 1923 via

Salomé Dances

The First The Great Gatsby Film (1926)

This is a 1 min. trailer of the first filmed version of the novel, no copies of the actual film are known to have survived. The book and film famously narrate the life of self-made millionaire Jay Gatsby who lacks only one thing in life: the love of the beautiful, impulsive Daisy Buchanan. Gatsby’s carefully laid scheme to announce his intentions to take Daisy away from her cloddish husband Tom Buchanan goes horribly awry, setting the stage for the inexorable tragedies that follow. The film was first a stage play on Broadway at the Ambassador Theatre in New York City. Fitzgerald received $45,000 for the rights to his 1925 classic.

The film was entrusted to a contract Paramount director, Herbert Brenon who designed the film as lightweight, popular entertainment, playing up the party scenes at Gatsby’s mansion and emphasizing their scandalous elements. This might have been a big mistake.

Both Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald walked out of the movie when they saw it. Later Zelda wrote in a letter:

“We saw ‘The Great Gatsby’ in the movies. It’s ROTTEN and awful and terrible and we left”.

However, the 1926 Great Gatsby was actually filmed during the historical period it depicts.

Professor Wheeler Winston Dixon, James Ryan Professor of Film Studies at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, made extensive but unsuccessful attempts to find a surviving print. Dixon noted that there were rumors that a copy survived in an unknown archive in Moscow but dismissed these rumors as unfounded

Some stills from the trailer:

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The Great Gatsby, 1926

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The Great Gatsby, 1926

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The Great Gatsby, 1926

The Great Gatsby Movie Trailer from 1926

Louise Brooks as “The Canary” in The Canary Murder Case (1929)

The Canary Murder Case is a 1929 American Pre-Code crime-mystery film made by Paramount Pictures, directed by Malcolm St. Clair and Frank Tuttle. The screenplay was based on novel The Canary Murder Case by S.S. Van Dine. – Louise Brooks plays the role of Margaret Odell (The Canary), a scheming nightclub singer

1929: Louise Brooks in The Canary Murder Case.

Louise Brooks in The Canary Murder Case via

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Louise Brooks in The Canary Murder Case 1929.  Image by George P. Hommell via

Gloria Swanson in the silent film ‘Sadie Thompson’ (1928)

Sadie Thompson is a 1928 American silent drama film that tells the story of a “fallen woman” who comes to Pago Pago on the island of Tutuila to start a new life, but encounters a zealous missionary who wants to force her back to her former life in San Francisco. The film stars Gloria Swanson, Lionel Barrymore, and Raoul Walsh.

1928: American actress Gloria Swanson (1897-1983) in a scene from the silent film ‘Sadie Thompson’, directed by Raoul Walsh and William Cameron Menzies. via

1928: American actress Gloria Swanson (1897-1983) in a scene from the silent film ‘Sadie Thompson’, directed by Raoul Walsh and William Cameron Menzies. via

1928: American actress Gloria Swanson (1897-1983) in a scene from the silent film ‘Sadie Thompson’, directed by Raoul Walsh and William Cameron Menzies. via