J’ACCUSE (Abel Gance, 1919)

Unlike his own 1938 “remake,” Abel Gance’s silent J’accuse! is a great film, perhaps a masterpiece. Made during the Great War and incorporating actual combat footage into its romantic melodrama about two soldiers, both from the same village, both of whom love the same woman to whom one of them is married, J’accuse has a […]

THE PILGRIM (Charles Chaplin, 1923)

Religious lunacy and hypocrisy in the American landscape: these are Charles Chaplin’s targets in his sharp, satirical, refreshing The Pilgrim.      Charlie’s introduction to us is his image on a wanted poster; Charlie has escaped from prison. His striped prison clothes are discovered by a bush. Hilarious cut: Next we see—or, I should say, first we […]