A THROW OF THE DICE (Franz Osten, 1929)

staged with such smooth, “epic” sweep, Prapancha Pash may appear to be much better than the melodramatic claptap that it is. This silent film, which was shot in Rajasthan, is based on the Sanskrit poem The Mahabharata. At a time when cinema was an adventurous art form, German filmmaker Franz Osten’s “masterpiece” is plot-driven—or is […]

THE STRAWBERRY BLONDE (Raoul Walsh, 1941)

James Hagan’s 1930 play One Sunday Afternoon, which had been filmed with Gary Cooper in the lead in 1933, became a rollicking entertainment in its second screen incarnation, adapted by Julius J. and Philip G. Epstein, directed by Raoul Walsh and retitled The Strawberry Blonde, with James Cagney now playing “Biff” Grimes. (Following Hagan’s death, […]