THE EAGLE and SALOME
(Megastars of the Silent Screen) total run time 2:25**.
THE EAGLE (1925)
Directed by Clarence Brown and starring Rudolph Valentino and Vilma Banky, this adventure tale of Old Mother Russia shows Valentino both masked (think: Zorro, etc.) and unmasked (while being flirted with by the notorious czarina). Played with great flair and steely determination by Louise Dresser, Catherine was Great. Throw in samovars, dancing bears, and onion domes, and you have a charming and thrilling romance. To say “they don't make 'em like that anymore” is an understatement. Fresh print, restored with balalaikas!
Salome, a silent directed by Charles Bryat and starring Alla Nazimova, is a film adaptation of the Oscar Wilde play, including the Dance of the Seven Veils. 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 Herod's 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, 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's Salome, as Queen Elizabeth once said, "must be seen to be believed.”
Audiences are treated before the movie to an introduction by artistic director, Michael Viktor Butler. These entertaining intros include insider information about the off-screen lives of the stars, writers, and directors of these films, and enhance viewer enjoyment by placing them in a historic and genre-based context. A Q&A period afterwards provides an opportunity to discuss and comment on the films.