Battling Butler (1926, Buster Keaton & Eddie Cline)

Based on a hit stage play. Rich, useless Alfred Butler goes on a ludicrously well-outfitted camping trip with his valet and meets a beautiful mountain girl. But he can’t marry her without impressing her father and brother, strong wilderness men. Fortunately Alfred shares a name with an up-and-coming lightweight boxer, so they pretend that he’s “Battling” Butler, and he marries the girl. He’s off to the boxer’s training camp to keep up the charade, and Keaton goes from fake-training to real-training when the other Butler swaps roles with him, leaving Keaton to face the Alabama Murderer for the championship. But the boxer returns, wins the fight then gets plastered by Keaton in the dressing room after being a huge asshole to everyone.

Happy ending:

Battling B with Keaton’s valet:

The Haunted House (1921)

Crooks have a foolproof plan to avoid capture: make their hideaway into a haunted house. But first: Keaton and Big Joe Roberts are bank clerks, and Joe’s men are planning a heist. Keaton foils the holdup through incompetence, having spilled glue on all the money. Mistaken for a criminal, the cops are after him, and an angry audience is after the cast of a nearby stage performance of Faust – all end up at the house, with Big Joe’s thieves donning ghost costumes and pulling levers to turn the stairs into a ramp (which would be frustrating but not exactly scary). Keaton again foils the robbers and gets the girl (I forgot to mention there was a girl). Also Keaton gets konked on the head and goes to heaven then hell. And it’s only a twenty minute movie.

And this happens:

with Virginia Fox of The Love Nest, The Playhouse, Neighbors, etc.

The Frozen North (1922)

Keaton falls asleep during a movie and imagines himself in the sort of town where Chaplin would lose and then get the girl in The Gold Rush. A weird short which makes little sense, with Keaton as the bad guy: opens with him holding up a casino before he shoots a neighbor couple to death as a gag. He loses another girl, shacks up in Big Joe’s igloo, goes snowshoeing and ice fishing (what else can you do in the frozen north?) then gets shot going after that girl again. Apparently a parody of western director William S. Hart’s films – Keaton was feuding with Hart over the Fatty Arbuckle scandal.

Keaton emotes:

And turns into Erich von Stroheim:

Janitor Eddie Cline:

Silent Shorts at Emory

Hugo-inspired Melies shorts, followed by Melies-inspired silent shorts, followed by Sherlock Jr. Everything except A Trip to the Moon had live music by Donald Sosin and Joanna Seaton, and the films were introduced and attended by every Emory film person I’ve ever seen. A great program – Katy loved it too.

A Nightmare (1896)
Melies is trying to sleep, but different people keep appearing in his bed.

The Man With the Rubber Head (1901)
Magician Melies reveals that he’s got his own head in a box, and can inflate and deflate it using a bellows and a valve. Magician Melies is too excited, and Melies Head is super flustered. It goes on like this until M.M. decides to let a passing clown inflate his head, then he is pissed at the clown when it explodes. What did M.M. think would happen??

Extraordinary Illusions (1903)
A straight-up magic show, with things turning into other things. The beauty is he cuts on the action, so to speak, transforming things as they’re thrown into the air.

The Melomaniac (1903)
Conductor Melies lays out sheet music onscreen using eight Melies Heads as notes. Much fun for the musicians.

The Infernal Cauldron (1903)
A devil throws people into a pot, I think there was fire and maybe an explosion – I was mostly staring at the vivid hand-coloring.

A Trip to the Moon (1902)
A group of wizards stands around talking for three minutes – longer than any of the previous films – before they finally decide to take any trips to the moon. What was that all about? After the explorers journey to the moon and make moon men explode by whacking them with umbrellas, they capture one alien (sort of – he grabs onto their capsule) and bring him home triumphantly to an appreciative crowd. In my remake, I would have the moon man suddenly grab an umbrella and whack the mayor, making him explode. Hyper coloring and nonsense music by Air.

The Haunted Curiosity Shop (1901, Walter Booth)
Very Melies-style thing with a sarcophagus and skeleton and throwing someone piecemeal into a pot.

The ‘?’ Motorist (1906, Walter Booth)
Two complete psychos run over a cop, drive up a building, circle the moon, ride on Saturn’s rings, then escape police by turning their car temporarily into a horse. One of the ten best films ever made, according to Ian Christie. I’m inclined to agree.

The Dancing Pig (1907, Pathe Freres)
Someone in a sick pig suit harasses a girl, is forced to strip, then dances for about a hundred minutes. One of the ten best films ever made, according to nobody ever.

Princess Nicotine (1908, J. Stuart Blackton)
Two smoke fairies harass a weirdly antisocial smoker, featuring some matchstick stop-motion.

Fantasmagorie (1908, Emile Cohl)
Holy crap. One minute of trippy stick-figure animation, eating itself.

How a Mosquito Operates (1912, Winsor McCay)
A balding mosquito the size of a man’s head sucks gobs of blood out of the sleeping man after sharpening his proboscis, repeating his actions frequently since McCay discovered the joy of animation reuse. One of the ten best films ever made, according to Mike Leigh.

Sherlock Jr. (1924, Buster Keaton)
Presented on 35mm, as was A Trip to the Moon. What I wrote last time still goes, except this time the music was much better.

Dr. Plonk (2007, Rolf de Heer)

A silent film in the style of 1907 and shot using a hand-crank camera, with lots (oh, lots) of start-stop disappearance effects, not at all like The Artist or the films of Guy Maddin – more of an anarchic keystone homage.

Bald Dr. Plonk has a bearded deaf/dumb assistant Paulus, a “winsome” wife, and a trick-performing dog (appropriately credited with the others in the opening titles).

Tragic calculations! Triple-checked!

Plonk tells the Prime Minister’s advisors (with hilariously fake facial hair) of his discovery, but they don’t believe him – so he invents a time machine (in about five minutes) to travel into our present and find proof of his theory. Meanwhile, Paulus pads the film by taking the dog for walks as a pretense for hitting on married women in the park. Paulus, deaf and not too smart, is put in charge of time machine operation as Plonk mistakenly travels backwards and is set alight by natives.

Paulus is then sent as a test subject and lands a hippie chick, then Plonk continues his experiments, photographing present-day industrial sites, “so this is what the end looks like.” Train gags, era-specific misunderstandings, a slight bit of stop-motion, and an anti-television joke that would make Tashlin proud.

Plonk’s wife keeps an eye on Paulus:

Plonk can’t seem to bring home his evidence that the future is a wasteland, so he brings the game Prime Minister along to 2007, where they find the present-day PM less approachable. It all ends with a madcap chase in a warehouse between plenty of cops and the surprisingly athletic main cast. The former PM gets to sit in a straightjacket entranced by television, while Plonk…

At first glimpse I thought De Heer made this before Ten Canoes, but no, he made it before TWELVE Canoes, the documentary follow-up.

The Artist (2011, Michel Hazanavicius)

Leisurely-paced, straightforward story of silent film star George Valentin and early talkie star Peppy Miller. He’s struck by her early on, helps her career get started, and they stay acquaintances, but he’s more focused on his career. He sinks his savings into a big film, written produced and starring himself, which comes out and flops the day after the stock market crash and the same day as Peppy’s massive hit Beauty Spot. After she becomes famous she stalks him, buying up his pawned and auctioned belongings, and putting him up in her mansion when he’s hospitalized after burning up all his films and nearly himself. Another suicide attempt, with a gun this time (punchline provided by George’s dog) before Peppy manages to find him a worthwhile job as a film dancer.

Good supporting cast. John Goodman is the film producer, James Cromwell is Valentin’s extremely loyal chauffeur/assistant, Penelope Ann Miller (who played Edna Purviance in Chaplin) is Valentin’s wife (then ex-wife), and a weird little appearance by Malcolm McDowell, who must’ve been spotted near the set that day and hastily recruited. Writer/director Hazanavicius and stars Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo made the OSS 117 spy comedies before this.

UPDATE:
It’s been commonly reported that The Artist is the first silent film since the first academy awards in 1928 to win best picture. But it’s also the first novelty film since 1929′s weak (but with sound! and in color!) Broadway Melody to win the award.

Non-Japanuary shorts

Lost Buildings (2004, Chris Ware & Ira Glass)

The story of architectural historian Tim Samuelson and his grade-school fascination with old buildings. Glass of This American Life did the sound and Ware did illustrations in a cool vertical aspect ratio – makes sense, since it’s all about buildings. Tim meets photographer Richard Nickel, and they tour the buildings of their favorite architect together, preserving their memories as they’re torn down. Tragic ending, beautiful story.

Les Horizons Morts (1951, Jacques Demy)

Simple, romantic story. A man alone in his crumbling apartment recalls being dumped by his girl for another man, considers drinking poison but seeing the cross on his wall, decides against it. A student short, I think, with nice camera work.

Glas (1958, Bert Haanstra)

Glassmaking, first by hand then in a bottle factory, edited rhythmically with excellent music added afterwards. At least as wonderful as the other Haanstra shorts I’ve seen. Won the oscar (beating a donald duck short). I should look up his features sometime, since I’m always so impressed by the shorts.

Won in a Closet (1914, Mabel Normand)

Mabel dreams of a neighbor boy, but is pestered by two bumpkins. Somehow her dad and the boy’s mom get trapped in a closet together, Mabel thinks it’s an intruder, and since this is a Keystone production, it ends with twenty people running around and falling over. One nice split-screen shot, but I’d argue with the film preservationists who called Normand a “singular cinematic talent in the making.”

More from the film preservationists:

By the time Won in a Closet was released by Keystone, Normand had already appeared in nearly 150 movies and was a beloved screen presence around the world. As one of the founders of Keystone, the comedienne was well placed to take on new responsibilities and become one of cinema’s earliest female directors. … The story follows the Romeo-and-Juliet romance of Mabel and her beau, played by Charles Avery. As the plot careens into antics and pratfalls, Mabel’s father and Charles’s mother find themselves trapped in a large wooden closet, surrounded by spurned suitors and bumbling neighbors.

A Bashful Bigamist (1921, Allen Watt)

A slight improvement. A woman invents an ideal ex-husband so her new husband will aspire to be better, but she uses a photo of uncle Oswald, who returns from Africa the next day. Much misunderstanding ensues, accompanied by vase-smashing and pistols.

The husband was Billy Bletcher, who would later voice characters in Mickey Mouse cartoons. Cartoons in the intertitles drawn by Norman Z. McLeod, future director of Marx Bros and WC Fields comedies. No music on either of these silent shorts, so I listened to some Ennio Morricone

Area Striata (1985, Jeff Scher)

Dots, lines and patterns. Hyperkinetic geometry. Beautiful indeed but it kinda made me feel ill. Delicate music by a Bach quartet.

Trigger Happy (1997, Jeff Scher)

Negative silhouettes of objects and toys in (of course) rapid motion, set to an extremely happy song by Shay Lynch.

Scher says: “It began as an attempt to make an animated ballet, but as I was shooting the dance turned rowdy, into more of a nocturnal revel. . . . The trigger I was happy about was on the camera, but the title also fits the velocity of the imagery. Much of the animation happens by the rapid replacement of one object with another. It’s the afterimage in your eyes that animates the difference between the shapes, as one is replaced by another, and another”

Caged Birds Cannot Fly (2000, Luis Briceno)

Some very short segments showing different caged birds in would-be humorous situations… either stop-motion, 3D or some combination thereof. I liked the Stereolab song better than the film.

The Crowd (1928, King Vidor)

The story is a heavy-handed melodrama, but the filmmaking is light and fun with a surprisingly mobile camera. It goes down a slide at the fair! Shot by Henry Sharp (Ministry of Fear). Wow, this had a sequel in the sound era called My Daily Bread (the only other Vidor movie I’ve seen, though I don’t remember it).

Johnny is born on the 4th of July, 1900, is given every opportunity by his parents, has a big future ahead of him – but his dad dies when he’s twelve. Camera at the top of the stairs with the doctor, fifty neighbors gathered below, Johnny steps out from the crowd and walks upstairs towards the camera, almost in 3D.

John moves to New York City, gets a job as one of Jack Lemmon’s office-mates in The Apartment, a menial accountant but still studying at night because he’s gonna be someone big.

He meets a girl named Mary at Coney Island – they get hitched immediately

The couple heads out towards Niagara Falls aboard a train. You don’t see many 1920′s movies that address the pre-wedding-night virginal jitters. Apparently I’m the only one who noticed, since all the IMDB trivia items focus instead on a toilet visible in the couple’s apartment.

Honeymoon’s over – John and Mary bicker about every little thing. Her condescending family comes to visit on Christmas eve, so John ducks out and goes dancing at his coworker Bert’s place. During one blow-up fight Mary reveals that she’s pregnant, and her husband gets all emotional and promises to be a better man.

Crabby in-laws:

John gets a slight raise, while Bert gets a major promotion. He wins $500 from a slogan contest (after this and Christmas In July, I figure slogan contests used to be a major source of income for Americans) but their second child is killed by a truck.

John having number problems:

“The crowd laughs with you always, but it will cry with you for only a day.” Depressed and anxious, John quits his job, almost kills himself while taking junior for a walk, but is re-determined to support his family, gets a menial new job. They go to the movies and the camera pulls out, losing John in the laughing crowd.

The movie stars James Murray, whose career took off with this picture until he turned drunk/homeless/suicide after a few years, and Eleanor Boardman, Vidor’s wife and star of Souls for Sale and Borzage’s The Circle. John’s friend/boss Bert is Bert Roach, an original Keystone Cop. This was the movie beaten by Sunrise for the first “artistic” best picture oscar, Vidor beaten by Borzage (for Seventh Heaven) for the first best director.

Intolerance (1916, D.W. Griffith)

While watching The Story of Film, I’ve been marking down the names of movies Mark Cousins discusses which I haven’t seen. And since I love lists, I thought I’d pick one title per Story episode and watch it, more or less chronologically. I call it The Story of Film Festival.

For years I’d been meaning to watch Birth of a Nation, then after reading Rosenbaum’s article about the AFI 100 list, I’ve been meaning to watch Intolerance instead. I’ve enjoyed some of Griffith’s shorts (A Corner in Wheat, The House with Closed Shutters) but never tackled any of his features, which seems a major oversight considering how important they were in film history (or in “the story of film”). While watching Intolerance, I dutifully noted Griffith’s pioneering editing style. I marvelled at the few extreme close-ups and dolly shots, a couple apparent crane shots, and heaping tons of cross-cutting, both between and within the four different time periods. But besides the academic interest, I found the movie boring and heavy-handed. It could’ve used a couple rewrites – the four stories of intolerance told simultaneously don’t work well together, and two of them (Paris and Judea) don’t work at all. Maybe this is because of deleted scenes, but I certainly don’t wish for the movie to be longer. Hopefully I’ll end up enjoying his shorter, more personal stories like Broken Blossoms and True Heart Susie more than this one, but now I’m in no hurry to watch those.

“Out of the cradle endlessly rocking.”

Lillian Gish (star of Broken Blossoms) rocks this cradle meaningfully beneath a sunbeam whenever Griffith lacked a good transition scene between time periods.

In the “present” of the 1910′s, wealthy Mary Jenkins, “unmarried sister of the autocratic industrial overlord” is ignored at a party and so “realizes the bitter fact that she is no longer a part of the younger world.” So she joins a stuffy ladies’ reform club dedicated to the “uplift of humanity” (read: censorship, prohibition, and making things generally boring).

Meanwhile, the father of The Dear One (ugh) works at the Jenkins factory. The mill orders a wage cut (to conserve funds for Mary’s reform group), a strike ensues, lots of cannon fire (reportedly modeled after a bloody strike at a Rockefeller factory). The Boy’s father dies (excuse me, “the Loom of Fate weaves death” for him). The surviving protagonists move to the city, where The Boy and “The Friendless One” get tangled up with gangsters (“musketeers”) and Dear One’s dad dies (sorry, “inability to meet new conditions brings untimely death” to him). Boy and Dear are to be married, but his boss doesn’t like quitters, plants stolen goods on the Boy which “intolerate him away for a term” in prison, because the titles love to use that word even when it doesn’t fit. While he’s in prison, his Dear wife has a baby, which is taken away by the Intolerant reformists and raised by careless nurses.

Friendless Miriam Cooper, actually married to Raoul Walsh:

In ancient Jerusalem, there’s some stuff about hypocrites among the pharisees, funniest part of the movie. Jesus turns water to wine, proving that he is on the side of fun, not like the stuffy ol’ reform club of the present-day scenes. Then this whole segment is forgotten.

A hypocritic pharisee, probably not played by Erich von Stroheim:

In 1570′s France, the catholic king’s mother hates the Hugenots (protestants), and despite some royal wedding that’s supposed to bring peace, she schemes to destroy them. Meanwhile, down in the peasantry, Brown Eyes is dating Prosper Latour (the great Eugene Pallette of The Lady Eve – weird to see him young and silent).

The King with mum Josephine Crowell, who’d play queens in The Man Who Laughs and The Merry Widow:

Protestant leader Admiral Coligny: Joseph Henabery, a prolific director who also played Lincoln in Birth of a Nation

At the Great Gate of Babylon in 539 B.C. (an intertitle brags about the movie’s life-size replica walls), the Rhapsode (Elmer Clifton, prolific director of westerns in the 40′s, also made the marijuana scare flick Assassin of Youth) is a warrior poet, agent of the High Priest of Bel, who falls for a Mountain Girl (Constance Talmadge, with the most modern look in the movie, despite wearing a hat that looks like a spinach salad with olives). Their leader is great and Tolerant, but the high priest is annoyed that some people worship a rival goddess, so he schemes to assist the Persians when they attack Babylon by having the impenetrable gates opened for them.

Mountain Girl joins in the battle:

So all the stories (not counting Judea) are about poor, pretty girls having their lives ruined because of greedy decisions made by rich, powerful people. The movie is incredibly obvious, so I got bored and spent much of the second half imagining the bloody murder of everyone involved. And then that’s pretty much what happened.

But first – two doves pull a chariot carrying a rose:

In the present: “When women cease to attract men they often turn to Reform as a second choice” – cue montage of the ugly women of the reform movement. But the reformists’ actions have simply moved the drinking and partying underground, where it’s more dangerous for being unregulated. The Boy returns home, the Musketeer gets involved in their lives again, then the jealous Friendless One kills him. Boy is blamed and sentenced to hang, but T.F.O. confesses at the last minute, so a car carrying her races to beat the governor’s train and stop the execution in time.

Robert “Boy” Harron (star of Griffith’s True Heart Susie, who killed himself in 1920) with Dear Mae Marsh (appeared in small roles in John Ford movies through the mid-60′s):

Babylon is attacked by Persian “Cyrus, world-conqueror” with his sword “forged in the flames of intolerance,” assisted by the jealous high priest. Hilarious moment in the fight when a warrior knocks another’s head clean off – then it happens again, in case you missed it.

In France: The Massacre of St. Bartholemew: a morning army assault on the unsuspecting protestants.

Unsuspecting Prosper (Eugene Pallette!) and Brown Eyes (Margery Wilson, later author of The Pocket Book of Etiquette and The Complete Book of Charm):

After hours and hours of long setup, the movie picks up the pace, cross-cutting between two battles and the final hours before the Boy’s hanging.

Brown Eyes is speared to death while Prosper runs through the city to reach her, then when he curses out the soldiers for killing his beloved, they blow him away with rifles.

Brown Eyes meets spear head:

Every character we’ve met in Babylon is killed, the Mountain Girl shot full of arrows.

But the Boy is spared and reunited with his Dear One, though their missing baby is never mentioned. IMDB says all sorts of alternate versions and deleted scenes exist, one of which shows the baby coming home with them. The site also says that after filming, Babylon was declared a fire hazard, and that Jesus Christ was deported for having sex with 14-year-olds. I need to watch Buster Keaton’s parody (only an hour long) The Three Ages again sometime.

Crazy ending:

People supposedly involved in this movie who appeared in minor roles whom I failed to spot: Tod Browning, Frank Borzage, Douglas Fairbanks and W.S. Van Dyke. Behind the scenes: Erich von Stroheim, Victor Fleming, Billy Bitzer, Jack Conway, Allan Dwan, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes co-author Anita Loos and Howard Hawks head writer Charles Lederer.

The Phantom Carriage (1921, Victor Sjöström)

Just before midnight of the new year, a salvation army sister named Edith, “stricken with galloping consumption,” sends for David Holm. Meanwhile across town, Holm (played by the director) gets in a fight with his fellow drunks and is killed. Many flashbacks ensue, including one inside another – the second movie I watched this month where that happens.

Firstly, the last person of the year to die must serve Death driving the phantom carriage for the next year – and time moves slowly after death so one night driving the carriage can seem like a year. So said Holm’s drinking buddy George just over a year ago (the movie points out that George knows such things because he went to college), and now George drives the carriage, passing the reins to Holm.

L-R: David Holm, David Holm, George:

Also a year ago, Edith opened her salvation army branch. Holm was her first guest, and she prayed he’d have a good year, asked him to return next new year’s eve. She stayed up all night patching his disease-ridden coat, catching the tuberculosis that would kill her. He stands up the next morning and tears out all the patches in front of her. So it’s the story of the most selfless angelic woman and the worst, drunkest, cruelest motherfucker (Holm also chases his wife with an axe Shining-style – commentary says probably inspired by a domestic violence scene in Broken Blossoms). Edith’s life (and death) and the phantom carriage both exist primarily to reform Holm, get him to drop the bottle and come back to his family – sort of a grimier It’s a Wonderful Life, a prohibition morality tale.

The whooshy ambient music seemed nice at first, but was perhaps too ambient. From the commentary: “Few, if any, previous films had been enveloped in the darkness of the night the way this film is” – and – “Sjostrom tends to avoid compositions that look too balanced, often shooting into the corners of rooms rather than straight at a back wall.” I appreciated this, as well as the great editing and unusual storytelling, making the movie seem decades more modern than the 1910′s tableau style. Also good acting and fun superimposition effects, overall a hundred times better than the contemporary Murnau film I watched this week. Also came out the same year as Lang’s similarly effect-heavy death-poem Destiny, the year before Haxan, and thirty-six before The Seventh Seal. Remade by Julien Duvivier after twenty years, and again back in Sweden after another twenty.

Holm’s wife vs. Sister Edith:

P. Mayersberg:

The film is surprisingly disconnected from Swedish Lutheranism. It is closer to Bergman’s demonic Hour of the Wolf than to the religious crisis of Winter Light. David’s sudden conversion at the end is not altogether convincing. He is given a last chance by coming back from the dead to save his wife from poisoning herself and their children out of hopeless desperation. But it isn’t God the Father who intervenes. It is his dead predecessor, coachman Georges, who is touched by David’s loving wife and the devoted Edit, who have fought so hard and long to save the man.

Buy from Amazon:
The Phantom Carriage (Criterion Blu-ray)

He Who Gets Slapped (1924, Victor Sjöström)

Opening-day SHOCKtober screening this season is one I’ve been meaning to watch for years for being Shadowplay’s favorite film. Not my favorite, but I appreciated the enjoyably absurd premise, Chaney’s performance (which involves getting slapped), the brilliant optical transitions (a spinning ball -> globe -> circus ring), and of course, murder by lion.

Lon with his wife and benefactor, just before tragedy struck:

Lon Chaney (same year he did Phantom of the Opera and The Unholy Three) is a brilliant scientist married to sweet Ruth King (in possibly her only surviving film) and sponsored by a wealthy baron (Marc McDermott). Life is good, until McDermott steals Chaney’s ideas and his wife. Chaney is humiliated in front of his peers at a big presentation, slapped by the baron, slapped by his wife, and told to fuck off. Treated like a clown, he joins the circus, becomes an actual clown and creates a hugely successful routine wherein he reenacts his humiliation, getting slapped again and again as he tries to be taken seriously, the other clowns and the crowd roaring laughter at him.

A few years later, attractive young Norma Shearer (The Divorcee) joins the circus, drawing the attention of attractive young John Gilbert (The Merry Widow, The Big Parade) as well as Lon (now, hilariously, only known as “HE”). But slimy old Baron McDermott visits the circus and sees his chance to dump Lon’s wife for a younger girl. He makes a deal with her father to marry Norma, causing HE to take his belated revenge via lion.

Attractive young couple, somewhat overdoing it:

Cairns:

The biggest contortion of credibility is when Chaney confesses his love to Norma Shearer and she thinks he’s joking which, given his performance and the lines we get via intertitle, is impossible to accept as believable in any literal way. Nobody could be that dumb. A modern actor might say the scene is unplayable. But it works, because we get what it’s about (this film is deep but it ain’t exactly subtle, so Chaney even TELLS us what it’s about: “I say serious things and people laugh!”).

The first film MGM released, and the first American picture by Sjöström, lured to Hollywood after the international success of The Phantom Carriage. IMDB suggests a pile of related films – a 1917 Russian version, later Chinese and Argentinian versions, and three 1925 shorts with parody titles.

Transformation:

Buy from Amazon:
He Who Gets Slapped DVD