Best Drama Movies of 1928
A photographer takes up newsreel shooting to impress a secretary.
Steamboat Bill, Jr.
The just out of college effete son of a no-nonsense steamboat captain comes to visit his father whom he's not seen since he was little.
John, an ambitious but undisciplined New York City office worker, meets and marries Mary. They start a family, struggle to cope with marital stress, financial setbacks, and tragedy, all while lost amid the anonymous, pitiless throngs of the big city.
The Man Who Laughs
Gwynplaine, son of Lord Clancharlie, has a permanent smile carved on his face by the King, in revenge for Gwynplaine's father's treachery. Gwynplaine is adopted by a travelling showman and becomes a popular idol. He falls in love with the blind Dea. The king dies, and his evil jester tries to destroy or corrupt Gwynplaine.
When Letty Mason relocates to West Texas, she finds herself unsettled by the ever-present wind and sand. Arriving at her new home at the ranch of her cousin, Beverly, she receives a surprisingly cold welcome from his wife, Cora. Soon tensions in the family and unwanted attention from a trio of suitors, including neighbor Lige Hightower, leave Letty increasingly disturbed, resulting in tragedy.
The Last Command
A former Imperial Russian general and cousin of the Czar ends up in Hollywood as an extra in a movie directed by a former revolutionary.
The Mysterious Lady
A beautiful Russian spy seduces an Austrian military officer in order to obtain secret plans. When she falls in love with him, both are placed in danger.
Two lonely people in the big city meet and enjoy the thrills of an amusement park, only to lose each other in the crowd after spending a great day together. Will they ever see each other again?
West of Zanzibar
A magician seeks vengeance upon the man who paralyzed him and the illegitimate daughter he sired with the magician's wife.
The Docks of New York
A blue-collar worker on New York's depressed waterfront finds his life changed after he saves a woman attempting suicide.
The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg
A young prince falls in love with a beautiful barmaid while at university in old Heidelberg.
Jealous that her older sister Grace has landed handsome and successful Tony Anderson, Patricia Harrington launches an elaborate charm offensive to win his heart. Patricia shrugs off her diffidence and, in the hope that Tony will be drawn to her new persona, tries to carry herself with the self-confidence of the era's silent film stars. When this doesn't have the desired effect, Patricia takes things a step further.
A young, beautiful prostitute named Sadie Thompson arrives on the South Pacific island of Pago Pago looking for honest work and falls for Timothy O'Hara, an American sailor who is unfazed by her unsavory past. However, Mr. Davidson, a missionary who arrived on the island at the same time, aims to "save" Sadie from her sinful life and petitions to have her separated from her beau and deported back to San Francisco.
Laugh, Clown, Laugh
A despairing clown suffering a broken heart and a self-indulgent count who uncontrollably laughs learn to help each other with their problems, but both fall in love with the same young woman.
Beggars of Life
After killing her treacherous step-father, a girl tries to escape the country with a young vagabond. She dresses as a boy, they hop freight trains, quarrel with a group of hobos, and steal a car in their attempt to escape the police, and reach Canada.
A spirited young woman finds herself destitute and on the streets before joining a traveling carnival, where she meets a vagabond painter.
The Wedding March
A young impoverished aristocrat falls in love with an inn-keeper's daughter, but has to marry money.
The Life and Death of 9413, a Hollywood Extra
This short experimental film tells the story of a man who comes to Hollywood to become a star, only to fail and be dehumanized. He is identified by the number 9413 written on his forehead.
A Woman of Affairs
Childhood friends Diana, Neville and David are caught in a love triangle as adults. Diana and Neville have long been smitten with each other, but her father disapproves of the relationship, resulting in her eventual marriage to David. It's not long after their wedding, however, that tragedy strikes, sending Diana on a downward spiral. When Neville reappears in her life, will he be able to save her from her own misery?
Our Dancing Daughters
A flapper sets her hat for a man with a hard-drinking wife.
In Imperial Russia, Anna Karenina falls in love with the dashing military officer Count Vronsky and abandons her husband and child to become his mistress.
Across to Singapore
While Joel and his older ship's captain brother Mark are at sea, the latter is abandoned in Singapore by devious ship's mate Finch who, upon their return, convinces the townspeople that Joel abandoned his brother. Joel, determined to not only find Mark but to see justice done, returns the ship to Singapore.
Arrogant and wise-cracking Brice Wayne enrolls at the United States Military Academy at West Point and adjusts to life as a plebe. He tries out for the plebe football team, where he excels and shows up the varsity team. However, his ego is unrivaled, especially in competition with upperclassman Bob Sperry. At the same time, Brice meets a local girl named Betty Channing who cheers for him at football practices.
A renegade police captain sets out to catch a sadistic mob boss.
Jazz age youngster Smoke Thatcher "borrows" a neighbor's car to take Patsy, his sweetheart, to a dance after his father refuses to lend him his car. A car-fight with a rival results in the borrowed automobile's being so wrecked that Smoke cannot return it. The garage to which he and Patsy take the car for repair turns out to be actually a gang's hideaway and a place where stolen cars are brought and later fenced.
The circus provides the backdrop for this melodrama that chronicles the lives of four children raised within the big top. Film historian and collector William K. Everson stated that the only surviving print was lost by actress Mary Duncan who had borrowed it from Fox Studios. In the December 1974 issue of "Films in Review," he explained that Mary Duncan, one of the film's stars, wanted it to show to a group of friends in Florida. The star was aware that it was a dangerous nitrate print and assumed that Fox had others. She threw the only copy in the ocean, a mistake characterized by Everson as "a monumental blunder to rank with Balaclava, Sarajevo, and the Fall of Babylon as one of history's blackest moments."
The Divine Woman
[For 9 minute surviving fragment] Lucian, a soldier in Paris, is to ship out for Algiers at 9 that evening. He stops by for a last meal with his love, Marianne. He may be worried that when he leaves she will find another soldier to love. They argue then embrace and, when the clock strikes midnight, he is still in her arms. Is desertion in the cards? Can the relationship survive the military demands and a soldier's obligations? A lost film.
A family saga in which three of a Bavarian widow's sons go to war for Germany and the fourth goes to America, Germany's eventual opponent.
The Farmer's Wife
Successful middle-aged farmer Samuel Sweetland becomes widowed, then his daughter marries and leaves home. Deciding he wishes to remarry, Sweetland pursues some local women he considers prospects.
A working-class love story set in and around the London Underground of the 1920s. Two men - gentle Bill and brash Bert - meet and are attracted to the same woman on the same day at the same Underground station. But the lady chooses Bill, and Bert isn't the type to take rejection lightly...
A Lady of Chance
A con woman working the Atlantic City hotels targets a visiting businessman from Alabama.
A Perfect Gentleman
Monty Banks gets involved in tracking down a stolen fortune, his adventures culminating in a whirlwind, gag-filled climax at sea.
The husband and wife acting team of Mae Feather and Julian Gordon is torn apart when he discovers she is having an affair with the screen comedian Andy Wilks.
The Woman Disputed
An adventuress in love with an Austrian agrees to become the mistress of a Russian officer in exchange for the release of Austrian hostages.
The Biblical story of Noah and the Great Flood, with a parallel story of soldiers in the First World War.
The Far Paradise
This second feature film from the McDonagh sisters is an emotional romance of an innocent young woman, Cherry Carson, forbidden to continue the relationship with the man she loves, Peter Lawton, because he is a son of her father’s enemy.
Larita Filton is named as correspondent in a scandalous divorce case. She escapes to France to rebuild her life where she meets John Whittaker. They are later married, but John's well-to-do family finds out Larita's secret.
White Shadows in the South Seas
An alcoholic doctor on a Polynesian island, disgusted by white exploitation of the natives, finds himself marooned on a pristinely beautiful island.
A Girl in Every Port
Two sailors with a rivalry over chasing women become friends. But when one decides to finally settle down, will this mysterious young woman come between them?
The Telltale Heart
An insane man first loves then grows to hate his neighbor, an old man whose penetrating gaze unnerves the insane man. He plans a perfect crime and executes it one night. The next day, two officers knock on the insane man's door, investigating a shriek heard in the night. The insane man invites them in, answers their questions, and submits to an examination of his eyes by one of the officers, who proclaims him innocent. The insane man invites them to stay and relax awhile, then regales them with his theories of crime. His heart begins to beat louder. Angles on the set are skewed to suggest the man's internal disarray.
Stirring romance, hard riding, desperate fighting with the Cossacks playing their game of war and chivalry. A mighty picturization of Count Leo Tolstoi's famous novel of the same name.
In the final days of Czarist Russia, a peasant is raised from the ranks to Lieutenant. The other officers, aristocrats all, resent him, and make his life difficult. He falls in love with a princess, who spurns him. When he is caught in her room, he is stripped of his rank and thrown into prison. Then comes the Red Terror, and the tables are turned.
The Garden of Eden
Toni Le Brun, a beautiful Viennese singer, becomes the ward of the wardrobe mistress of a Monte Carlo nightclub. Her benefactor, however, is actually a baroness incognito. Toni falls in love with the handsome Richard, but as they prepare to marry, she comes to believe he is only after the wealth accompanying her new noble status. But truth, like true love, will not be kept secret long.
Based on the Helen Hunt Jackson novel of 1884 about a young woman of partial Native American descent, who experiences love and loss in 1800s California.
The Road to Ruin
A controversial, low-budget drama about the life of a young teenage girl that goes on the "road to ruin." Sally is a 16-year-old New York City teen who, neglected by her parents, takes up smoking and drinking, engages in affairs with a series of older men, gets arrested by the police during a strip poker game, is sent home only to discover later that she's pregnant, and after getting an illegal abortion, the words "The Wages of Sin is Death" inexpliably appear over her bed in fire.
Forced by her mean-spirited father, Lord Chief Justice James O'Brien, to marry a man she doesn't love, Connaught O'Brien gives up hope of ever with her true love, Dermot McDermot. After her father dies and a hunted rebel leader returns to town, however, Connaught finds a renewed hope that the tides of oppression will shift and she might again find happiness. This silent romantic drama, set in Ireland, is the first film in which a then-unknown John Wayne is clearly visible.
The Mating Call
Director James Cruze's 1928 silent film, with a plot involving infidelity in the Deep South, Ellis Island immigrants, and a Ku Klux Klan-like secret society.
An odd and tightly directed tale of a singer/dancer at the Moulin Rouge, who meets her daughter's fiance, only to have him fall obsessively in love with her and she with him. Alienation, betrayal and near tragedy result.
Stand and Deliver
Our heroine, Miss Velez (despite the fact that she seems to be just along for the ride) is much her usual over-eloquent self (how fortunate she has no sound track!), while Warner Oland makes such an impressive and villainously seedy bandit, he needs no sound track at all. We can just imagine his oily, purring accents all too well.
Shiraz: A Romance of India
A historical romance set in the Mughal Empire. Selima is a princess-foundling raised by a potter and loved by her brother, Shiraz. She is abducted and sold as a slave to Prince Khurram, later Emperor Shah Jehan, who falls for her, to the chagrin of the wily Dalia. When Selima is caught is Shiraz, the young man is condemned to be trampled to death by an elephant. A pendant reveals Selima's royal status and she saves her brother, marries the prince and becomes Empress Mumtaz Mahal while Dalia is banned for her machinations against Selima. When Selima dies (1629), the emperor builds her a monument to the design of the now old and blind Shiraz, the Taj Mahal.