Best Movies of 1922
Nanook of the North
This pioneering documentary film depicts the lives of the indigenous Inuit people of Canada's northern Quebec region. Although the production contains some fictional elements, it vividly shows how its resourceful subjects survive in such a harsh climate, revealing how they construct their igloo homes and find food by hunting and fishing. The film also captures the beautiful, if unforgiving, frozen landscape of the Great White North, far removed from conventional civilization.
Buster Keaton gets involved in a series of misunderstandings involving a horse and cart. Eventually he infuriates every cop in the city when he accidentally interrupts a police parade.
A bricklayer and his wife clash over his end-of-the-week partying.
“Count” Karamzin, a Don Juan, lives off the money he scams from rich ladies who are attracted by his charms and his title. Having set up shop in Monte Carlo, he and his partners in crime pick their next target: the wife of an American diplomat.
The Electric House
Botany major Buster mistakenly graduates in electrical engineering and is hired to wire a new home.
Country doctor Jack Jackson is called in to treat the Sick-Little-Well-Girl, who has been making Dr. Saulsbourg and his sanitarium very rich after years of unsuccessful treatment.
Buster clowns around in a blacksmith's shop until he and the smithy get in a fight which sends the smithy to jail. Buster helps several customers with horses, then destroys a Rolls Royce while fixing the car parked next to it.
A meek young man must find the courage within when a rogue tramp menaces his home town.
In order to impress the father of a girl he is keen on, Buster goes to the city in search of work. In his letters home he writes of his various jobs which her imagination expands into much nobler ones than those that he is actually attempting.
Amid big-budget medieval pageantry, King Richard goes on the Crusades leaving his brother Prince John as regent, who promptly emerges as a cruel, grasping, treacherous tyrant. Apprised of England's peril by message from his lady-love Marian, the dashing Earl of Huntingdon endangers his life and honor by returning to oppose John, but finds himself and his friends outlawed, with Marian apparently dead. Enter Robin Hood, acrobatic champion of the oppressed, laboring to set things right through swashbuckling feats and cliffhanging perils!
Beyond the Rocks
A young woman marries an older millionaire and then falls in love with a handsome nobleman on her honeymoon.
A butterfly collector unwittingly wanders into an Indian encampment while chasing a butterfly, but the tribe has resolved to kill the first white man who enters their encampment because white oil tycoons are trying to force them from their land.
A charming pastoral about two unwanted children finding acceptance and love, Timothys Quest (1922) is a rare, cinematic gem based on a novel by Kate Douglas Wiggin (Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm), who was then known as Americas best loved author of stories about children.
My Wife's Relations
Buster is falsely accused of breaking a window by a woman and is taken into a courtroom. Thinking that Buster and the woman are engaged, the judge mistakenly marries them and Buster is quickly taken home by the woman to meet her family. At first unwelcoming, the family begins to treat Buster nice when they come to believe that he is going to inherit a large sum of money.
The Frozen North
This satirical parody of William S. Hart's melodramatic films finds Buster in the frozen north, "last stop on the subway." He uses a wanted poster as his partner in robbing a gambling house. When he thinks he spies his wife making love to another man he shoots them both only to learn it isn't his cabin after all.
Blood and Sand
Juan is the son of a poor widow in Seville. Against his mother's wishes he pursues a career as toreador. He rapidly gains national prominence, and takes his childhood sweetheart Carmen as his bride. He meets the Marquis' daughter Doña Sol and finds himself in the awkward position of being in love with two women, which threatens the stability of his family and his position in society. He finds interesting parallels in the life of the infamous bandit Plumitas when they eventually meet by chance.
Felix Comes Back
Felix goes after a butcher's sausages and captures them, but the butcher catches him and sends him to the Arctic to get rid of him.
Drama about the unhappily married Alexandra who hopes to recover from tuberculosis in a mountain resort, but instead meets the multimillionaire Edgar Buchanan.
This 1922 Frank Borzage film is a masterwork waiting to be rediscovered. Hester Bevins is a simple country girl who yearns for adventure. Though she has a handsome young man, Jerry, who is devoted to her, she leaves her village and goes to New York in search of a grander life. There she becomes the lover of a wealthy and unscrupulous businessman. But when Jerry returns blinded and dying from the war, Hester must choose between her new life and the man whose loyalty to her has never failed.
An unethical merchant moves into town and steals customers from the widowed owner of an established store; the gang steps in to help.
Peg o' My Heart
PEG O MY HEART (Metro Studios, 1922), directed by King Vidor, under the supervision of J. Hartley Manners, introduces the legendary theatrical actress Laurette Taylor (1884-1946) to the screen reprising the role she made famous as a poor Irish farm girl who inherits a fortune but would rather have happiness instead. While a bit too old for the character supposedly in her late teens or early twenties, Laurette was tailor made for it.
A film adaptation of the classic Alexandre Dumas novel. Edmond Dantes is falsely accused by those jealous of his good fortune, and is sentenced to spend the rest of his life in the notorious island prison, Chateau d'If. While imprisoned, he meets the Abbe Faria, a fellow prisoner whom everyone believes to be mad. The Abbe tells Edmond of a fantastic treasure hidden away on a tiny island, that only he knows the location of...
The Ropin' Fool
"Ropes" Reilly shows off his impressive roping skills, then runs afoul of the local townsfolk.
The Rascals, feeling unloved at home, decide to become pirates. Meanwhile, a mother, an aunt and a valet join the cops in searching for the runaways.
The Three Must-Get-Theres
In this movie, Max Linder parodies the famous novel "The Three Musketeers".
The Primitive Lover
A free-spirited girl is caught between her love for her husband and her attraction to a handsome adventurer.
Max helps the Inkwell Clown prepare for a family reunion.
Tess of the Storm Country
Wealthy Elias Graves builds his home on the top of a hill, where a group of squatters have taken up residence at the bottom. Many of the men in the squatters' village have their eyes on young Tess, and one of them, Ben Letts, frames Tess's father for murder. While maintaining her father's innocence, Tess must keep her love for Graves' son a secret, while caring for Elias' daughter's illegitamate child.
The Seventh Day
A group of New York society folk on a yachting excursion are forced to put into a New England fishing village for repairs. The engaged couple Reggie and Patricia are taken with the quaint town and its quainter ways, but also with two locals, Betty Alden and her brother John. Patricia begins to fall for John while her fiancé takes a seemingly unworthy liking to Betty. The new infatuations lead to disharmony.
The Mystic J.J.J.'s challenge Ernie's bravery; he spins a tale of saving a rich young girl from kidnappers and of creating a utopia called Freetown.
The Prisoner of Zenda
A kingdom's ascending heir, marked for assassination, switches identities with a lookalike, who takes his place at the coronation. When the real king is kidnapped, his followers try to find him, while the stand-in falls in love with the king's intended bride, the beautiful Princess Flavia.
In 17th-century England, an outlaw clan kidnaps a young girl, who grows up among them. The farm boy who met her just before the kidnapping eventually rescues her, and they fall in love.
Oliver's mother, a penniless outcast, died giving birth to him. As a young boy Oliver is brought up in a workhouse, later apprenticed to an uncaring undertaker, and eventually is taken in by a gang of thieves who befriend him for their own purposes. All the while, there are secrets from Oliver's family history waiting to come to light. Written by Snow Leopard
Moran of the Lady Letty
Wealthy young man Ramon Laredo is abducted and put into service aboard a ship commanded by a none-too-scrupulous smuggler. When the ship encounters the foundering "Lady Letty," some of the Letty's crew is brought aboard, including Letty 'Moran' Sternerson, feisty daughter of the Letty's captain. Moran and Ramon have little use for each other, but when trouble erupts and the smuggler Captain Kitchell turns his evil eye on Moran, it is Ramon who comes to her rescue.
Three Live Ghosts
Adapted from a popular Broadway play and concerns three veterans who return to London from the War only to discover that they have been officially listed as dead.
The Young Rajah
A young man raised in the American South discovers he is an Indian prince whose throne was taken by usurpers.
A harried propman backstage at a theater must put up with malfunctioning wind machines, roosters that spit nitroglycerine, and a gang planning to rob the theater's payroll.
Tommy Tucker's Tooth
The ten minute short Tommy Tucker’s Tooth from 1922, is a traditional black and white silent movie, with cards narrating the text and dialogue. It is an educational film, that combined live action and animation. I was surprised how little animation there was. But the scenes that blend live action and animation, though simple in our current day, were likely an interesting challenge for Iwerks.
Stan is Jimmy Smith, a salesman who is trying hard to pitch his Napoleon book to an uninterested customer as they stand in front of some iron gates. When an elderly gentleman approaches the two men he uses sign language to communicate to the 'customer' and they leave together. This is when Stan sees the sign for the Deaf & Dumb Institute that his subject was standing in front of. An elderly lady then walks out of the gates and Stan uses sign language in an attempt to talk to her. Of course, she is not deaf or dumb and gives him some verbal abuse for assuming so.
Under Two Flags
On the run from punishment for a crime committed by his brother, Bertie Cecil (alias Lewis Victor) joins the French Foreign Legion. In Algeria, he becomes the hated rival of his commander, Chateauroy, who despises Victor's breeding and also competes for the same woman. Victor is beloved of Cigarette, an Algerian camp follower, who saves his life, though he loves another.
In the Battle of Ma?ogoszcz Prince Jozef Odrowaz was seriously wounded . Miss Salomea Brynicka and his father risked their own lives giving him food and shelter.
Prudence Cole is an unsophisticated Quaker girl being raised by her two aunts. Prudence is flirted with by snobbish Henry Garrison, who actually disdains the girl for her lack of worldliness and savoir faire. When Henry and his friends try to embarrass her at a posh resort, Prudence turns the tables on them.
Flesh and Blood
A convict hiding in Chinatown assumes the identity of a cripple to track down a businessman who framed him 15 years previously. He discovers that his daughter has fallen in love with the businessman's son.
Kindred of the Dust
Discovering that her husband is a bigamist, Nan returns with her child to her Puget Sound logging town. She is treated as an outcast by all save Donald, her childhood sweetheart, the son of a millionaire....
Yen Sin, a humble Chinese, is washed ashore after a storm and finds himself an outsider in the deeply Christian fishing community of Urkey. Yen Sin elects to stay, despite his status as a despised 'heathen', only to reveal hypocrisy amid the self-righteous township.
The Black Death is ravaging Spain. As Camille Saint-Saëns's "Danse Macabre" plays on the soundtrack, a mix of animation and acted scenes tells the story of Youth and Love meeting one night. They dance, embrace, and kiss. As the night wears on, exuberant Death, a skeletal figure with a violin, pursues the couple. They try to elude him. Eventually, Love swoons. Youth is powerless to protect her. Is she doomed?
The gang forms a fire department; they end up thwarting a bootlegger, but not before their pet animals get drunk on his moonshine.
Down to the Sea in Ships
Story of the lives of the people in a small Quaker community and the adventures of a whaling ship.
The Pride of Palomar
A soldier inaccurately reported as dead returns home to his Spanish family’s estate in California, only to find his father deceased and his ancestral land in the hands of strangers.
Felix Turns the Tide
Felix the Cat becomes a soldier when the rats declare war on the cats.