Orson Welles Narrates Plato’s Cave Allegory, Kafka’s Parable, and Freedom River

Orson Welles. A bril­liant direc­tor. A tal­ent­ed actor. And not a bad nar­ra­tor of ani­mat­ed films. We know one thing. The whole is often greater than the sum of the parts. So, today, we’re serv­ing up three ani­mat­ed films nar­rat­ed by Welles, plus some clas­sic radio broad­casts.

We start with an ani­mat­ed ver­sion of Plato’s Cave Alle­go­ry from 1973. The alle­go­ry is the most well known part of The Repub­lic (Down­load – Kin­dle), and Welles reads the famous lines deliv­ered by Socrates. Per­fect cast­ing. This is hard­ly the first ani­ma­tion of the cave alle­go­ry. Par­tial­ly Exam­ined Life has a roundup of 20 ani­ma­tions, but we’re always par­tial to this bril­liant ver­sion done with clay­ma­tion.

In 1962, Orson Welles direct­ed The Tri­al, a film based on Franz Kafka’s last and arguably best-known nov­el. The film begins aus­pi­cious­ly with Welles nar­rat­ing an ani­mat­ed ver­sion of “Before the Law,” a para­ble from The Tri­al. And then the dra­mat­ic film unfolds. Lat­er in his life, Welles told the BBC, “Say what you will, but The Tri­al is the best film I have ever made. I have nev­er been so hap­py as when I made that film.”

The back­sto­ry behind this short ani­mat­ed film, Free­dom Riv­er, deserves a lit­tle men­tion. Accord­ing to Joseph Cavel­la, a writer for the film:

For sev­er­al years, Bosus­tow Pro­duc­tions had asked Orson Welles, then liv­ing in Paris, to nar­rate one of their films. He nev­er respond­ed. When I fin­ished the Free­dom Riv­er script, we sent it to him togeth­er with a portable reel to reel tape recorder and a siz­able check and crossed our fin­gers. He was either des­per­ate for mon­ey or (I would rather believe) some­thing in it touched him because two weeks lat­er we got the reel back with the nar­ra­tion word for word and we were on our way.

Filmed 40 years ago, Free­dom Riv­er offers some strong com­men­tary on Amer­i­ca, some of which will still res­onate today.

Final­ly, if you can’t get enough of Orson­’s voice, don’t miss The Mer­cury The­atre on the Air, Welles’ radio pro­gram that brought the­atri­cal pro­duc­tions to the Amer­i­can air­waves from 1938 to 1941. You can still find the broad­casts online, includ­ing the leg­endary War of the Worlds pro­gram from 1938 (lis­ten), and dra­ma­tized ver­sions of Dick­ens’ A Christ­mas Car­ol (lis­ten) and Around the World in 80 Days (click the first item in playlist).

The short films men­tioned above appear in our col­lec­tion of Free Movies Online, where you will also find some longer films by Welles.

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David Lynch in Four Movements: A Video Tribute

Last year, Richard Vez­i­na cre­at­ed a pop­u­lar video trib­ute to Stan­ley Kubrick (A Stan­ley Kubrick Odyssey). Now he returns with David Lynch in Four Move­ments. Accom­pa­nied by musi­cal pieces from Ange­lo Badala­men­ti & David Lynch, each move­ment revolves around a dis­tinc­tive theme or visu­al trend in Lynch’s works. Here’s how the 20 minute video unfolds:

  • First Move­ment: Melan­choly and Sad­ness — Ques­tions In A World Of Blue
  • Sec­ond Move­ment: Action, Vio­lence, and Sex — The Pink Room
  • Third Move­ment: Dreams and Night­mares — Into The Night
  • Fourth Move­ment: Love and Hope — Mys­ter­ies of Love

Relat­ed Con­tent:

David Lynch’s Organ­ic Cof­fee (Bar­bie Head Not Includ­ed)

David Lynch on his Favorite Movies and Film­mak­ers

David Lynch Debuts Lady Blue Shang­hai

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Bono, Glen Hansard & Friends Busk For Charity on Grafton Street

Shop­pers on Grafton Street in Dublin were treat­ed to a rare street per­for­mance on Christ­mas Eve by some of Ire­land’s most illus­tri­ous pop musi­cians. U2 front­man Bono, oscar-win­ning singer/songwriter Glen Hansard, Liam O’ Maon­lai of Hot­house Flow­ers, Mundy, and Declan O’Rourke gath­ered on the famous shop­ping street to spread hol­i­day cheer and raise mon­ey for the home­less.

It was the third straight year of Christ­mas Eve busk­ing for Bono and Hansard. A large group of fans showed up in antic­i­pa­tion, hav­ing been tipped off the day before by Hansard. “Busk­ing with some friends tomor­row on Grafton St.,” he wrote on Twit­ter. “Come and throw a coin in the box for Simon Com­mu­ni­ty and the Peter McVer­ry trust.” The crowd grew so big that the police moved the per­for­mance to the gate of St. Stephen’s Green, at the end of the street.

The group per­formed a rous­ing, sing-along ver­sion of the Mic Christo­pher song “Hey­day” (above), and some hol­i­day favorites, includ­ing the 1960s hit “Christ­mas (Baby Please Come Home),” which can be seen on YouTube here and here.

The Short Films That Saved Pixar

When Steve Jobs became the major­i­ty investor in Pixar in Jan­u­ary 1986, the com­pa­ny looked noth­ing like it does today. Back then, Pixar was main­ly a tech­nol­o­gy play. It sold expen­sive Image Com­put­ers to gov­ern­ment agen­cies and med­ical insti­tu­tions along with ren­der­ing soft­ware. That strat­e­gy did­n’t pay off par­tic­u­lar­ly well. The com­pa­ny hem­or­rhaged cash; lay­offs ensued; and things were gen­er­al­ly look­ing bleak for the young com­pa­ny.

Pixar’s for­tunes changed, how­ev­er, when it tapped into the tal­ents of a young ani­ma­tor named John Las­seter. Dur­ing Pixar’s ear­ly days, Steve Jobs and co-founder Ed Cat­mull asked Las­seter to devel­op a short ani­mat­ed film to help show off the capa­bil­i­ties of Pixar’s hard­ware and soft­ware. He came up with Luxo Jr. (above), which turned two lov­able lamps into movie stars. The short film won first prize at SIGGRAPH, the annu­al com­put­er graph­ics con­fer­ence held in 1986. Lat­er Luxo Jr. was nom­i­nat­ed for an Acad­e­my Award.

In 1988, Pixar was still hang­ing on by a thread. But Jobs con­tin­ued to nur­ture Las­seter’s work and direct­ed pre­cious resources towards anoth­er short film. When giv­ing Las­seter funds ($300,000), Jobs said to the ani­ma­tor, “All I ask of you, John, is to make it great.” And that he did. The result, Tin Toy (above), won the ’88 Acad­e­my Award for ani­mat­ed short film, the first com­put­er-gen­er­at­ed film to win the award.

Tin Toy caught Dis­ney’s atten­tion, and they began to pur­sue Las­seter. But Las­seter stayed loy­al to Pixar, and before too long, Pixar and Dis­ney decid­ed to part­ner on the pro­duc­tion of Toy Sto­ry, which net­ted a prof­it of $330 mil­lion. Pixar dumped its hardware/software busi­ness and focused on mak­ing ani­mat­ed films from then on, before Dis­ney even­tu­al­ly pur­chased Pixar for $7.4 bil­lion in 2006.

If you’re look­ing for a lit­tle more ani­ma­tion, don’t miss The Adven­tures of André and Wal­ly B., the 1984 short film made by Las­seter at the Graph­ics Group, the unit with­in Lucas­Film that was even­tu­al­ly spun into Pixar. Also here we have the First 3D Dig­i­tal Film, which hap­pened to be cre­at­ed by Ed Cat­mull (1970). He co-found­ed Pixar and is now pres­i­dent of Walt Dis­ney Ani­ma­tion Stu­dios and Pixar Ani­ma­tion Stu­dios.

You can find all films list­ed above in our col­lec­tion of Free Movies Online.

Source for this post: Wal­ter Isaac­son’s biog­ra­phy of Steve Jobs. Find out how to snag a free audio copy here.

More Relat­ed Pixar Con­tent:

A Rare Look Inside Pixar Stu­dios

The Beau­ty of Pixar: 500 Scenes from 17 Films

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Wanna Achieve Linguistic Immortality? Not So Fast Cautions Animated NPR Video

Have you ever dreamed of becom­ing a word? NPR’s Adam Cole has, and he’s writ­ten a song about the immor­tal­i­ty that comes from hav­ing your name turned into a noun. But as his col­league Robert Krul­wich points out, many of the peo­ple whose names are now in dic­tio­nar­ies would be hor­ri­fied. Joseph Guil­lo­tine, for exam­ple, hat­ed the death penal­ty. And James Thomas Bru­denell, sev­enth earl of Cardi­gan, must be turn­ing over in his grave: “Here’s a brave cav­al­ry offi­cer, who led the Charge of the Light Brigade dur­ing the Crimean War, watched his men cut down, butchered by the ene­my, a man of action, a sol­dier, and what do we remem­ber him for,” writes Krul­wich on his blog? “Yup, by some trick of fate, he is now a sweater with but­tons down the front. I mean, real­ly…”

60+ Free Charlie Chaplin Films Online

A few things to know about Char­lie Chap­lin. He starred in over 80 films, reel­ing off most dur­ing the silent film era. In 1914 alone, he act­ed in 40 films, then anoth­er 15 in 1915. By the 1920s, Chap­lin had emerged as the first larg­er-than-life movie star and direc­tor, if not the most rec­og­niz­able per­son in the world.

The film icon died on Christ­mas Day in 1977, and we’re com­mem­o­rat­ing this just-passed anniver­sary by high­light­ing 65 Chap­lin films avail­able on the web. Above, you will find a Chap­lin mini-film fes­ti­val that brings togeth­er four movies shot in 1917: The Adven­tur­er, The Cure, Easy Street and The Immi­grant. And then below you’ll find 60+ oth­er films arranged in a neat list. Many can be oth­er­wise found in our col­lec­tion of 700 Free Movies Col­lec­tion.

  • A Bur­lesque On Car­men — Free — Orig­i­nal two-reel par­o­dy of Bizet’s Car­men by Char­lie Chap­lin. Also stars Leo White & Edna Pur­viance. (1915)
  • A Busy DayFree — Chap­lin plays a wife jeal­ous of her hus­band’s inter­est in anoth­er woman, played by Phyl­lis Allen. On her way to attack the cou­ple, the wife inter­rupts the set of a film, knock­ing over a film direc­tor, played by Mack Sen­nett, and a police­man, played by Bil­ly Gilbert. (1914)
  • A Day’s Plea­sureFree — “Chap­lin’s fourth film for First Nation­al Films. It was cre­at­ed at the Chap­lin Stu­dio. It was a quick­ly made two-reel­er to help fill a gap while work­ing on his first fea­ture The Kid. It is about a day out­ing with his wife and the kids and things don’t go smooth­ly.” (1919)
  • A Dog’s Life — Free – This endear­ing short Chap­lin film tells the sto­ry of under­dogs, human and canine, suc­ceed­ing despite the odds. (1918)
  • A Fair ExchangeFree — Orig­i­nal­ly released as Get­ting Acquaint­ed, the film’s plot has been sum­ma­rized as fol­lows: “Char­lie and his wife are walk­ing in the park when they encounter Ambrose and his wife. The part­ners become fond of their coun­ter­parts and begin chas­ing each oth­er around. A police­man look­ing for a pro­fes­sion­al Don Juan becomes involved, as does a Turk.” (1914)
  • A Film John­nie - Free — Char­lie goes to the movie and falls in love with a girl on the screen. (1914)
  • A Night in the ShowFree — Chap­lin played two roles: one as Mr. Pest and one as Mr. Row­dy. The film was cre­at­ed from Chap­lin’s stage work from a play called Mum­ming Birds. (1915)
  • A Night OutFree — “After a vis­it to a pub, Char­lie and Ben cause a ruckus at a posh restau­rant. Char­lie lat­er finds him­self in a com­pro­mis­ing posi­tion at a hotel with the head wait­er’s wife.” (1915)
  • A WomanFree — This Chap­lin film starts with Char­lie meet­ing Edna (Edna Pur­viance) and her par­ents in a park; the moth­er is played by Mar­ta Gold­en and the father by Charles Ins­ley. (1915)
  • Behind the Screen – Free – A short film writ­ten and direct­ed by Chap­lin, the film is long on slap­stick, but it also gets into themes deal­ing with gen­der bend­ing and homo­sex­u­al­i­ty. (1916)
  • Between Show­ers - Free — A short Key­stone film from 1914 star­ring Char­lie Chap­lin, Ford Ster­ling, and Emma Bell Clifton.
  • By the SeaFree — “It is windy at a bathing resort. After fight­ing with one of the two hus­bands, Char­lie approach­es Edna while the two hus­bands them­selves fight over ice cream. Dri­ven away by her hus­band, Char­lie turns to the oth­er’s wife.” (1915)
  • Caught in a CabaretFree —  Char­lie is a clum­sy wait­er in a cheap cabaret, suf­fer­ing the strict orders from his boss. He’ll meet a pret­ty girl in the park, pre­tend­ing to be a fan­cy ambas­sador, despite the jeal­ousy of her fiancée. (1914)
  • Char­lie Shang­haied — Free — Char­lie Chap­lin and his Tramp char­ac­ter gets shang­haied by crooks. (1915)
  • Char­lie’s Recre­ationFree — Out of cos­tume, Char­lie is a clean-shaven dandy who, some­what drunk, vis­its a dance hall. There the wardrobe girl has three rival admir­ers: the band leader, one of the musi­cians, and now Char­lie. (1914)Charlotte et Le Man­nequin
  • Char­lotte et Le Man­nequinFree — Also known as Mabel’s Mar­ried Life, the film’s plot is sum­ma­rized as fol­lows: “Accost­ed by a mash­er in the park and unable to moti­vate hus­band Char­lie into tak­ing action, Mabel gets him a box­ing man­nequin to sharp­en his fight­ing skills.” (1914)
  • Cru­el Cru­el Love - Free — Chap­lin plays a rich, upper-class gen­tle­man whose romance is endan­gered when his girl­friend over­sees him being embraced by a maid. (1914)
  • Face on a Bar­room FloorFree — “The plot is a satire derived from Hugh Antoine D’Ar­cy’s poem of the same title. The painter courts Madeleine but los­es to the wealthy client who sits for his por­trait. The despair­ing artist draws the girl’s por­trait on the bar­room floor and gets tossed out. Years lat­er he sees her, her hus­band and their horde of chil­dren. Unrec­og­nized by her, Char­lie shakes off his trou­bles and walks off into the future.” (1914)
  • Gen­tle­men of NerveFree — “Mabel and her beau go to an auto race and are joined by Char­lie and his friend. As Char­lie’s friend is attempt­ing to enter the race­way through a hole, the friend gets stuck and a police­man shows up. Char­lie sprays the police­man with soda until he friends makes it through the hole. In the grand­stand, Mabel aban­dons her beau for Char­lie. Both Char­lie’s friend and Mabel’s are arrest­ed and hauled away.” (1914)
  • His Favorite Pas­timeFree — Char­lie gets drunk in the bar. He steps out­side, meets a pret­ty woman, tries to flirt with her, only to retreat after the wom­an’s father returns. (1914)
  • His New JobFree — “Char­lie is try­ing to get a job in a movie. After caus­ing dif­fi­cul­ty on the set he is told to help the car­pen­ter. When one of the actors does­n’t show, Char­lie is giv­en a chance to act but instead enters a dice game. When he does final­ly act he ruins the scene, wrecks the set and tears the skirt from the star.” (1915
  • His Pre­his­toric PastFree — “Char­lie dreams he is in the stone age. There King Low-Brow rules a harem of wives. Char­lie, in skins and a bowler, falls in love with the king’s favorite wife, Sum-Babee. Dur­ing a hunt­ing trip the king is pushed over a cliff. Char­lie pro­claims him­self king, but Ku-Ku dis­cov­ers the real king alive. They return to find Char­lie and Sum- Babee togeth­er.” (1914)
  • His Tryst­ing PlaceFree — “Char­lie’s wife sends him to the store for a baby bot­tle with milk. Else­where, Ambrose offers to post a love let­ter for a woman in his board­ing house. The two men meet at a restau­rant and each takes the oth­er’s coat by mis­take. Char­lie’s wife thinks he has a lover; Ambrose’s believes he has an ille­git­i­mate child.” (1914)
  • In the ParkFree — “A tramp steals a girl’s hand­bag, but when he tries to pick Char­lie’s pock­et los­es his cig­a­rettes and match­es. He res­cues a hot dog man from a thug, but takes a few with his walk­ing stick. When the thief tries to take some of Char­lie’s sausages, Char­lie gets the hand­bag. The hand­bag makes its way from per­son to per­son to its own­er, who is angry with her boyfriend who did­n’t pro­tect her in the first place. The boyfriend decides to throw him­self in the lake in despair, so Char­lie helps him out.” (1915)
  • Kid Auto Races at Venice – Free – It’s the first film in which Char­lie Chap­lin’s icon­ic “Lit­tle Tramp” char­ac­ter makes his appear­ance. (1914)
  • Laugh­ing Gas - Free — Film star­ring Chap­lin is some­times known as “Busy Lit­tle Den­tist”, “Down and Out”, “Laffing Gas”, “The Den­tist”, and “Tun­ing His Ivories”.
  • Mabel’s Busy DayFree — “A hot­dog girl gives one to a police­man who then allows her into a race track. While oth­er cus­tomers swipe her hot­dogs, Char­lie runs off with the whole box, pre­tend­ing to sell them while actu­al­ly giv­ing them away. She calls her police­man who bat­tles Char­lie.” (1914)
  • Mabel’s Strange Predica­mentFree — Watch lots of lots of high jinks go down in a hotel. (1914)
  • Mak­ing a Liv­ing — Free – Pre­mier­ing on Feb­ru­ary 2, 1914, Mak­ing a Liv­ing marks the first film appear­ance by Char­lie Chap­lin.
  • Musi­cal TrampsFree — “Char­lie and his part­ner are to deliv­er a piano to 666 Prospect St. and repos­sess one from 999 Prospect St. They con­fuse the address­es. The dif­fi­cul­ties of deliv­er­ing the piano by mule cart, and most of the spe­cif­ic gags, appeared lat­er in Lau­rel and Hardy’s ‘The Music Box’.” (1914)
  • One A.M.Free — The first silent film Char­lie Chap­lin starred in alone. (1916)
  • PoliceFree — “Police was Char­lie Chap­lin’s 14th released film from Essanay. It was made at the Majes­tic Stu­dio in Los Ange­les. Char­lie play­ing an ex-con­vict finds life on the out­side not to his lik­ing and leads him to break­ing into a home with anoth­er thief (Wes­ley Rug­gles). Edna Pur­viance plays the girl liv­ing in the home who tries to change him.” (1916)
  • Shoul­der ArmsFree — Char­lie is a boot camp pri­vate who has a dream of being a hero who goes on a dar­ing mis­sion behind ene­my lines. (1918)
  • Sun­ny­sideFree — “Char­lie works on a farm from 4am to late at night. He gets his food on the run (milk­ing a cow into his cof­fee, hold­ing an chick­en over the fry­ing pan to get fried eggs). He loves the neigh­bor’s daugh­ter Edna but is dis­liked by her father. He rides a cow into a stream and is kicked off. Uncon­scious, he dreams of a nymph dance. Back in real­i­ty a city slick­er is hurt in a car crash and is being cared for by Edna. When Char­lie is reject­ed after attempt­ing to imi­tate the slick­er, the result is ambiguous–either trag­ic or a hap­py end­ing. Crit­ics have long argued as to whether the final scene is real or a dream.” (1919)
  • The BankFree — “Char­lie does every­thing but an effi­cient job as jan­i­tor. Edna buys her fiance, the cashier, a birth­day present. Char­lie thinks “To Charles with Love” is for him. He presents her a rose which she throws in the garbage. Depressed, Char­lie dreams of a bank rob­bery and his hero­ic role in sav­ing he man­ag­er and Edna … but it is only a dream.”
  • The BondFree — A pro­pa­gan­da film cre­at­ed and fund­ed by Chap­lin for the­atri­cal release to help sell U.S. Lib­er­ty Bonds dur­ing World War I. (1918)
  • The Cham­pi­on — Free — “Walk­ing along with his bull­dog, Char­lie finds a “good luck” horse­shoe just as he pass­es a train­ing camp adver­tis­ing for a box­ing part­ner “who can take a beat­ing.” After watch­ing oth­ers lose, Char­lie puts the horse­shoe in his glove and wins. The train­er pre­pares Char­lie to fight the world cham­pi­on. A gam­bler wants Char­lie to throw the fight. He and the train­er’s daugh­ter fall in love.” (1915)
  • The CountFree — The Count was Char­lie Chap­lin’s 5th film for Mutu­al Films. Co-star­ring Eric Camp­bell and Edna Pur­viance, it is a sto­ry about Char­lie and his boss find­ing an invi­ta­tion to a par­ty from a real Count. (1916)
  • The Fatal Mal­letFree — Three man will fight for the love of a charm­ing girl. Char­lie will play dirty, throw­ing bricks to his con­tender, and using a huge ham­mer to hurt one of them. But a pre­co­cious kid will be the fourth suit­or in dis­cord. (1914)
  • The Fire­manFree — Char­lie Chaplin’s sec­ond short for Mutu­al con­tin­ued his focus on gags and situations—as the title sug­gests, Chap­lin plays the role of an inept fire­fight­er. (1916)
  • The Floor­walk­erFree — “The Floor­walk­er was Char­lie Chap­lin’s first Mutu­al Film Com­pa­ny made in 1916. It starred Chap­lin as a cus­tomer in a depart­ment store who finds out the man­ag­er is steal­ing mon­ey from the store. It was not­ed for the first ‘run­ning stair­case’ used in films.” (1916)
  • The Gold Rush – Free – Char­lie Chap­lin wrote, pro­duced, direct­ed and starred in The Gold Rush. Chap­lin repeat­ed­ly said that this is the film he most want­ed to be remem­bered for. (1925)
  • The Good for Noth­ing — Free — Made at the Key­stone Stu­dios, the film involves Chap­lin tak­ing care of a man in a wheel­chair. (1914)
  • The Immi­grantFree — Chap­lin, in the role of the Tramp char­ac­ter, plays an immi­grant com­ing to the Unit­ed States. He gets accused of theft while on a voy­age across the Atlantic Ocean. (1917)
  • The Knock­outFree —  Char­lie Chap­lin’s sev­en­teenth film for Key­stone Stu­dios. Chap­lin only has a small role, and Fat­ty Arbuck­le takes up the main role. (1914)
  • The Land­la­dy’s PetFree — Oth­er­wise known as The Star Board­er, the film turns around this theme: A brat’s mag­ic lantern show expos­es an indis­creet moment between a land­la­dy and her star board­er. (1914)
  • The Mas­quer­ad­erFree — “Char­lie is an actor in a film stu­dio. He mess­es up sev­er­al scenes and is tossed out. Return­ing dressed as a lady, he charms the direc­tor. Even so, Char­lie nev­er makes it into film, wind­ing up at the bot­tom of a well.” (1914)
  • The New Jan­i­torFree — “Char­lie is jan­i­tor for a firm the man­ag­er of which receives a threat­en­ing note about his gam­bling debts. He throws a buck­et of water out the win­dow which lands on his boss and costs him his job. The boss, attempt­ing to steal the mon­ey heeds from the office safe, is caught by his sec­re­tary and Char­lie comes to save her and the mon­ey. He is briefly accused of being the thief but ulti­mate­ly tri­umphs.” (1914)
  • The Pawn­shop – Free – Rich in slap­stick, The Pawn­shop was one of Chap­lin’s more pop­u­lar movies for Mutu­al Film, the pro­duc­er of many fine Chap­lin come­dies. (1916)
  • The Prop­er­ty ManFree — “Char­lie has trou­ble with actors’ lug­gage and con­flicts over who gets the star’s dress­ing room. There are fur­ther dif­fi­cul­ties with fre­quent scene changes, wrong entries and a fire­man’s hose. At one point he jug­gles an ath­lete’s sup­posed weights. The humor is still rough: he kicks an old­er assis­tant in the face and allows him to be run over by a truck.” (1914)
  • The Rink – FreeThe Rink, Chap­lin’s 8th film for Mutu­al Films, show­cas­es the actor’s roller skat­ing abil­i­ties. (1916)
  • The Rival Mash­ers — Free — “Char­lie and a rival vie for the favors of their land­la­dy. In the park they each fall dif­fer­ent girls, though Char­lie’s has a male friend already. Char­lie con­sid­ers sui­cide, is talked out of it by a police­man, and lat­er throws his girl’s friend into the lake. Fright­ened, the girls go off to a movie. Char­lie shows up there and flirts with them. Lat­er both rivals sub­sti­tute them­selves for the girls and attack the unwit­ting Char­lie. In an audi­ence-wide fight, Char­lie is tossed from the screen.” (1914)
  • The RoundersFree — Writes IMDB: “Two drunks live in the same hotel. One beats his wife, the oth­er is beat­en by his. They go off and get drunk togeth­er. They try to sleep in a restau­rant using tables as beds and are thrown out. They lie down in a row boat which fills with water, drown­ing them (a fate appar­ent­ly bet­ter than going home to their wives).” (1914)
  • The Tramp - Free — The film made Chap­lin’s great Tramp char­ac­ter famous. (1915)
  • The VagabondFree — A silent film by Char­lie Chap­lin that co-starred Edna Pur­viance, Eric Camp­bell, Leo White and Lloyd Bacon, with Chap­lin appear­ing as The Tramp. The British Film Insti­tute calls it the “piv­otal work” of his Mutu­al peri­od – “and his most touch­ing.” (1916)
  • Tillie’s Punc­tured Romance – Free – Among oth­er things, the film is notable for being the last film that Chap­lin did­n’t write or direct by him­self. (1914)
  • Triple Trou­bleFree — “As Colonel Nutt is exper­i­ment­ing with explo­sives, a new jan­i­tor is join­ing his house­hold. The inept jan­i­tor pro­ceeds to make life dif­fi­cult for the rest of staff. Mean­while, a for­eign agent arrives at the house in hopes of get­ting Col. Nut­t’s lat­est inven­tion. The inven­tor throws him out, so the agent then employs a thug to get the for­mu­la. When police head to the Nutt home to start an inves­ti­ga­tion, a com­pli­cat­ed fra­cas ensues.” (1918)
  • Twen­ty Min­utes of LoveFree — IMDB sum­ma­rizes thus­ly: “Char­lie is hang­ing around in the park, find­ing prob­lems with a jeal­ous suit­or, a man who thinks that Char­lie has robbed him a watch, a police­man and even a lit­tle boy, all because our friend can’t stop snoop­ing.” (1914)
  • WorkFree — “Char­lie and his boss have dif­fi­cul­ties just get­ting to the house they are going to wall­pa­per. The house­hold­er is angry because he can’t get break­fast and his wife is scream­ing at the maid as they arrive. The kitchen gas stove explodes, and Char­lie offers to fix it. The wife’s secret lover arrives and is passed off as the work­ers’ super­vi­sor, but the hus­band does­n’t buy this and fires shots. The stove explodes vio­lent­ly, destroy­ing the house.” (1915)

Most of the quot­ed sum­maries above were writ­ten by Ed Stephan on IMDB.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Free Alfred Hitchock Films

Free John Wayne Films

Tarkovsky Films Free Online

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Christopher Hitchens Gets Contrarian on Christmas from the Grave (Plus Some Tom Lehrer)

Back in 1959, Tom Lehrer, the Har­vard lec­tur­er and satirist, record­ed “A Christ­mas Car­ol” before a live audi­ence at the Sanders The­ater in Cam­bridge, Mass. The song, offer­ing an ear­ly com­men­tary on the com­mer­cial­ism of Christ­mas, pro­vides the jump­ing off point for Christo­pher Hitchens’ arti­cle “Forced Mer­ri­ment: The True Spir­it of Christ­mas,” which has been pub­lished posthu­mous­ly in this week­end’s Wall Street Jour­nal. Even from the grave, Hitchens goes on being Hitch: blunt, bound to make the major­i­ty bris­tle, but also brim­ming with some con­trar­i­an insights…

But the thing about the annu­al cul­ture war that would prob­a­bly most sur­prise those who want to “keep the Christ in Christ­mas” is this: The orig­i­nal Puri­tan Protes­tants regard­ed the whole enter­prise as blas­phe­mous. Under the rule of Oliv­er Cromwell in Eng­land, Christ­mas fes­tiv­i­ties were banned out­right. The same was true in some of the ear­ly Pil­grim set­tle­ments in North Amer­i­ca.

Last year I read a recent inter­view with the priest of one of the old­est Roman Catholic church­es in New York, locat­ed down­town and near Wall Street. Tak­ing a stand in favor of Imam Rauf’s “Ground Zero” project, he point­ed to some parish records show­ing hos­tile pick­et­ing of his church in the 18th cen­tu­ry. The pious pro­tes­tors had been voic­ing their sus­pi­cion that a pro­fane and Popish cer­e­mo­ni­al of “Christ Mass” was being con­duct­ed with­in.

and some humor.…

In their already dis­crepant accounts of the mirac­u­lous birth, the four gospels give us no clue as to what time of year—or even what year—it is sup­posed to have tak­en place. And thus the iconog­ra­phy of Christ­mas is ridicu­lous­ly mixed in with rein­deer, hol­ly, snow scenes and oth­er phe­nom­e­na pecu­liar to north­ern Euro­pean myth. (Three words for those who want to put the Christ back in Christ­mas: Jin­gle Bell Rock.) There used to be an urban leg­end about a Japan­ese depart­ment store that tried too hard to sym­bol­ize the Christ­mas spir­it, and to show itself acces­si­ble to West­ern vis­i­tors, by mount­ing a dis­play of a San­ta Claus fig­ure nailed to a cross. Unfound­ed as it turned out, this would­n’t have been off by much.

You can read Hitchens’ unabridged piece in WSJ here. H/T goes to @opedr

Impressionist Reads ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas in Celebrity Voices

Ear­li­er this year, actor and impres­sion­ist Jim Meski­men pro­duced a viral video that fea­tured him read­ing a famous mono­logue from Shake­speare’s Richard III, all while using the voic­es of 25 famous fig­ures. (Watch here.) Now, he’s back and read­ing Clement C. Moore’s ‘Twas The Night Before Christ­mas, this time with imper­son­ations of Woody Allen, John F. Kennedy, John Wayne and Samuel L. Jack­son. Have fun with it.  h/t @MatthiasRascher

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Nine Imper­son­ations by Kevin Spacey in Six Min­utes

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