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  • South of Santa Fe

    South of Santa Fe

    A two-reeler starring legendary cowgal movie star Texas Guinan and produced by the Frohman Amusement Corporation. Guinan plays a forewoman tasked with taming a group of boisterous, reckless cowboys. "Suffering centipedes! Looka the new skirt!" It's tremendously fun, and Guinan is a hoot of style and vigor. The full two-reeler was recently posted on YouTube by Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum.

  • The Girl of the Rancho

    The Girl of the Rancho

    A two-reeler starring legendary cowgal movie star Texas Guinan. Here a Mexican bandit kidnaps Guinan's wee lily-white sister, so Guinan organizes a posse to reclaim her. I wish an icky anti-Mexican sentiment wasn't laced through this, because when it's just Texas Guinan in cowgal mode, it's pretty spectacular. She's a captivating performer, and the action scenes are lively. An entertaining oater, well-made in terms of film style, but with important moral caveats. The full two-reeler was recently posted on YouTube by Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, bless them, with a very educational introduction.

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  • Something Good - Negro Kiss

    Something Good - Negro Kiss

    A 2018 addition to the National Film Registry, the earliest known moving picture depicting African-American sexual intimacy, in which a Black man and Black woman joyously kiss. Any Victorian-era film will be notable if it represents Blackness without racist caricature, but this 1898 document is far greater than just something not-bad. Although the Selig company catalogue describes this as a "burlesque" on 1896's popular The Kiss, any potential comic intentions on the part of the white camera-cranker are gloriously disallowed by the sincere affection of the performers. It is beautiful, so beautiful, and their love is contagious.

    [cf. Lencho]

  • What Happened on Twenty-Third Street, New York City

    What Happened on Twenty-Third Street, New York City

    A woman's skirt shoots up when she walks under the gushing air of a sidewalk grate, fifty-four years before Marilyn's iconic performance in The Seven Year Itch. Only today have I learned the historical significance of this film's title. Why does it happen on Twenty-Third Street? The answer can be found by pairing this film with the 1903 actuality At the Foot of the Flatiron, in which pedestrians clutch their hats and skirts on a windy day on the corner…