To celebrate this current year of 2021, I will be honoring the history of film by posting a monthly Reel Anarchy article detailing up to four films from the past that are celebrating an anniversary. I will try to pick films that are at least 10 years old, but the emphasis will be on films that are at least 20 years old. You might see some high-profile classics show up, but you might also see some more obscure picks as well.
Without further adieu . . .
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
This legendary, yet often-forgotten classic celebrates its centennial anniversary this month. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse is a silent epic directed by Rex Ingram, which was based on the 1916 Spanish novel of the same name by Vicente Blasco Ibanez. It was adapted for the big-screen by June Mathis (bolstering her credibility in Hollywood) and starred Pomeroy Cannon, Josef Swickard, and Bridgetta Clark.
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse became the highest-grossing film of 1921, even beating out Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid. It launched the career of Rudolph Valentino and even started a few fads in the process, including gaucho pants and the tango craze. Fun fact: it was added to the U.S. National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 1995 and now remains in the public domain.
Adventures of Captain Marvel
The story behind this 1941 film serial is fascinating. Despite behind-the-scenes drama involving National Periodical Publications (which is now DC Comics), Republic Pictures, and Fawcett Comics, this 12-chapter film serial was the first adaption of the famous superhero formerly known as Captain Marvel – or as you might know the character now from the 2019 film, Shazam! William Witney and John English directed the film while Tom Tyler and Frank Coghlan Jr. portrayed Captain Marvel and Billy Batson, respectively.
Adventures of Captain Marvel is a fun throwback to movie serials that has been collectively held in high regard. Here is a fun quote from Quentin Tarantino describing Adventures of Captain Marvel as “The most homicidal berserker superhero of cinema.” If you are looking to add it to your home video collection, it was released on Blu-ray in 2017.
This 2001 PG-rated Robert Rodriguez film was a huge hit that launched a subsequent film franchise. The movie launched the careers of its two stars, Alexa Vega (now Alexa PenaVega) and Daryl Sabara. Carla Gugino and Antonio Banderas also star in the film. Spy Kids opened to $26.5 million in its first weekend of theatrical release and concluded its run with $112.7 million domestically (with an additional $33.8 million overseas). The film would end up being the most critically successful film in the series and wouldn’t be matched in terms of box office until the fourth film in the franchise. In all, the series has made over $535 million worldwide.
If you are looking for a fun, kid-friendly movie about secret agents and organizations, then I recommend Spy Kids.
Have you seen any of these films? Are there any that you thought should have been on my list instead? Make sure to let us know! Thanks!
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