Any Silent Film Fans?

I was wondering if there are any Silent Film fans here.

Recently I’ve regained my fond appreciation for the early silent films. (I originally discovered my liking of silent films in college in 1983.) Some of my favorites I now have on DVD.

Just wondering, what are your favorite silent films and actors/actresses?

My Favorites:
*]Way Down East (1920) Directed by D.W> Grifith and starring Lillian Gish.
*]Metropolis (1927) Directed by Fritz Lang (German epic film, and early sci-fi classic
*]City Lights (1931) Charlie Chaplin
*]Modern Times (1936) Charlie Chaplin’s last film featuring “The Little Tramp” Also the last silent film of it’s era. (Chaplin took a chance with this film in the new era of talking pictures).
I also have some early films about Jesus that were silent films and my favorite is King of Kings (1927). I remembered seeing this one on tv as a kid in the late 1960’s during Holy Week and now was able to find it on DVD.

I’m not the greatest “silent film fan”, but I do like to attend one occasionally. Here in town, we have the Silent Film Society:

I am a major fan of Buster Keaton. Not only was the man a brilliant comedian, but his films are simply beautiful. Just watch Our Hospitality, or Sherlock Jr., or Steamboat Bill Jr, or The General. They are superb! Then watch what happened when MGM got hold of him. It’s a shame - they didn’t understand him or his comedy at all.

I just finished watching Murnau’s Sunrise. Very lovely, although whoever made Janet Gaynor wear that horrid wig should have been fired.

Mel Brooks’ Silent Movie was great. The only spoken word in the movie was by Marcel Marceau.

Buster Keaton plays a cameo role in the 1950 Sunset Boulevard. My top five film of all time.

I also like Clara in *It *(1925?) and I think she was also in Wings (1928)

I’d love to see Sunrise, from what I’ve read it is a unique film and it sometimes considered the First Academy Award film for Best Picture but Wings got that award…of course that depends on which film critic you read. I need to see Sunrise before I can make that decision for myself.

I LOVE Silent Movie because it pays tribute to the genre and also spoofs it at the same time, proving that a silent film can STILL be done and done well. I just picked that one up on DVD last week.

If you want to see some silent cartoons, you’d want to pick up the Popeye 1933-1938 series. In this set, there is a tribute to the genesis of animation and quite a number of silent cartoons as Special Features. They are rather unique and a rare treat to view.

I’ve seen City Lights and Metropolis (of the movies you mentioned), and loved both of them (especially Metropolis, but Chaplin is great too). I’ve also seen Buster Keaton’s The General and Seven Chances, some short films with/by Chaplin, the WWI movie The Big Parade, and bits of other movies on TV (TCM). Most recently, I rented (from Netflix) a collection called Landmarks of Early Film, beginning with very early films from the 1890s and ending with a short D. W. Griffith melodrama and a Keystone Kops comedy. Most of the pieces were only of historical interest, and Melies’ Journey to the Moon (one of the reasons I rented the disc) was downright hilarious (the version I saw had a voiceover with a thick French accent, and lines like: “The astronomers marvel at the landscape of the moon, which is new to them”). But the Griffith movie (A Girl and Her Trust) was very impressive, I thought, with a spunky heroine, an exciting chase scene, and a lonesome railway-station setting. It made me want to see more Griffith–I’ve seen bits of Birth of a Nation but hesitated to rent it because of the racism and glorification of the Klan.


“The Circus” with Charlie Chaplin is timeless and brilliant; so is “The Kid.”

From on Edwin to another…if you get into the D.W. Griffith films, you sure have to be a Lillian Gish fan. I recently bought Way Down East (1920) & Orphans of the Storm(1921). Way Down East has the famous floating ice sequence with Lillian Gish trappred heading for the waterfall and Orphans of the Storm is about Lillian Gish and her real sister, Dorothy playing the part of sisters during the French Revolution. Orphans of the Storm reminds me of A Tale of Two Cities but only the French Revolution part.

Metropolis, the verison I have is a DVD that shows the most up-to-date restored version. It was very interesting on how this film was restored, finding lost footage from so many sources. (It is amazing that 1/4 of the film is STILL missing and the restored version is still just over 2 hours long).

Around 1976, the Saenger Theatre in New Orleans was refurbhished and brought back to its original opulence as a silent movie theater. Included in that restoration was the theatre organ with all of its bells, whistles, sound effects, etc.

You couldn’t show it now but I actually got to see D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation on the screen with its original theatrical score. The movie is profoundly racist - no doubt about that. However, the physical presence of the organ (seeing the organ console rise out of the orchestra pit was worth the price of admission in and of itself) and what it could do with sound effects (long before Dolby) was simply astounding. Later performances included silent movies with an orchestra playing period music in the ochestra pit. I think it is a shame that the silent movies weren’t really silent and included live musical performances which modern audiences have never heard.

I love the silent horror flicks! But my favorite all time movie is Jean Cocteau’s Beauty and the Beast–not sure if it is silent or subtitled (it is French) but the special effects for 1939 are almost supernatural even today! Especially the scenes where he carries her into the room and her clothes transform into jewels as they pass thru the doorway, and she cries a diamond tear. Oh and the arms and hands holding the candle sconces on the wall ushering her into the castle… love it!

Did the theater survive Katrina?

Most likely 1939, it was a sound picture. Best to my knowledge, Charlie Chaplin had the ‘last’ silent film made in the true genre back in 1936 with Modern times. (Discounting Mel Brooks’ tribute/parody in 1976 called Silent Movie).

The library where I work has some good silent movies and I checked a few out. I just finished watching **Nosferatu **and it’s slow moving, but creepy. **The Old Dark House **starring Laura LaPlante is a horror/comedy mystery that is a lot of fun to watch, although the actor playing the hero overacts shamelessly.
I watched **Broken Blossoms **too. Lillian Gish’s terror in the scene where Donald Crisp locks her in the closet is heartbreaking.

The building did but I suspect the organ probably didn’t because it was in the orchestra pit and they had 4 or 5 feet in the auditorium.

I remember seeing Broken Blossoms in Silent Film class in college. I ironically went to Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio and Lillian Gish was from there. The Univeristy Auditorium in the first campus building the auditorium is named after her. I’ll need to pick up Broken Blossoms for my DVD collection.

BTW, the movie with Laura LaPlante was The Cat and the Canary. **The Old Dark House **is an entirely different one.

It’s not a silent, but I just finished watching **Scarlet Street **directed by Fritz Lang (Metropolis), starring Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett and Dan Duryea. Wonderful!! I love a good film noir and this is one of the best.

I like Wings (1927) starring Richard Arlen and Clara Bow (winner of the 1st Academy Award!); and of course The Sheik (1921) starring Rudolph Valentino and Agnes Ayers.

Nosferatu (1922) is excellent; and another one along the same lines is Vampyr (1932), directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer. It’s not a silent movie, but it might as well be…there can’t be 50 words spoken in the entire movie.

Early Greta Garbo-- If you have only ever seen her pictures with sound, you have missed some of her very best work.* The World, the Flesh, and the Devil* is amazing.

I am another fan of Nosferatu, but my favorite scary silent is* The Cabinet of Dr Caligari.*

Long before we could buy or rent tapes of movies, my mother & I used to have the occasional “girls’ night out” at the theater at George Eastman’s house in Rochester. We would eat out, go to a silent movie, and drive home in the dark, talking about every second of what we had seen…:thumbsup: :thumbsup:

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