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Silent Films Discussion

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View Poll Results: How many silent feature films have you watched?
watched parts of films but never managed to get through the whole thing
3
3.30%
0 - and I plan to keep it that way
4
4.40%
0 - maybe I'll get around to it some day
3
3.30%
0 - but I'll check 'em out now that I've read this thread
0
0%
1 - didn't like it, so I never tried another
1
1.10%
1
4
4.40%
2
3
3.30%
3 - 7
20
21.98%
8 - 20
21
23.08%
over 20
32
35.16%
Voters: 91. You may not vote on this poll

Silent Films Discussion

Old 03-15-04, 09:28 AM
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The silents that I have seen and love:

Diary of a Lost Girl
Pandora's Box
Broken Blossoms
Metropolis
Nosferatu
Un Chien Andalou
The Show Off
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

Some things I have seen a bit of, and want to see the rest
Orphans of the Storm
The Wind
Birth of a Nation
Beggars of Life

I have seen other silents, but that is an essential list for me off the top of my head.

As far as favorite silent actor/actress? No one comes close to my Lulu, Louis Brooks
Old 03-15-04, 05:19 PM
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I've only seen

Metropolis
Birth of a Nation
Battleship Potemkin

I own Passion of Joan of Arc and Sunrise but haven't found the time to see them yet.

I've been eyeing the Chaplin Collections. They seem to be really nice collections but I haven't done enough research yet to determine whether I should buy the sets or just selected titles.
Old 03-15-04, 07:54 PM
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Originally posted by Mutley Hyde
Oof! I did, and I thought it was extremely plodding. It may be a landmark film due to the innovative f/x, but it was a very boring presentation of the story. It's one of the very few dvds I've ever parted with, and it's the only silent film dvd I've parted with.

Rent, don't buy.
Yup. I couldn't even finish it, I was so exicted, and it was like a got sober after taking a fat chick home.
Old 03-16-04, 11:03 PM
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Glad I'm not the only one.
Old 05-09-04, 12:21 PM
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The Penalty starring Lon Chaney (One of my must-sees) airs on TCM tonight at 12 eastern time. Said to be Chaney's darkest film. I'm really looking forward to it!
Old 05-09-04, 02:25 PM
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Re: Silent Films Discussion

Originally posted by flixtime
The Iron Horse
This is a pretty obscure title, I'm surprised you mentioned it! I wrote a paper on this last semester, and it's a film that reminded my a bit of Ford's Young Mr. Lincoln (mainly because Lincoln is in it, although he kinda creeped me out). If you want to snag this I believe it's only available on R2...

As far as my favorites go, I loved Eisenstein's Strike (a Criterion box with Eisenstein's Strike, Battleship Potempkin, and October is due at some point, I believe -- correct me if I'm wrong), and Nosferatu and Metropolis are probably my favorites. I really like Keaton and Chaplin, especially The Gold Rush (which I saw with the added on Chaplin voice-overs, and I thought they were pretty great). If you want to get into the shorts from way way back, The Musketeers of Pig Alley by Griffith, was a great little (17min) silent gangster movie. All of Georges Méliès' films are wonderful and entertaining.

On another topic...I caught part Metropolis on TV a while ago (AMC or TCM perhaps?) and it had some crazy 80's sounding electronic soundtrack. Anyone know what this version was? I kind of liked it and wouldn't mind at least renting it to see if it's worth buying.
Old 05-10-04, 02:47 AM
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I have a few silent films.

The Circus
Dr. Caligari
The Kid
The Gold Rush
The Golem
Nosferatu
Waxworks
A Woman of Paris

I also have a few silent cartoons

Walt Disney's Alice Comedies
Max Fleischer's Out of the Inkwell
Otto Messmer's Felix the Cat
various Winsor McCay cartoons.
Old 05-11-04, 04:25 PM
  #33  
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Peter Pan (1925)

I just bought the Kino silent Peter Pan (1925) in order to compare it to the new live-action extravaganza (2003), which I liked a lot. It is a pristine print with tinting and a new score for small orchestra.

Having never seen the play or read the novel, the only thing I had going was my knowledge of the Disney version.... Well, it turns out that most of the elements in the "new" film that I thought were revolutionary, original and ground-breaking were already in the original silent film, for the simple reason that this silent film followed the actual stage play and was helped along by its author James Barrie. The role of the dog Nana is even played by the animal impersonator who created the role on stage in 1905.

It seems that in those days they didn't argue with success and didn't try to re-invent the wheel when they transposed a successful play to film and in this case they left more or less everything intact. When the new (2003) film did the same thing, the results were equally astounding for the simple reason that none of the play's action had been sugar-coated, truncated or disneyfied.

By the way, the special effects of the 1925 silent film were pretty good for the time and, to be fair, the 2003 version did borrow from the Disney version (the flight to Neverland over the rooftops of London) as well as from some of Barrie's unrealized suggestions for the 1925 film (the fairy ballet).

The silent film viewer was willing to suspend disbelief much more than today's viewer. In the case of Peter Pan, this meant not only seeing everything from a child's point of view and "believing in fairies", but also accepting that Peter Pan is a boy even though he is played by a girl, that the Darling family dog is a nanny even though he is played by a man in a suit, accepting the silent film conventions of pantomime meant to suggest speech, etc., etc.

But, as they say, the play was the thing and the message still got through.

The only objectionable change in the 1925 film, in my opinion, is the fact that every reference to England, King and country has been replaced by a reference to the great United States and the American flag. This type of thing is very hard to understand today. As if American children of the time would have had trouble accepting the fact that their country was not the only country in the world or that it would have been somehow damaging to them to learn that "Peter Pan" was the invention of a British (i.e. foreign) author...

Last edited by baracine; 05-11-04 at 04:28 PM.
Old 05-11-04, 05:14 PM
  #34  
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Silent films I have seen:

Nosferatu
Dr. Caligari
Metropolis
Un Chien Andalou
The Lost World
The Phantom of the Opera
The General
Haxan

and I am a relatively new fan of Harold Lloyd's films:
Speedy
The Freshmen
For Heaven's Sake
The Kid Brother

taped a slew of his film from last years retrospect off of TCM, need a sick day to enjoy all the films I recorded.

Last edited by Giles; 05-11-04 at 05:16 PM.
Old 05-11-04, 07:05 PM
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I have only seen Sunrise but I plan to see more.
Old 05-11-04, 08:21 PM
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I've seen far too many to recall in a list.

My favorite 10 silent films:

A Fool There Was (Basically the only readily available film by one of the biggest silent actresses.)
The Unholy Three (1925 version, of course)
Nosferatu
Birth of a Nation
Laugh Clown Laugh
Metropolis
Wings
Mantrap
Sunrise
The Lost World

Favorite actors/actresses are pretty apparent given that list. Clara Bow and Lon Chaney are my personal picks. I've enjoyed all the Theda Bara works I've seen, but that's just two films. What a shame that nearly all of her large filmography is lost to time...

Just one movie I'm dying to see that still exists, and that is Empty Hearts with Clara Bow. I've seen some scenes of it from Clara Bow documentaries, and it looks captivating.

Top three lost movies I'd kill to see found:

London After Midnight (The consensus seems to be it isn't that good, but the TCM reconstruction piqued my interest)
Cleopatra (1917) (I'd sell my soul to see this movie)
Clara Bows Four 1927 Paramount Films. (First and foremost Ladies of the Mob... Still, it'd be nice to see Red Hair, The Fleet's In and Three Weekends pop up along with LotM.)
Old 05-11-04, 11:52 PM
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I'm a big fan of Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton's work.
Old 05-12-04, 07:16 AM
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Nosferatu's original filmscore...

... has been available for a few years on the BMG 09026-681 143-2 CD. It's by Hans Erdmann, who disappeared under Nazi rule. It has been reconstructed by Gillan Anderson. It is not available on any of the R1 DVDs or even the laserdiscs of "Nosferatu". I've devised a system to synchronize it to the Image version of the film (on laserdisc) but I find it very difficult to do the same with the new, longer, differently edited Kino DVD with new short scenes and pesky longer titles that stay on the screen far too long.

But it's worth the effort. The recording is in Surround and the music is extremely effective and scary. It also contains a few sound effects, like the ringing of bells and clocks, the crashing of waves and wind sounds. Hint: there are two Nosferatu Themes that must be used whenever the vampire appears or attacks and that must be alternated. The score is 70 minutes long and the longest version of the film is around 88 minutes so some cues have to be repeated, interrupted and restarted to fit the image but it's still worth the effort.

Last edited by baracine; 05-12-04 at 10:32 AM.
Old 05-12-04, 08:44 AM
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I have sent an abuse report concerning the preceding post worded in these terms:

The author of this message does not take part in this discussion of silent films. He is simply stalking me for my anti-Tarantino opinions in other threads, even though no mention of these opinions has been made in the present thread. Accepting this post would create a dangerous precedent of cross-thread stalking and hounding.
Old 05-12-04, 03:16 PM
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What the hell did it say?
Old 05-12-04, 03:58 PM
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Old 05-12-04, 06:33 PM
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Originally posted by baracine
I have sent an abuse report concerning the preceding post worded in these terms:

The author of this message does not take part in this discussion of silent films. He is simply stalking me for my anti-Tarantino opinions in other threads, even though no mention of these opinions has been made in the present thread. Accepting this post would create a dangerous precedent of cross-thread stalking and hounding.
If you report a post, please do not post in the thread stating so - it only invites futher antagonism and does not contribute to the thread.
Old 05-13-04, 09:07 AM
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Originally posted by Blake
If you report a post, please do not post in the thread stating so - it only invites futher antagonism and does not contribute to the thread.
What you are saying is: Do not make public reports of abuse at the hands of partisans of violence and torture. I believe it's called the "Rumsfeld Position". I don't agree.
Old 05-13-04, 11:02 AM
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The Buster Keaton classic Steamboat Bill Jr. will be shown on Turner Classic Movies this Sunday at midnight EDT or 9 PM PDT.
Old 05-13-04, 08:43 PM
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Originally posted by Mondo Kane
My top 10 would probably be:

Nosferatu
Metropolis
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
Battleship Potemkin
The Gold Rush
Intolerance
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (John Barrymore version)
Sherlock Jr
Safety Last!
The Man who Laughs
I love your list. My top 10 is very similar, but a little different order. Another one I like that I don't think has been mentioned is Way Out East. I can't remember if it's a silent film or not, but one I really want to see is the one with Charlie Chaplain as Hitler... "The Dictator" or something.

Has anyone seen the version of Metropolis with the crazy 80's music soundtrack? It's hilarious... almost turns the movie into a comedy.
Old 05-13-04, 10:52 PM
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I can't remember all the names but we watched dozens of clips from silent films. Some were ok but there were some that I need to track down and watch the entire film.
Old 05-14-04, 11:27 AM
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Re: Re: Silent Films Discussion

Originally posted by drjay
On another topic...I caught part Metropolis on TV a while ago (AMC or TCM perhaps?) and it had some crazy 80's sounding electronic soundtrack. Anyone know what this version was? I kind of liked it and wouldn't mind at least renting it to see if it's worth buying.
This is the 1984 version with score by Giorgio Moroder and some songs by Queen I believe also (seems like they did a music video of "Radio Ga Ga" using imagery from the film). It also has some tinting and perhaps (not sure if I remember correctly) some added hand-tinting here and there. I did a quick search but there are so many versions of Metropolis that I couldn't determine which one was which.

I don't know what the critical view is on this version but I kind of liked it too ... it's only 87 minutes long, I think the restored DVD on Kino is over two hours (and some argue that the Kino is too fast, so it would be even longer if projected at a lower fps rate).
Old 08-17-17, 04:56 PM
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Re: Silent Films Discussion

A Fool There Was
Nosferatu
Phantom of the Opera
Intolerance
Birth of a Nation
The Man Who Laughs
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
Haxan
Broken Blossoms


They all were excellent with the exception of Birth of a Nation. Not necessarily for what it promoted, but I thought it was incredibly boring, and I'm surprised that Intolerance is the one that did so poorly financially speaking.

It's a shame that most of Theda Bara's films were lost forever in a fire. She had a real unique look to her.

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