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Movie Challenge Week 3: Silence is Golden

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Movie Challenge Week 3: Silence is Golden

Old 03-22-04, 10:21 AM
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Movie Challenge Week 3: Silence is Golden

What is Groucho’s Movie Challenge? Its mission is simple: let us all, as a forum, work to seek out films that might otherwise slip our radar. Each week, anybody who wants to participate will see a film within the guidelines, and return back to the forum to report on the film they saw. It’s easy, it’s fun, and everybody can participate. It’s not a trivia contest…it’s not a game…it’s merely a way we can all be exposed to new avenues of film appreciation…or at the very least see a good flick or two.

Week 3: Silence is Golden

Between now and next Monday (3/29), watch a silent film

Some other guidelines:

1. It should be feature-length, not a short. Most silent films are pretty short anyway, so let’s consider “feature length” as anything over 60 minutes.

2. It should be a film you have never seen before.

3. It should have be made within the silent era. Movies such as Chaplin’s City Lights or Brooks’s Silent Movie don’t count. Likewise, no re-releases that have narration and other sounds (like Chaplin did with The Gold Rush).

Watch your film whenever you have the time, and come back here to report…whether your experience was positive or negative.

Some good suggestions for films to try can be found in this recent thread. A few examples of silent films that I consider accessible to a modern audience include The Gold Rush (Chaplin 1925), Ben-Hur (Cohn et. al 1925), The General (Bruckman 1927), Nosferatu (Murnau 1922), and Safety Last (Newmayer/Taylor 1923). There are, of course, many many more. My personal favorite is The Passion of Joan of Arc (Dreyer 1928), but I question how “accessible” it is.

Missed a previous version of the Movie Challenge? It’s never to late to play:

Week 1: Old Movie Week
Week 2: Foreign Film Week
Old 03-22-04, 10:24 AM
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Great challenge this week, not that we didn't see it coming from a mile away...

This week I'm going to need some suggestions. My problem is that I've seen a lot of silent films, and unlike the past two weeks, I don't have any in my collection I haven't watched yet.
Old 03-22-04, 10:30 AM
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NNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOO! good luck on me finding a silent film at blockbuster (i think this week, tcm is doing a chaplin marathon), whats his most mainstream film?
Old 03-22-04, 10:32 AM
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Originally posted by Rypro 525
NNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOO! good luck on me finding a silent film at blockbuster (i think this week, tcm is doing a chaplin marathon), whats his most mainstream film?
The Gold Rush, probably.

Try your local library, they probably have a much better selection of silents than Blockbuster would.
Old 03-22-04, 10:32 AM
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Originally posted by wendersfan
This week I'm going to need some suggestions. My problem is that I've seen a lot of silent films, and unlike the past two weeks, I don't have any in my collection I haven't watched yet.
Have you seen A Woman of Paris? I'm considering it for my film this week. A Chaplin film that doesn't have Chaplin in it (save a tiny cameo) and isn't a comedy is a bit of a hard-sell.

Plus it just came out on DVD.
Old 03-22-04, 10:36 AM
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Originally posted by Groucho
Have you seen A Woman of Paris? I'm considering it for my film this week. A Chaplin film that doesn't have Chaplin in it (save a tiny cameo) and isn't a comedy is a bit of a hard-sell.

Plus it just came out on DVD.
I haven't seen it, but availability is going to be an issue. I doubt there's a place in town I can rent it, and I can't afford to buy it right now. I'm going to buy the box set, and I have to wait a couple of weeks, having just bought Angel S3 and Scenes From a Marriage. I haven't seen much Keaton, so I'll see what of his I can beg, borrow, or steal.
Old 03-22-04, 10:38 AM
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Old movies, Foreign Films, and Silents??

What's next, will I have to watch an Anime??? Maybe a slasher film, or Criterion?

My eclectic collection laughs at your challenges!






EDIT: Actually, I only have 3-4 silent films, all from the Image Chaplin box set (City Lights, The Gold Rush, Modern Times, and The Great Dictator.)

Last edited by littlefuzzy; 03-22-04 at 10:46 AM.
Old 03-22-04, 10:39 AM
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So, by silent era, do you consider the cutoff 1927? (for The Jazz Singer)

Saturday, I'm going to see a presentation of E.A. Dupont's "Piccadilly" from 1929, starring Anna May Wong. It is a silent film, to be presented with live piano accompaniment.
Old 03-22-04, 10:44 AM
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Originally posted by littlefuzzy
My eclectic collection laughs at your challenges!
Sorry, mate. Obviously, these challenges are aimed at folks with more mainstream tastes. I continually entertain suggestions, however...what might be a challenge for you?
Old 03-22-04, 10:45 AM
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Originally posted by sundog
So, by silent era, do you consider the cutoff 1927? (for The Jazz Singer)

Saturday, I'm going to see a presentation of E.A. Dupont's "Piccadilly" from 1929, starring Anna May Wong. It is a silent film, to be presented with live piano accompaniment.
Your film would qualify, since it is a silent. I would consider any film that wasn't released with a soundtrack to be "silent."
Old 03-22-04, 10:51 AM
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would the great dictator count? it was relased in 1941, so a bit passed the cuttoff date.
Old 03-22-04, 10:54 AM
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Originally posted by Rypro 525
NNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOO! good luck on me finding a silent film at blockbuster (i think this week, tcm is doing a chaplin marathon), whats his most mainstream film?
You may find some silent titles at Hollywood Video. Also your public library should have some silent movies available.

The Silent Era is a specialty of mine so I will monitor this thread all week and offer advice if anyone needs any.

This list of silent classics is a good place to start: http://www.silentera.com/info/top100.html

On Turner Classic Movies this week (Times are Pacific):

Wednesday:
City Lights(1931) 5:30 PM (Groucho says this one doesn't count. I would disagree, but I'm not making the rules)

The Circus(1928) 9:15 PM (I consider this to be an under-rated Chaplin classic and it's perfect for people new to silents and it's not as melodramatic as a lot of his movies are)

Sunday:
Intolerance(1916) 9:00 PM (This is a DW Griffith masterpiece and would be perfect for someone ambitious enough to watch a 3 hour epic silent movie).

Last edited by Damfino; 03-22-04 at 11:22 AM.
Old 03-22-04, 10:54 AM
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Originally posted by Rypro 525
would the great dictator count? it was relased in 1941, so a bit passed the cuttoff date.
It's a talkie, therefore it doesn't count.
Old 03-22-04, 10:56 AM
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Originally posted by Groucho
Sorry, mate. Obviously, these challenges are aimed at folks with more mainstream tastes. I continually entertain suggestions, however...what might be a challenge for you?
Well, considering I have seen all of my Chaplin films, I might have to go to the library this week. I haven't done weeks 1 and 2 yet, but I have several unwatched films in my collection that would work for either (or both.)

You could narrow the films down to specific genres, countries, or directors.

For instance, instead of foreign, you could say Japanese live-action, Anime, French, etc., or at least go with Asian, European, Indian, etc.

Also, some of the great directors might work, Kurosawa, Hitchcock, Fellini, etc. Sadly, I don't have any Kurosawa yet, although I want to get them.

Genres could be anything from standard genres (western, chick-flick, slasher, etc.) to more esoteric ones like film-noir or Asian action films (like Hard Boiled, etc.)

You could also go for film styles, such as Anime, independant, shorts, etc.

EDIT: Old comedians would be a good challenge, as well... Chaplin, Marx Bros., Abbott & Costello, Laurel & Hardy, Mae West, W.C. Fields, etc.

Then there are the classic actors of old, Oscar-winning films, movies from the Top 100 (or Bottom 250) at IMDB, etc.

Last edited by littlefuzzy; 03-22-04 at 11:00 AM.
Old 03-22-04, 11:01 AM
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Originally posted by littlefuzzy
You could narrow the films down to specific genres, countries, or directors.
No doubt I'll get more and more specific as the more generalized categories get used up. I wanted to start things easy so I didn't scare anybody off.

Some great suggestions there...I'll add them to my ever-growing list.
Old 03-22-04, 11:32 AM
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I watched Metropolis in week one, and it was the only silent movie I have. This could be tough. I'll probably have to hit netflix.

Oh, and as a suggested challenge: A movie with no star power. The movie cannot have anyone in it that the you recognize (either by name or face), to your knowledge before viewing. Good sources for this would be indie, foreign, old movies, or B-movies. You could also include the director to make it more challenging, or just limit it to actors for an easier challenge.
Old 03-22-04, 11:40 AM
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could actors being no names back when the movie came out count? (like american graphiti or something like that.)
Old 03-22-04, 11:43 AM
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Originally posted by wmansir
Oh, and as a suggested challenge: A movie with no star power. The movie cannot have anyone in it that the you recognize (either by name or face), to your knowledge before viewing.
Oooh...that's a good one! Of course, it's hard to find a movie like this.
Old 03-22-04, 11:51 AM
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Time to finally watch my Passion of Joan of Arc.
Old 03-22-04, 02:23 PM
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I have a question on The Passion of Joan of Arc which I'm probably going to pick up. Are we required to watch it with no soundtrack or can we watch it with the Voices of Light music that was recently written for the film?
Old 03-22-04, 02:26 PM
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Originally posted by karnblack
I have a question on The Passion of Joan of Arc which I'm probably going to pick up. Are we required to watch it with no soundtrack or can we watch it with the Voices of Light music that was recently written for the film?
Watch it with the soundtrack.
Old 03-22-04, 02:36 PM
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Originally posted by karnblack
I have a question on The Passion of Joan of Arc which I'm probably going to pick up. Are we required to watch it with no soundtrack or can we watch it with the Voices of Light music that was recently written for the film?
The film was originally intended to be watched completely silent...which was rare even at the time. Despite the "director's intent," I think one is going to be more emotionally involved if they watch the film with a score. And the "Voices of Light" score is simply amazing. Mind-blowingly so, I thought.
Old 03-22-04, 02:45 PM
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Checked out Edwald Andre Dupont's PICCADILLY in Harvard Square yesterday. Very good film.

Anna May Wong is quite the silent-era temptress. I hadn't seen her in anything other than Shanghai Express. The restoration by the BFI on that film (from what I understand) must have been extensive.

Highly recommended if you ever get a chance to see it.
Old 03-22-04, 05:44 PM
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Originally posted by Groucho
The film was originally intended to be watched completely silent...which was rare even at the time. Despite the "director's intent," I think one is going to be more emotionally involved if they watch the film with a score. And the "Voices of Light" score is simply amazing. Mind-blowingly so, I thought.
I have the soundtrack already. I got it before I knew it was written for the film as I'm a fan of the Anonomous 4. It is truly an awsome work, and now I'm going to get to hear it married to the film. I can't wait.
Old 03-22-04, 06:14 PM
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I just hit my local library and checked out 3 Buster Keaton tapes, The General/Cops/The Playhouse, The Navigator/The Boat/The Love Nest, and Sherlock Jr./Our Hospitality. It looks like The General, The Navigator, and Our Hospitality are all over 60 minutes.

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