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Essential and underrated silent films?

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Essential and underrated silent films?

Old 08-30-08, 08:19 PM
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Essential and underrated silent films?

I'm a moderate fan of silent films. I'm looking for some essentials and also some rare under-appreciated gems.

The ones I've seen:

All of Chaplin's silents
The Birth of a Nation
Buster Keaton's short silents
Diary of a Lost Girl
Faust
Haxan
The Holy Mountain
The Last Laugh
Metropolis
Nanook of the North
Nosferatu
Pandora's Box
The Passion of Joan of Arc
Sunrise
Tabu
Vampyr
W.C. Field's short silents
The Woman in the Moon

Any recommendations?
Old 08-30-08, 08:32 PM
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The Adventures of Prince Achmed
The Unknown
Asphalt
Man with a Movie Camera
Berlin: Symphony of a City
Battleship Potemkin
Strike
The Unholy Three
A Cottage on Dartmoor
The Dragon Painter
Fantomas
Warning Shadows
Spies
Hindle Wakes
It
Michael
Phantom
People on Sunday
The Phantom Carriage
La Terre
Broken Blossoms
Blind Husbands
Foolish Wives
J'Accuse!
Piccadilly
La Roue
A Throw of Dice
Borderline


Also, definitely check out the films of Evgeni Bauer and Wladyslaw Starewicz, as well as the Unseen Cinema box set.
Old 08-30-08, 09:05 PM
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Definitely Battleship Potemkin. I would put "Man Who Laughs" as a must-see as well as "The Golem" especially if you enjoy German Expressionism.
Old 08-30-08, 09:47 PM
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Wow, that's quite a list Noirfan. I've got my work cut out for me.

I also want to get The Man Who Laughs, hoping for a Kino sale.
Old 08-30-08, 10:34 PM
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Greed
Napoleon
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
Un Chien Andalou
Les Vampires
Flesh and the Devil
L'age D'or
The Lodger
Old 08-30-08, 10:45 PM
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King Vidor's The Big Parade and The Crowd don't get enough love.
Old 08-30-08, 11:03 PM
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Originally Posted by PopcornTreeCt View Post
I'm a moderate fan of silent films. I'm looking for some essentials and also some rare under-appreciated gems.

The ones I've seen:

Buster Keaton's short silents
If you haven't seen Buster Keaton's features, you should. At least check out Steamboat Bill, Jr. and The General.

Anything starring Harold Lloyd.

Ben-Hur
Old 08-30-08, 11:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Finisher View Post
King Vidor's The Big Parade and The Crowd don't get enough love.
I can't believe I forgot those. Hopefully we'll see DVD releases soon, along with Wings.
Old 09-01-08, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Dimension X View Post
If you haven't seen Buster Keaton's features, you should. At least check out Steamboat Bill, Jr. and The General.

I just saw The General (for the first time) this weekend. Holy shit what a masterpiece.
Old 09-01-08, 10:00 AM
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Old 09-01-08, 11:36 AM
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Nice to see someone mention 'Dr Caligari'.

'Die Nibelungen' is amazing. Anyone who loves cinema should at least watch, but in truth should own that.
Old 09-01-08, 01:14 PM
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A measure of Douglas Fairbanks is good for the soul:

The Mark of Zorro (1920)
The Three Musketeers (1921)
Robin Hood (1922)
The Thief of Bagdad (1924)
Don Q, Son of Zorro (1925)
The Black Pirate (1926)
The Gaucho (1927)
The Iron Mask (1929)
Old 09-01-08, 04:49 PM
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I'll second The Battleship Potemkin and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. What about the original Lon Chaney version of The Phantom of the Opera? I haven't seen that mentioned. It may not be a masterpiece, but it's certainly essential viewing for any horror fan.

I like the suggestions here, I'll check out some of the ones I haven't yet seen.
Old 09-01-08, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Dr Mabuse View Post
Nice to see someone mention 'Dr Caligari'.

'Die Nibelungen' is amazing. Anyone who loves cinema should at least watch, but in truth should own that.
I just got the first disc from Greecine and watched the first act. This looks like something I will have to watch more then once.
Old 09-01-08, 07:58 PM
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Besson's Le Dernier Combat - Although not technically a silent film(?), there are less than a few minutes of spoken French the entire duration.
Old 09-01-08, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Dimension X View Post
If you haven't seen Buster Keaton's features, you should. At least check out Steamboat Bill, Jr.
On tonight on TCM.
Old 09-01-08, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by PopcornTreeCt View Post
I also want to get The Man Who Laughs, hoping for a Kino sale.
For $13.00 more, you can get the American Silent Horror Collection, which also includes The Penalty, The Cat and the Canary, the 1920 version of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, and a 70 min documentary on silent horror films.
Old 09-01-08, 09:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Mondo Kane View Post
On tonight on TCM.
Cool. I have it on DVD so I hadn't made note of that. I'd urge anyone who hasn't seen it to check it out. Even if you have seen it, check it out.
Originally Posted by TCM
12:00 AM Steamboat Bill Jr. (1928)
In this silent film, a student tries to win a rival captain's daughter after taking over his father's riverboat. Cast: Buster Keaton, Ernest Torrence, Marion Byron. Dir: Charles Reisner. BW-69 mins, TV-G

Last edited by Dimension X; 09-01-08 at 09:31 PM.
Old 09-01-08, 09:30 PM
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Originally Posted by visitor Q View Post
Besson's Le Dernier Combat - Although not technically a silent film(?), there are less than a few minutes of spoken French the entire duration.
If we're including silent films from the sound era, than Daughter of Horror/Dementia and The Thief get my hearty recommendations as well.
Old 09-01-08, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by visitor Q View Post
Besson's Le Dernier Combat - Although not technically a silent film(?), there are less than a few minutes of spoken French the entire duration.
The same goes for Cocteau's Blood of a Poet
Old 09-02-08, 04:00 AM
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Made well after most of the above, but a couple of great short-ish "silent" funny films are:

The Plank (1967)

Futtocks End (1970)

Obtainable fairly cheaply (although not sure about P&P charges for non-Brits) via various e-tailers shown in a "find-dvd.co.uk" search.
Old 03-03-14, 07:52 PM
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Re: Essential and underrated silent films?

I always wondered… what made silent films superior to this sound era.
Old 03-03-14, 09:23 PM
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Re: Essential and underrated silent films?

What made silent films superior to the modern era? Not much. Great modern films are as good or better than most silent films. The best silent films are as good as the best sound films. Of course I'm not saying a film is great just because it's modern. I'll take The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari over any Transformers movie any day.

Now, if you want to ask why silent films were superior to early sound films, that is easy. Early sound technology put lots of limitations on filmmakers that made early sound films visually dull, as well as early sound technologies often being unreliable and of poor fidelity.

Once sound technology improved, there was nothing stopping filmmakers from realizing their vision in full.
Old 03-04-14, 12:35 AM
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Re: Essential and underrated silent films?

They somehow had more imagination even if they lacked everything technically.
Old 03-04-14, 02:22 AM
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Re: Essential and underrated silent films?

Early sound films had more imagination? Whatever you say there duffy boy.

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