Anyone but Ike and I watch silent movies?

This isn’t a “pro or con” thread (like “jazz is crap!”). But I was looking at the “favorite scenes” thread, and very few people seem to have watched any pre-1980 movies, except the classics like Casablanca, Wizard of Oz., etc. With silent films available on videotape, you really should give 'em a try!

OK, they are an acquired taste, maybe—and you do have to CONCENTRATE. But they yield some great moments:

• Almost any Buster Keaton films is a total hoot (you can have Chaplin, frankly).

• Clara Bow is a corker—she’s great in It and Mantrap, and one of the most gorgeous dames ever.

• Lillian Gish in The Wind—incredible performance!

• I defy you to watch the final scene in Intolerance dry-eyed.

• Max Linder—handsome, funny, and one of the earliest geniuses (made his first film in 1905).

• Our Dancing Daughters: great flapper film!

• Nosferatu—terrifying! Ditto some of Lon Chaney’s stuff.

Anyone else ever watch silents? Any favorite movies or stars?

I don’t watch them regularly, but I have watched Potemkin as well as some Chaplin and Buster Keaton. Lots of fun.

And as a trivial aside, Eve, there’s an enjoyable piece of fluffy fiction I’d like to recommend to you:

Bride of the Rat God, by Barbara Hambly. Set in Hollywood of the early 1920’s, it’s the story of Nora Blackstone and her sister-in-law, Chrysanda Flamande, a silent film star. Chrysanda is marked as a human sacrifice to the Rat God after she wears an antique ritual necklace in one of her films. Hambly does good research and tells a good tale.

Yeah, I like silent movies. I love the three comedic greats, Keaton, Chaplin, and Lloyd. Nosferatu I’ve seen, but that was over 20 years ago; I do remember it scared the hell out of me. Metropolis is cool, too. I’ve got a lot of other silent movies on tape that I’ve been meaning to watch, just haven’t gotten around to it, yet (I have FAR too many movies in my collection, I doubt I’ll ever live to watch them all). They recently showed a reconstruction of “Greed” on TCM, which I got a copy of, but haven’t had time to watch yet.

I love Clara Bow, particularly the silent movies. She just has so much charisma (and so many facial expressions). I didn’t care for the talkies she made quite as much…some of the charm was gone.

Did you see the bio of her on A&E (I think) recently? I thought it was fascinating that she feared the microphone as much as she did. I didn’t pick up on that at all in her pictures.

And I do like Chaplin movies, although I have to be in a sort of “three stooges” kind of mood. The more I learn about his life though, the less appealing he becomes.

Here is a link where you can watch three Keaton movies if you have Windows media player. “The General” is a work of genius.

Have fun.

I don’t have to do drugs to mess up my head. I went to Catholic school.

There are movies where you can’t hear the characters speak? Oh my! What’s the point??

::ducking:: :wink:

“Universe Man - He’s got a watch with a minute hand, millenium hand and an eon hand and when they meet it’s a happy land - Powerful man, Universe Man”

Thanks, Phouka, I will ask my library to look for that book, I am nearly out of reading material!

Anyone interested in old movies, try to find two publications: “Classic Images” (a tabloid-sized monthly) and “Films of the Golden Age” (a quarterly magazine). They cover old films and stars, including silents (OK, it’s kinda a plug, I write for them). They also have ads for companies that sell silent-movie videos that you can’t find at your store or on TCM. Look 'em up at

Oh, I nearly forgot my two heart-throbs—Rudolph Valentino and Ramon Novarro! Hubba-hubba! Everyone’s seen Rudy in his Sheik movies, but catch him in Cobra or The Eagle, and Ramon is dreamy anything (or in nothing, wink, wink).

BTW, Eve, I’m sure you’ve been regretting the error in your topic line and hoping no one would notice, but no such luck. Shame on you, wordsmith smile to soften the blow

Of course the question should have been, “Anyone but Ike and me watch silent movies?”

But you already knew that.

grin now you know you can trust me if you ever need any freelance proofreading done.

Live a Lush Life
Da Chef

“I’m STILL big; it’s the PICTURES that got small…They opened their mouths and began to talk, talk, TALK…In those days, we had FACES.”

– Gloria Swason as Norma Desmond, SUNSET BOULEVARD

THERE’S a flick that’ll whet your appetite for silent films.


Harold Lloyd put out some of the greatest footage ever to grace celluloid, IMO the greatest physical comedian that ever was or will be. Buster Keaton also a joy to watch.
Lon Chaney, the original man of 1000 faces, outstanding talent, the original Hunchback of Notre Dame is quite a piece of work.
Nosferatu, Greed (what you can see of it), and The Wind are all worthy films.
Silents, however, are really difficult to come by in my neck of the woods.
(For two points can you identify the classic film my sig is from?)

All you need to start an asylum is an empty room and the right kind of people.

OK, I’ll admit that the list of silent movies I’ve seen is pretty small.

I’ve seen: all the feature-length Chaplin movies (yes, thank you Eve, I will keep him).

a couple of D.W. Griffith films:
Birth of a Nation.


Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.


A few with Greta Garbo (I liked “Flesh and the Devil”.)

And of course, “L’Arrivée d’un train en gare” from the Lumiere brothers. To think people used to be terrified by that movie!

Do the M. Hulot movies count as silent movies? I guess not.

But (here’s where I have to blush) I have never seen a Buster Keaton. I see WallyM7 recommends “The General.” Any other recommendations? Maybe I’ll have a silent movie film night this week-end, if I can find any Buster Keaton’s at my local video store.

As for recommendations of Buster Keaton movies, my personal favorite is Sherlock, Jr. The scene where he jumps on the screen is a classic.


Kino Video has ALL the Buster Keatons currently available.

Wally’s right about THE GENERAL (some people say it’s the best Civil War movie between BIRTH OF A NATION and GONE WITH THE WIND); it’s not just a brilliant comedy but a brilliant movie.

THE NAVIGATOR is stunning. When I watch it I don’t laugh so much as sit with my jaw hanging slack, thinking “How did he DO this? How did he COME UP with these ideas?”

Ditto for SHERLOCK JUNIOR. Awe-inspiring. Keaton walks into a movie inside a movie. Don’t watch this one on acid.

The others are a step or two below these three masterworks, but I would still recommend STEAMBOAT BILL, JUNIOR…OUR HOSPITALITY…COLLEGE…THE CAMERAMAN…and GO WEST. Save the rest (SEVEN CHANCES, BATTLING BUTLER, and THE THREE AGES) for when you’ve used up his best work.

Oh, yeah…the short films are as good or better than the features. COPS is absolutely amazing. Sone other must-see two-reelers are THE BALLOONATIC, ONE WEEK, and THE BOAT.

Boy, are you gonna have some fun now…


Hey Eve, oddly enough I taped your tv debut on the same tape as Nosferatu - both the original and the 1979 versions.
(Loved ya, by the way, you were fabulous!)

Looking at the above made me add this disclaimer before hitting Submit Reply: **I in no way associate Eve in part or in whole with Nosferatu, vampires or Vampyres, or the horror genre of film or literature in general. **

" . . . I taped your tv debut on the same tape as Nosferatu . . ."

—I’m the one in the red dress.

If you like Buster Keaton, try and find Max Linder, too. His daughter did a 1980s documentary on him, The Man In the Silk Hat, which is a treasure.

I even like the really early films—I have a collection of American movies from the late 1890s through about 1905, and I am fascinated just by the thought of how OLD they are.

As far as documentaries, try and find Kevin Brownlow’s Hollywood series, and the more recent one he did, Cinema Europe. Great introduction to silent films, with incredible clips!

More stunning movies to try and dig up, if your video store can find 'em—The Merry Widow (1925), Sunrise (1928, lovely drama), Broken Blossoms (1919, heart-stopping), The Cheat (1914, inter-racial story), Love (1927, Garbo’s silent Anna Karenina).

And Chef, take that “I” and . . . well, finish THAT sentence as you choose.

Eve-are you kidding? I love silent movies! My high school buddies and I were afficianados of Blackhawk Films. They used to sell 8MM versions of the classics, so we watched Keaton, Lloyd, Ben Turpin, and all the silent comic genii.

Ever see the silent “Robin Hood”? Incredible sets and stunts, much better than that loser, Costner.

If you can find it, there was a 13-part documentary on the silent era called “Hollywood: Before the Golden Age” that really whets your appetite for silent films.

Oh, and I have to put in a plug for my fave silent film, “Das Kabinett des Doktor Caligari.” Exquisite.

It’s sad that so few silent movies are available… Chaplin, Keaton, Lloyd, OK fine, but have you seen the silent BEN HUR with Ramon Navarro (sorry, I’m at office, forgive spelling)? Or Abel Gance’s incredible NAPOLEON?

The Turner station (TMC) shows a silent movie on Sunday nights (approx midnight to 2 AM EST) and has been showing some wonderful and rarely seen stuff… including the 10-part serial LES VAMPIRES (no, not about Dracula, about a criminal gang in France) which used colour tinting – blue for night, green for outdoors in the park, etc. Amazing stuff.

If you’re not used to it, it takes a while to get into the spirit… and you have to watch, you can’t just listen, like you can with most TV shows.

They made movies before 1980??

::hiding with Demo::


“Mother Mercy, can your loins bear fruit forever?/Is your fecundity a trammel or a treasure?”
-Bad Religion

C’mon. It’s not THAT hard to find silent movies.

And just call 'em up by name on I’ve bought plenty there.