Recommend some good silent films!

While not a silent film, the movie Le Dernier Combat has absolutely no dialogue, and is worth seeing. French black and white post-apocalyptic science fiction:

mhendo, I haven’t visited that site, but I’ll bet any money the versions there aren’t the restored versions. Spend the extra money if necessary and watch the restored versions – it’s well worth it. The full Lost World blows the normal incomplete version out of the water. The better picture quality of the restored Metropolis, Nosferatu, and Phantom of the Opera make the easily-available “standard” versions look like utter garbage. I used to find excuses not to show friends my old copies of Metropolis, until I got a copy of Giorgio Moroder’s restored version. The restored title sequence alone was worth watching the whole thing for. The newest restored version of Metropolis is even clearer and longer than Moroder’s.

I second The General, Thief of Baghdad, Birth of a Nation.

The Gollum

Alexander Nevsky

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

(A really great scene where the priest is trying to explain to Quasimodo, and we can’t hear him, either.)

Nibelungen Rumored to be Hitler’s favorite movie sadly enough. Wagner took his operas from the same source. Dragon with 1920’s special effects. :slight_smile: Really strange Germanic honor code thing. Atilla the Hun has a walk on.

At the University of Michigan 20 years ago, anyway, it was still a holy relic. So much so that when we were shown a completely silent version (no SFX, music track, nuttin’) and 6 or 7 of us began improvising our own explosion noises etc., a goody-goody TA told us to pipe it.

Coughcoughcough “Gollum”? giggle giggle

My mistake. ;j

  1. The Man With a Movie Camera. An eye-popping avant garde piece that is simply the most amazing silent movie ever made.
  2. Berlin: Symphony of a Great City. A day in the life of the metropolis, done free-form and wordlessly.
  3. Sunrise. German expressionism transferred to Hollywood.
  4. The Gold Rush. Charlie Chaplin goes prospecting.
  5. The Freshman. Harold Lloyd goes to college.
  6. The Cameraman. Buster Keaton goes newsreeling.
  7. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Still weird, unsettling, very influential.
  8. The Black Pirate. Douglas Fairbanks swashbuckles – in Technicolor!
  9. The Crowd. Sympathetically observed story of a young couple in the big city.
  10. The Passion of Joan of Arc. Beautiful and severe.
  11. It. Flapper Clara Bow has that magnetic “it” in this romantic comedy.
  12. The Jazz Singer. First feature with talking sequences is still mostly silent.

I just remembered that The Jazz Singer isn’t available on DVD yet. So let’s substitute:

  1. Broken Blossoms. D.W. Griffith at his most intimate, in a story about love, prejudice, and brutality in the London docksides.

The Jazz Singer is historically significant, but it’s a horrible movie.

You should probably see Un Chien Andalou, too. It’s really effed up, as befits an absurdist piece. It’s yet another one you can see for free at the Internet Archives.

I cannot recommend Sunrise enough; it’s my #1 of all time, regardless of era or silent/talkie.

Yeah, it’s a great great film. You should try to find The Crowd. Hard to find–Facets might have it–but well worth tracking down. If possible, higher on my list than *Sunrise *even. And my #1 of all time–of any movie–is The Passion of Joan of Arc. Easier to find a copy of too; it’s available on DVD.

If silent = no dialogue, then The Thief

I wish that more of Colleen Moore’s work was available.

And Louise Brooks’.

I wish some of Joe Bonomo’s work had survived. He was quite the action star back in the silent era.

Darn, that’s right, The Crowd is not available yet on DVD. Let’s substitute:

  1. Tabu. South Sea island exotica from master director F.W. Murnau.

Wow, most everything I would have said has been said already.

Let me add (in no order other than off the top of my head): Orphans of the Storm, The Wind, Der Müde Tod, The Last Laugh, A Woman of Affairs, Michael, The Temptress, Intolerance (kind of slow in places), Leaves from Satan’s Book (kind of a rip-off of Intolerance, but quicker paced). I’d also check out a serial–I think the first Judex series is available on DVD. Ooh, and The Unknown with Lon Cheney and Joan Crawford, and Laugh, Clown, Laugh and The Unholy Three. And Souls for Sale, I can’t believe I forgot that, it’s absolutely essential.

Silent film is a very broad field, is the any particular genre you’re interested in?

You might be interested in some landmark-y type films, on topics most think of as being only recently considered:
A Florida Enchantment, about transgenderism… kinda… but with a horrible cop-out ending.
Michael, which I mentioned already, but I’d watch it mainly for its being beautifully filmed. The story of twice-gay-once-bisexual love quadrilateral is not at all as interesting as it sounds.
Master of the House, early feminism. It’s a comedy with social commentary only mixed in, so it doesn’t get all that preachy.
Different From the Others, now here’s a film that knows preachy. Very early, if not the first, gay rights film.
Love One Another, I confess to having never seen it but I have read about it and would if given the chance. It’s about antisemitism.

Too bad you can’t be in Topeka, Kansas, tonight and tomorrow. The 10th annual Silent Film Festival is being held, with a number of the films mentioned here.

There’s shorts with Keaton, Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy.

Gertie the Dinosaur


The Eagle, with Valentino

Seven Chances, with Keaton

And my all time favorite depressing film, Broken Blossoms, with Lillian Gish.

And much, much more! Attendance is free, but they are MORE than happy to accept a free will donation.

All films are accompanied by live music. Two or three different musicians will play the organ in the concert hall where the films are shown, and there’s also an orchestral quartet that will play.

I was too tired to go tonight, but will be there for a long time tomorrow.

Late to the table, but am loving the silents at the moment. These are the very best I’ve seen, & I post here as a recommendation to anyone who stumbles upon this at a later date:

The Last Command
The Wind
The Gold Rush (1940’s redux version with voiceover)
Seventh Heaven
Lucky Star
The Passion Of Joan Of Arc
The Wind
The Kid
City Lights
The General
Sherlock Jr
The Cameraman
Safety Last
The Thief Of Bagdad
The Last Laugh
Broken Blossoms

All fantastic stuff.

I’ll add another vote for Gold Rush with Chaplin. It still makes me laugh out loud. Harold Lloyd’s Safety Last will make you gasp. It was a great use of camera angle and blocking to create the illusion of height.

Since this thread first appeared, they’ve located even more of Metropolis. I heartily recommend the newest restored version. Not only does it have a lot of missing scenes (we’ve been wondering for decades what The Tall Man was up to), it also places scenes in the proper order and with the correct title cards, something the previous “complete” version lacked. The complete work now has the form of a musical piece, and that hadn’t been clear before.