I’ve been trying to get into silent movies, but the lack of…umm…SOUND makes it a tedious process. Especially since the title cards only give you one or two lines per conversation (if you’re lucky), so the story’s not that easy to follow.
I suppose subtitle technology wasn’t available before 1927, but obviously that’s not a problem now. So why don’t they try and reconstruct the original dialogue by digging up the original shooting script, or failing that, hiring lip-readers? Removing the title cards I’m sure would make a lot of silent film purists go ballistic, but with current DVD technology you can always have a branching version that features two versions of the film – one with the lousy cards, one without.
Plus, a tangential question: I notice a lot of obvious “jump cuts” in silent films, where a certain shot will suddenly “jump” to another take of the same shot. For example, Charlie Chaplin’s waddling down the street, and all of a sudden JUMP! he’s ten feet further down the street. Was this a standard stylistic device back then, or is it a case with certain frames of the negative being lost forever?