Silent Films

Nesacat

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Curiosity was framed. Ignorance killed the cat.
Am trying not to double up here but suspect I will anyway. Here goes.

Call of Cthulhu - My all time favourite silent movie and the one that got me hooked on them in the first place.

Le Voyage Dans La Lune ( Georges Melies) - one of the first fantasy films and a really peculiar one at that. Is about the first trip to the Moon and also has a grotto of giant fungi and moon-dwellers who vanish in a puff of smoke when struck. It's all very bizarre and surreal.

Der Golem ( Paul Wegner) - shut away in the attic are the remains of the Golem. He's brought back to life, runs amok after being forced to kidnap a girl, is betrayed by a little girl and 'dies' again. Oh yes ... there is an also an invocation of the demon Astaroth.

The Fall of the House of Usher (Jean Epstein) - very dark, gothic and surreal. Had wonderful medieval sort of music and was a feast for the eyes. Only here she was his wife and not his sister.

Thief of Baghdad (Raoul Walsh) - was wonderful this with great sets and backdrops. And there was Douglas Fairbanks ;)

The Iron Mask (Alan Dwan) - about a zillion times better than watching DiCaprio in action. Douglas Fairbanks here again.

Vampyr (Carl Theodor Dreyer) - does not have much in the way of a plot but is very much a visual treat. There's a creepy, dream-like atmosphere over the wole film and everything is sort of fog-like. Made the move very unsettling and creepy as a result. Almost felt as if I were half asleep or semi conscious and was not a part of any understandable reality.

And also:

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea ( Stuart Paton); The Cabinet Of Dr Caligari (Robert Wiene); Nosferatu ( FW Murnau); The Phantom Of The Opera ( Rupert Julian); Metropolis (Fritz Lang).



 

Nesacat

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littlemissattitude said:

Vampyr has to rank as one of, if not the, most atmospheric film I've ever seen. I happened on it quite by accident in the foreign films section of the video store one time, having never heard of it. I'm so glad I made its acquaintance.


Am glad to meet someone else who likes it. Yes it's a wonderful movie. Happened on it quite by accident too at a pirated DVD store and bought it because it was about vampires. It's a delicious visual experience. :)
 

littlemissattitude

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Nesacat said:
Am glad to meet someone else who likes it. Yes it's a wonderful movie. Happened on it quite by accident too at a pirated DVD store and bought it because it was about vampires. It's a delicious visual experience. :)
Sorry for that glitch with my previous post. As I said, it's late, and in trying to reformat it, it somehow disappeared. At this time of night, I probably hit the secret delete button or something. :( It's been a long and trying day.

The other thing that I was wanting to say was, has anyone here seen The Last Laugh, from 1924. It starred Emil Jannings and was directed by F. W. Murnau, who, of course, also directed Nosferatu. The Last Laugh is a wonderful character study of a doorman who loses his job, and how he copes with that change in his life. I recommend it highly.
 

j d worthington

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There's also the wonderful, somewhat surrealistic feeling The Wind, starring Lilian Gish.

There really are so many wonderful silent films, anyone who hasn't at least dipped into them using a fairly good guide will be missing a real treat.
 

ravenus

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Yes Vampyr was a hypnotic experience. I got that same feel from one other film, Lisa and the Devil by Mario Bava.
 

Foxbat

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Call of Cthulhu - My all time favourite silent movie and the one that got me hooked on them in the first place.
I was kind of curious when I read this so I did a bit of searching. It seems that this film was written in 1926 but filmed in 2005 by the HP Lovecraft Historical Society. It intrigued me so much that someone might make a silent movie in such modern times- where black and white itself is frowned upon by many - that I have ordered a copy for myself.:)
 

j d worthington

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What surprises me is how faithful they remained to both the story and to the feel of silent films. Despite -- or perhaps because -- of the fact that this was a small group of people who got together to make a movie, this is a truly staggering achievement. It truly is a labor of love, and it shows.
 

Foxbat

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Looking forward to seeing this even more after those glowing reports:)
 

Roboripper

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Re: John Barrymore's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

McMurphy said:
The 1920's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde film starring Drew Barrymore's great grandfather, John Barrymore, as both transformations is a silent film I have on DVD and have enjoyed repeated viewing.

The make-up job on Mr. Hyde, which, to me, seemed to be in the tradition of the appearance of 1922's Nosferatu. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is surprisely violent and creepy for its time (for example, Hyde beating someone to death with a lead pipe), and the super-imposed image of a giant spider crawling over the foot of the bed and entering Jekyll's mind was brilliant.

This film is one of my favorite silent films I have ever seen.
Is this film avaliable on Region 2 DVD do you know? I've been wanting to see this for about 11 years and I've never seen it on TV, VHS or DVD.
 

j d worthington

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I'm not certain about this, but I believe some of the major companies have picked it up and made it so. There are several releases out there of it. Just watch for a restored version, as some of the prints are in pretty poor shape. Kino, I think, has a copy, and theirs should be available in Region 2.
 

Foxbat

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I finally received my copy of Call Of The Cthulhu and watched it as soon as it arrived.....what a fantastic little film! I thought the makers did a great job and this movie is a fine example of why we need independent film makers.

A great big well done to the HP Lovecraft Historical Society:)
 

j d worthington

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Glad you liked it. Yes, it does indeed show what even a few dedicated people can do with less than a shoestring; makes Hollywood seem pretty tame; better special effects they have; better acting, I have my doubts; better scripts -- oh, come on!!!! Lovely little film, deserves the praise it's been getting.

And, if you liked this, you really should try to track down the H.P. Lovecraft Collection. Each of the main features is a gem in its own right, and several of the shorts are exceptionally good, as well. Even when they're flawed, they seem to have something the big budget films all too often lack -- a feeling of actual love for the art and the original material.
 

jackokent

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Sorry if this has been mentioned on this thread but I don't know the film's title.

Does anyone recall a short and extremely creepy silent film about a chap who gets stuck in a telephone box and gets carted to some sort of graveyard / storage hanger where he just gets left.

I remember having nightmares about this film years ago.
 

ravenus

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The Ravenus got to watch the Call of Cthulhu film and i heartily concur with the praise that people here have lavished on it. The design of the dream city is incredibly evocative of Lovecraft's descriptions (and a great nod to Expressionist cinema) and when they show the creature at the end it's a moment of real awe. The atmosphere throughout was quite superbly maintained.
 

Nesacat

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Foxbat said:
I finally received my copy of Call Of The Cthulhu and watched it as soon as it arrived.....what a fantastic little film! I thought the makers did a great job and this movie is a fine example of why we need independent film makers.

A great big well done to the HP Lovecraft Historical Society:)
Am glad you liked it. It's a wonderful film. Going to try any of the rest? Am trying to track down Dagon myself and give it another chance after having heard j.d.'s take on it.
 

j d worthington

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ravenus said:
The design of the dream city is incredibly evocative of Lovecraft's descriptions (and a great nod to Expressionist cinema) ...
You know what the clincher was for me? When the sailor was "swallowed up by an angle of masonry which shouldn't have been there; an angle which was acute, but behaved as if it were obtuse". I'd thought it was a wonderul little film up to that point, and was very taken with it. At that point, I literally yelped for joy -- they did it precisely right! By the way, I'd heard they were working on a couple of other projects as well. One of them may have been a version of "The Unnamable" that I've seen some clips for, which looked quite nice. Another is a documentary, I think, on HPL's ancestry. And there's a new film supposed to be coming out soon with Lovecraftian themes, called "Read Me a Story" I think, with music by Nox Arcana -- the trailer I've seen is very evocative. Perhaps we should set up a thread on Lovecraftian cinema alone -- from the list I've seen, there are going to be enough projects of this sort seeing light soon....
 

Foxbat

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Am glad you liked it. It's a wonderful film. Going to try any of the rest?
I've just ordered Volume 1 of the HP Lovecraft collection. If I like it, I'll be getting the rest also.

Perhaps we should set up a thread on Lovecraftian cinema alone -- from the list I've seen, there are going to be enough projects of this sort seeing light soon....
Might not be a bad idea...although I'd leave it up to one more authorative than I to begin such a thread (me being not much better than a Lovecraftian virgin)......although I'd gladly sticky any such thread to keep it in the public eye:)

On the movie itself.....I definitely agree with Ravenus comment on Expressionist cinema - the angled sets and such like really give it an authentic Twenties feel.

Also, I found the small 'making of' feature much more interesting than most on DVD nowadays. It's always wonderful to learn just how creative you can be with cardboard and glitter:D
 
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