Silent Films

J-Sun

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I'd go for The General, too. I've only seen four but you can't go wrong with any of them - Steamboat Bill, Jr., Our Hospitality, Sherlock, Jr.
 

SunnyEvans

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Over in America, we have a cable channel called Turner Classic Movies that shows silent films all the time. I try to not ever miss one. I actually think Keaton is my favorite, with Chaplin coming in a very close second. I could never pick a favorite of either, because I generally love all their work. I can't think of any by either of them that I didn't like. The Fatty and Mabel movies are always good as well. Recently, they showed several hours worth of animated shorts that were really interesting. Especially when you consider that in those days, they would have been geared mostly towards children (unlike today's cartoons, many of which make me cringe to think of kids watching them). The subject matter was often as fascinating as the actual animation techniques.
 

SunnyEvans

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We have TCM too but I never see silents on it. Usually just dull dramatic true-life type stuff.
Hmmm...that doesn't sound like our TCM at all. We get mostly classics, everything from Casablanca to Robin Hood, plus marathons of Hitchcock films and movies with Marilyn Monroe, Cary Grant, Bette Davis, and the like. We get at least one silent a week and a marathon or two every month or so.
 

Jeffbert

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I saw THE GOLLUM the other day; I found it to be rather strange, I guess I had preconceived ideas about it. The term FRANKENSTEIN COMPLEX really ought to be GOLLUM COMPLEX, unless the film was influenced by FRANKENSTEIN. The thing was said to turn against its master if used too much or too often.

The Rabbi brought it to life by installing a star-shaped medallion containing a scroll bearing a mystic word, on its chest, & by removing it, turned it off. But the Gollum soon realized its vulnerability, and fended off the Rabbi's attempts to remove it. In the end, a child whom the Gollum had lifted up removed the star. This reminds me of the COLOSSUS OF NEW YORK, whose end came at the hands of his young son, but by his own request.:D
 
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j d worthington

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Errr... that's The Golem, not "Gollum"... which is another critter en-tirely....

An odd, but brilliant film, and one of three (if memory serves... the second, I think) which Wegener did on the subject....
 

Jeffbert

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:D Oops! I guess I should have looked-up the spelling a bit more carefully.

On what seems to be the main topic, I really enjoy the silent comedies. I believe it was about a year ago that TCM ran a day of OUR GANG / LITTLE RASCALS shorts, including some silent ones. I had not even known there were any, but they were great! At least one was adapted into the talkies, & seeing both versions was interesting.

L&H: Likewise, I knew not of L&H's silent films. The one in which they vainly attempt to sell Xmas trees door to door in Southern CA., was hilarious! :)

I think the silent films' physical comedy influenced the cartoonists, as I recall more than a few cartoons in which amusing sequences that really had little if anything to do with the plot were used simply to take up time.
 

MontyCircus

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I hated both The Artist and Call of Cthulhu. I guess I'm not cut out for silent film.
 

Steve Jordan

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The two silent features I can watch anytime: Metropolis; and The General.

I love Metropolis for its being the stylistic pioneer of science fiction films: The impressionist sets, costumes and styles, imaginative cinematography, bold and thematic orchestral score and not-quite-three-dimensional characters became the veritable template for major SF films for decades.

The General is a personal favorite because of my love for Buster Keaton's work, and I've always considered The General his best.

You certainly have to put yourself in a different frame of mind to fully enjoy these old movies, both because of the historical differences in moviemaking, and of culture in general, compared to today. But I don't have a problem with that; in fact, I enjoy it more than watching most modern movies set as period pieces. I can watch silent comedies all day long.
 

Steve Jordan

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I've been lucky enought to see both City Lights and Modern Times accompanied by a live symphony orchestra.
Last year I went to a showing of Metropolis that was billed as being performed with a live musical accompaniment. The "band" was the Alloy Orchestra, a group of (I believe) four musicians playing on, well, pretty much junk.

Although Alloy created an interesting score, and were well-played, in the space of the smallish AFI-Silver theatre they were simply too loud and jarring, and drove my wife and mother crazy! I felt bad as I watched both of them sharing napkins to tear up and stuff in their ears!

Never again. If I hear of a similar show, I'm going to do a lot more towards finding out what the "accompaniment" involves.
 

Jeffbert

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I was going to watch GOLD RUSH the other night, but missed it. As I recall, as both CC & his rather large partner were both freezing and starving, they began to imagine each other as food. Chaplin morphed into a chicken, while the other guy was drooling or licking his lips. :D I had seen this type of gag in many cartoons, & guess it originated here.

I saw the restored METROPOLIS a while ago, & certainly agree that it influenced other films. As I recall, THE GENERAL is the one in which the guy tears the train apart & puts nearly everything combustible into the boiler's furnace.

There are only a very few silent films I would not care to watch; one of which was directed by E. Von Stroheim, Greed,but only because it was so very long. I do prefer the comedies, though.
 

j d worthington

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There are only a very few silent films I would not care to watch; one of which was directed by E. Von Stroheim, Greed,but only because it was so very long. I do prefer the comedies, though.
*snort* Ain't nothin' compared to what it was originally:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greed_(film)

See the third and fourth paragraphs. I have a copy of the four-hour version, but have never quite got around to watching it as a whole... though what I've seen really makes me want to find the time for it. (One of the things it features is a restoration of the hand-tinting emphasizing the gold as a luminous, almost numinous, presence.) I would probably be one of the few to actually sit through the entire 8-hour version, were it available....

Then again, I've been a lover of silent film since I was about seven or eight years old, and saw Orphans of the Storm and The Hunchback of Notre Dame as presented on The Toy That Grew Up, hosted by Orson Welles....
 

Curt Chiarelli

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Some excellent titles mentioned on this thread. I have some very fond memories of seeing Lon Chaney, Sr. in The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Phantom of the Opera on PBS as a seven year old kid. The broad gestures and moody black and white cinematography of those films hooked me. Doing more research I learned about other films like the three versions of The Golem and one of my all-time favourites, Nosferatu. Recently I had the opportunity to see Fritz Lang's Siegried, Kriemhild's Revenge, Dr. Mabuse and Spies - all excellent films that hold up very well to modern viewing.
 

Jeffbert

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I just watched BEAU BRUMMEL, which was on TCM Sun-Mon @ 12 A. I like John Barrymore, but this film seemed rather sketchy, lacking continuity, at least I thought so.
 
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