We have a silent board!

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We have a silent board!

Postby A » Mon Jan 09, 2006 3:23 am

Repeating my entusiastic posting from Imdb some time ago: We have a silent board! Hahaha!!!
Ok, now how about everybody typing doen how he came to the silents?
I watched some of 'em "unknowngly" as a kid, mostly some keystone cops chasers shorts that came sometimes on TV. Loved the wacky pace and the funny music. Years later as my love for cinema was at full bloom, I saw some screenshots from "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" and decided that i had to see it. Luckily my local library had it on some crappy old Video in a butchered 46 min version, and I persuaded the stunned librarian to go to the attic, where some old films nobody wanted to see were bumming around (among them A fistfull of dollars, the third Man, and The Big Sleep!!!), and include it in the catalogue again, so i could borrow it. He did this (and I'm lucky to report all of the other films also got on display again), and when I put it in my VCR and saw the first scene I knew that I would love silents for the rest of my life. I admit that since then I've been a bit lazy watching silent films, as I usually watch them without soundtrack (I hate modern interpretations) and have to concentrate so much more to catch everything, that I've seen only about 150 of them.
Nevertheless I prefer silent films to the ones with sound (I'm not kidding!) and have still my whole life ahead of me to enjoy the many wonders from the past.
So, what was your enlightenment regarding silent films?

Re: We have a silent board!

Postby wpqx » Tue Jan 10, 2006 4:43 pm

Silent films were part of the curriculum. I got into the whole world of movies through the AFI's top 100, and four films on that list were silent (5 considering Jazz Singer is practically silent). It was Griffith's Birth of a Nation though that really helped me to see the potential spectacle and awe of silent film. There was a grandiose quality to that among other silents that was never really duplicated in the sound era. Shame that sound had to push the evolution of cinema back about 14 years, because just as it was coming around some of the best films of all time were made. I mean just in 1928 was the Passion of Joan of Arc, The Wedding March, Steamboat Bill Jr, The Circus, Pandora's Box, The Wind and the Last Command.

Re: We have a silent board!

Postby A » Wed Jan 11, 2006 6:03 pm

I also enjoyed "The Birth of a nation" immensly when i first saw it. And it was my introdution to Griffith - not a bad start.
I agree with you, that in 1928 some of the finest silent films were made. It would have really been interesting to see where silents would have developed after that (especially in the US and Germany), but alas, sound came... But maybe there will be a greater production of silent films some day in the future.
To add to 1928:
A woman of Affairs (great melodrama), White shadows in the South Seas (very interesting anti-imperialism movie), un chien andalou (you know ).

Re: We have a silent board!

Postby wpqx » Thu Jan 12, 2006 2:01 am

Ironic to mention A Woman of Affairs, I love that film, very liberal minded and drastically ahead of it's time. Certainly much more empowering than the supposedly feminist Female (1933). Also forgot about King Vidor's The Crowd which is only slightly overrated.

Re: We have a silent board!

Postby hengcs » Fri Jan 20, 2006 7:13 am

Well, the only silent films I could recall are those that I have watched when I was very young (i.e., without even knowing their titles). There aren't VCDs or DVDs then, so I have not gotten to watch any of those again ...

I presume a number of them were Chaplin's ... well, as a kid, at least we laughed at "exaggeration", but as we grow older, some people who dislike those might call those styles of humor "slapsticks" ... sigh ...

Anyway, can this recent short be considered a silent film?

How to Tell When a Relationship is Over in Ninety Seconds
United Kingdom | 1:30 | Tony Roche


hee hee

Re: We have a silent board!

Postby wpqx » Fri Jan 20, 2006 4:55 pm

There was dialogue in that, I'm a little ashamed at you Mr. Administrator. You need to do some research.

Re: We have a silent board!

Postby hengcs » Sat Jan 21, 2006 3:06 am

oh no, i forgot to take a relook at the short ...
i watched it too long ago ...

all i could recall is
... the famous "book" scene
... the "French" scene ...
hee hee ...
* naughty grin *

as for the admin
... i want to retire too ... so busy with my work
... but trying to post sth new every week ...
... anyone volunteers to take over?

Re: We have a silent board!

Postby Johndav » Sun Jun 25, 2006 11:54 am

There's been a valuable + interesting series by amiable, dry British comedian Paul Merton on BBC Four (i think that was the channel), with individual programmes on the silent clowns Chaplin, Keaton, Laurel and Hardy, and Harold Lloyd- each rounded off with a short. For me, the pick of these was undoubtedly Keaton's early little masterpiece The Goat. Alongside this, a programme by Matthew Sweet extolling the unsung virtues of British silent cinema, and several films screened, like A Cottage on Dartmoor (which he thinks the best British silent). Now i agree with Sweet that this film gives the lie to those who think of director Asquith as mainly a director of filmed theatre, cos it is quite imaginative. Still, i'm far from convinced that British silents are anywhere near the standard of the international masterpieces of the period- which unfortunately were not shown. So many viewers will have remained unaware of the true brilliance of the silent era; a missed opportunity.

Re: We have a silent board!

Postby trevor826 » Sun Jun 25, 2006 11:16 pm

John, I did catch a few of the programmes in the series but unfortunately missed A Cottage on Dartmoor however I did see Hindle Wakes which I've promised to write more on and Piccadilly. Hopefully a larger scale season of silent cinema will air sometime, as you mentioned "many viewers will have remained unaware of the true brilliance of the silent era" and I would certainly include myself in that number.

Cheers Trev.

Re: We have a silent board!

Postby A » Mon Jun 26, 2006 9:47 pm

Hmm, don't know many silent films from the UK, but I've heard good things about Picadilly. One great silent film from your island is definitely Alfred Hitchcock's Blackmail from 1929. You should see it if you "have remained unaware of the true brilliance of the silent era"


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