Essential Silent Films

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Essential Silent Films

Postby john-5 » Fri Jan 04, 2002 4:15 pm

Silent films are rarely seen by the public, so i'd like to draw attention to some essential ones(many others worth seeing i've not listed);Asterisks denote those i especially love/admire.
A Trip to the Moon(Melies)
Birth of a Nation (Griffith)
The Outlaw and his Wife (Sjostrom)
The Cabinet of Dr Caligari(Wiene)
Broken Blossoms(Griffith)
The Phantom Carriage(Sjostrom)
The Kid(Chaplin)
Nanook of the North(Flaherty)
Sherlock Jnr(Keaton)*
The Navigator(Keaton,Crisp)
Battleship Potemkin (Eisenstein)*
The Gold Rush(Chaplin)*
The General(Keaton,Bruckman)*
A Page of Madness(Kinugasa)
Berlin Symphony of a Great City(Ruttmann)
An Italian Straw Hat(Clair)
The Chess Player(Bernard)*
The Passion of Joan of Arc(Dreyer)*
Man with a Movie Camera(Vertov)*
Pandora's Box(Pabst)*
The Wind (Sjostrom)
Un Chien Andalou(Bunuel)
The Crowd (Vidor)
People on Sunday(Ulmer,Siodmak)*
Earth (Dovzhenko)
City Lights (Chaplin)
I was Born but(Ozu)
Modern Times(Chaplin)
Which Silents do you consider best?

Re: Essential Silent Films

Postby Ockien » Sat Jan 05, 2002 2:44 am

I would also like to add V.I. Pudovkin's work:
Mother (1926)
Stom Over Asia (1928)

ANd I know that they were propaganda films but they were well made.

Re: Essential Silent Films

Postby Ockien » Sat Jan 05, 2002 2:45 am

I apologize, for I did not see you mentioned Mother my mistake.

Re: Essential Silent Films

Postby Ockien » Sat Jan 05, 2002 2:47 am

Oh and I must say that I thought you would have favored Napoleon because for those who have seen it it is rated very highly.

Re: Essential Silent Films

Postby john-5 » Sat Jan 05, 2002 5:01 am

i saw Storm over Asia on video,in a very poor print,which spoilt my enjoyment.In fact i very nearly chose it anyway,cos it's well thought of,but my list had to end somewhere.I preferred to highlight The Chess Player,rather than the monumental,extraordinary Napoleon,as it's relatively unknown,needing the publicity more.Many of the Napoleon film crew were used in it;it's a grand,romantic adventure set in Russian-ruled Poland in 1776,something of a secret treasure,i think.Of course,Napoleon's an acknowledged masterpiece, so you were quite right.

Re: Essential Silent Films

Postby Ockien » Sat Jan 05, 2002 11:16 pm

Interesting, was wondering how I could get a copy of The Chess Player and if has anything to do with chess or if it's just a metaphor for war or something.

Re: Essential Silent Films

Postby john-5 » Sun Jan 06, 2002 6:02 am

The title of The Chess Player refers to an automaton piece which features prominently,and also to the dashing young Polish Army Officer who's the hero.The film was restored,like Napoleon,by Kevin Brownlow.It features stirring battle scenes,lovely snowscapes,fireworks,a masked ball at the Winter Palace,a range of unusual utomata,and a hefty dose of romanticism.The initial stages arethe least striking.
You may be able to obtain it from MovieMail, a world cinema video company,based in Britain,for whom i do short (50 word)reviews,articles(including on our mutual friend Tarkovsky,which i hope did him some justice)and selections of recommendations in different categories,for their Newsletters and Catalogues.As an enthusiast,not an employee.They rent as well as sell videos,which is very useful,particularly as tbe BBC and other channels here in Britain show ever fewer "foreign language"films.I'm not positive whether they send abroad,but i got my copy from them..Their email; Website;
I'd also recommend People on Sunday, a 1929 mixture of fiction and documentary,covering 4 young peple on a Berlin lakeside outing.Co-directed by Ulmer and Siodamk,scripted by Billy Wilder(!),photographed by Schufftan(famous for work n Metropolis),and with Fred Zinnemann as asistant director(if i remember rightly).Our film society at Brecon,Wales screened it last month,it was very popular.We have a resident silent film composer,who's superb and gets to know the films bettter than anyone(in the world probably).We've screened several classic silents.

Re: Essential Silent Films

Postby katsuben » Tue Feb 19, 2002 1:46 am

Anyone who enjoys performing dogs should probably see RESCUED BY ROVER (Hepworth, 1901/2?). I think INGEBORG HOLM (Sjostrom, 1916?) should be on the list. Also Ozu's I WAS BORN BUT-- (1932) and THE SENTIMENTAL BLOKE (Raymond Longford, 1917?). All dates from memory. :)

Re: Essential Silent Films

Postby katsuben » Tue Feb 19, 2002 1:50 am

Also Sjostrom's HE WHO GETS SLAPPED (1924) and Tod Browning's THE UNKNOWN (1927) which of course are both circus/quasi-bizarro films (e.g. Lon Chaney's armless knife-throwing act).

Re: Essential Silent Films

Postby katsuben » Tue Feb 19, 2002 1:52 am

Of course I WAS BORN BUT-- is already on the list! Have you seen any films directed by Leonce Perret?


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