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12 Silent Films (You Can Watch) That Still Hold Up

I could probably name more than 12, but anything which promotes silent film is okay with me

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by Anonymousreply 5705/03/2021

Surprised this didn't make the list:

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by Anonymousreply 105/02/2021

"Birth of a Nation"

by Anonymousreply 205/02/2021

I’ve only watched a handful of silent movies but this list seems exceptionally crappy. No Chaplin or Keaton, Murnau’s Sunrise?

by Anonymousreply 305/02/2021

I find Harold Lloyd's The Freshman delightful

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by Anonymousreply 405/02/2021

Buster Keaton

The General

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by Anonymousreply 505/02/2021

OP seems to rely on autodidact luck in her development of a love for early film.

("Silent" can trigger today's youthful, boneless auteurs.)

by Anonymousreply 605/02/2021

Norma Shearer in A Lady of Chance, a 1928 silent comedy with sound effects added.

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by Anonymousreply 705/02/2021

[quote]I’ve only watched a handful of silent movies but this list seems exceptionally crappy. No Chaplin or Keaton, Murnau’s Sunrise?

Some of the choices do seem odd. Not so much for their positives, but some of the writer's negative comments which are presumably for modern generations. ("This film gives a bad representation of mental asylums which were prominent at the time" or whatever. WTF?) But I agree that movies like Sunrise still holds up very well, despite it's old fashioned, countrified charm.

by Anonymousreply 805/02/2021

Battleship Potemkin. It even held my high school students' attention.

by Anonymousreply 905/02/2021

Wow! Hella surprised they mentioned Murnau's Faust (I just watched the BluRay out from Kino a couple days ago), but surprised they didn't mention Haxan, especially since it's so popular with hipsters. Great old Danish film all about witchcraft which directly inspired the Night on Bald Mountain sequence in Disney's Fantasia. There are a LOT of public domain versions floating around - including a truncated version from the 1960s with an added jazz score and narration by William S. Burroughs (!) of all people...

by Anonymousreply 1005/02/2021

R5 This movie is #18 on AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies, yet so few people know it. Genius.

by Anonymousreply 1105/02/2021

How did this not make the list?

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by Anonymousreply 1205/02/2021

PANDORA'S BOX (29): Louise Brooks gave the first "modern" acting performance on screen.

Hitchcock's BLACKMAIL (29): the sound version is flawed. Watch the silent version.

by Anonymousreply 1305/02/2021

The one thing I hate about silent films (which isn't their fault in 2020) is that sometimes the new scores are just AWFUL.

I watched The Winning of Barbara Worth last year and I had to mute it because the score was so awful. The film itself was quite compelling!!

by Anonymousreply 1405/02/2021

R8 To be generous to the list compiler, I think that in many ways the films of Keaton and Chaplin have stood the test of time very well -- better than 99.9% of other silent films. Their work doesn't need to be be on a top 10 list. What more can be said about them?

by Anonymousreply 1505/02/2021

I'd add the 1925 Ben Hur with Francis X. Bushman and Ramon Novarro. Tons of full-frontal nudity and naughtiness, a violent/deadly chariot race, and all wrapped up in good Christian themes so it's never inappropriate. ;)

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by Anonymousreply 1605/02/2021

The correct music is crucial. There's a video of Metropolis that uses the original score that was written for it at the time. Very effective. Also, there's a version of Ben-Hur that uses a terrific score by Carl Davis.

by Anonymousreply 1705/02/2021

R16 I prefer "Been Her," the first film about transgenderism.

by Anonymousreply 1805/02/2021

Body And Soul isn't really good. Very clunky narrative in spite of Robeson. The tacked on ending the director was forced to add is totally confusing.

Speaking of religious films, the original King of Kings was better than I expected.

by Anonymousreply 1905/02/2021

The author is more interested in diversity quotas rather than pick ing 10 of the greatest.

by Anonymousreply 2005/02/2021

If you're a fan of silent movies, be sure to check out the website!

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by Anonymousreply 2105/02/2021

"Greed" and "Intolerance" are wild.

by Anonymousreply 2205/02/2021

City Lights, The Goldrush.

by Anonymousreply 2305/02/2021

That site must be staffed with people on crack if they haven't included "The Passion of Joan of Arc", which contains one of the best performances in the entire history of film.

by Anonymousreply 2405/02/2021

R13 - I didn't know there was a silent version of Blackmail.

BTW a really good silent Hitchcock film to check out is The Lodger.

by Anonymousreply 2505/02/2021

Can't believe they didn't mention "Wings." Saw it on TCM for the first time last year and was blown away. The aviation sequences were incredible, especially considering the movie was made 94 years ago. The cinematography is brilliant, and there's a great single-take shot where the camera pans through rows of tables in a restaurant. One of the couples at a table is a lesbian couple.

And the scene where the guy kisses his dying buddy on the lips - wow.

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by Anonymousreply 2605/02/2021

R26 Can anyone watch that scene without shedding a tear? Gets me every time.

by Anonymousreply 2705/02/2021

Wings is wonderful! It’s interesting to compare it to the next year’s Best Movie winner, Broadway Melody. Wings has astonishing camera work. For Broadway Melody, an early sound movie, the camera never moves, due to the microphones. It’s like movie making suddenly went backwards.

by Anonymousreply 2805/02/2021

R28 Agreed. "Wings" was a masterpiece.

by Anonymousreply 2905/02/2021

Here’s a quote that I love: Walter Kerr said that silent movies were the only art form that had a beginning, middle, and an end.

by Anonymousreply 3005/02/2021

Helen Lawson, she played mothers so well, even then.

by Anonymousreply 3105/02/2021

I don't see Queen Kelly on this list.

by Anonymousreply 3205/02/2021

It took almost 3 years for the sound camera to recover the mobility of the late silent period. By 1931, movies were "back on track."

by Anonymousreply 3305/02/2021

Tillie's Punctured Romance with Charlie Chaplin and Marie Dressler is still so very very funny more than 100 years later

by Anonymousreply 3405/02/2021

J'adore 'Beggars of Life' with Louise Brooks and the hunky Richard Arlen. Other than the hideously distracting baby-like bonnet Brooks wears in the last 20 minutes everything about the film is pretty much perfect.

Another underrated silent treasure is Dreyer's 'The Parson's Widow', a bizarre and very amusing black comedy.

by Anonymousreply 3505/02/2021

How could they not include the grandeur that was Theda Bara?

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by Anonymousreply 3605/02/2021

I was going to say Wings, too. But there are plenty of silent movies that "hold up." The link at OP seems to presuppose ignorantly that almost everything was garbage before Al Jolson opened his trap.

by Anonymousreply 3705/02/2021

[italic]Tillie's Punctured Romance[/italic] (1914), referenced by R34

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by Anonymousreply 3805/02/2021

Oh my god, Lillian Gish in The Wind. It’s a masterpiece. A woman who marries a Kansas farmer is left in their house on the dust flats while he goes in search of work and she slowly goes mad. Fucking wonderful, and the score is just as good.

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by Anonymousreply 3905/02/2021

A couple of years ago, I saw Lang's "Metropolis" and Hitchcock's "The Lodger" in a cinematheque with contemporary accompanying soundtracks and enjoyed them both immensely.

by Anonymousreply 4005/02/2021

Another great one is [italic]The Phantom Carriage[italic]. Brilliant.

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by Anonymousreply 4105/02/2021

Yeah, they always have to include "ethnic" films and women directors these days in their lists, even if no one has heard of them, or they're not very good. Same when the archives release their collections on DVD - always something about Native Americans, various unknown women directors, other boring stuff no one wants to see. After the release of one of these sets, someone said, "What, no North Dakota Podiatrist's Convention of 1925?" My favorite comment ever.

by Anonymousreply 4205/02/2021

No mention of Nosferatu or Lon Cheney’s Phantom of the Opera?

Nosferatu may be the BEST Dracula movie ever made.

by Anonymousreply 4305/02/2021

Pandora's Box, starring Louise Brooks. The Crowd, and The Big Parade, directed by King Vidor. The Student Prince In Old Heidelberg, directed by Erst Lubitsch, starring Ramon Novarro and Norma Shearer. Any number of Lon Chaney movies. DeMille did some great silents.

by Anonymousreply 4405/02/2021


by Anonymousreply 4505/02/2021

No Sunrise?

by Anonymousreply 4605/02/2021

The tracking shot from Wings referred to by R26, panning past affectionate lesbians and ending with the adorable Buddy Rogers.

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by Anonymousreply 4705/02/2021

R47 Incredible shot, even by today's standards. And the fact that the scene would show two lesbians in 1927 was groundbreaking.

by Anonymousreply 4805/02/2021

I went on silent movie kick when I was a student. Since I lived in LA I was fortunate to have a lot of silent reference points. We even had a Silent Movie theater. I visted Pickfair, and Falcons Lair before they were torn down. I was so excited when they discovered a intact print of Beyond The Rocks (1922), This was the long lost legendary pairing of Gloria Swanson and Rudolph Valentino. Swanson wrote about the film in her auto bio saying her dress cost $5000 , she danced the tango with Rudy. Their kiss was soo long it was edited because it was considered censurable. Got my ticket to the premiere at AMPAS. First time seen by an audience in 57 years. As the lights dimmed I held my breath in anticipation. When the lights came up my friend turned to me and said " Some things should remain lost." BTY: I missed the premiere of Brokeback Mountain to see it.

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by Anonymousreply 4905/02/2021

[quote]No Chaplin or Keaton, Murnau’s Sunrise?

These are exactly what I was going to say.

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by Anonymousreply 5005/02/2021

BODY AND SOUL is Oscar Micheaux's most competent film, and just about passes muster because of Robeson's participation. Every other one I've seen (a lot of them are on the Criterion Channel) are of Ed Wood, Jr.-level ineptitude--from the acting to the editing to the dialogue.

As an outsider, he faced challenges, yes, but he never improved. And claims for his importance are exaggerated.

by Anonymousreply 5105/02/2021

I watched Häxan only a couple of weeks ago for the first time and I thought it was great and definitely still held up, and had some interesting things to say.

by Anonymousreply 5205/02/2021

Get Hur.

by Anonymousreply 5305/03/2021

The whole thing is so condescending. A dozen films from three decades of movie making “holding up”?

by Anonymousreply 5405/03/2021

The Flesh and the Devil with Greta Garbo and John Gilbert. Watched the whole movie a couple of years ago on YT when you can watch silent movies for free. This was the movie where they said Garbo and Gilbert fell in love, well maybe he fell in love, not her.

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by Anonymousreply 5505/03/2021

R50 Sunrise was an amazing film, and George O'Brien was beautiful to look at.

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by Anonymousreply 5605/03/2021

I have the blu ray of this restoration and it’s great!

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by Anonymousreply 5705/03/2021
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