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bombaybob

Silent Film Ideas

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Yesterday I rewatched Harold Lloyd's The Kid Brother (1927). A number of family groups turned out to see it. Afterwards I was talking to the theater programmer, who talked about recognizing various gags from Scooby Doo and other animated series. This might be a useful angle to attract modern audiences.

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5 hours ago, Polly of the Pre-Codes said:

Yesterday I rewatched Harold Lloyd's The Kid Brother (1927). A number of family groups turned out to see it. Afterwards I was talking to the theater programmer, who talked about recognizing various gags from Scooby Doo and other animated series. This might be a useful angle to attract modern audiences.

Many great cartoon characters were directly inspired by silent comics.  (Except for Scooby-Doo, which was inspired by Dobie Gillis, but that's another discussion.)

It's easy to explain Buster Keaton, for example, by describing him as "Wile E. Coyote", and audiences in the 30's always referred to classic Mickey Mouse as "a little Harold Lloyd".  We got our kids hooked on the vintage 60's Pink Panther cartoons, but never quite got to make the connection over to watching classic Chaplin shorts.

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On 11/9/2017 at 6:26 AM, TopBilled said:

THE WIND (1928). It's spectacularly visual and Lillian Gish gives a timeless performance.

Screen shot 2017-11-09 at 6.31.35 AM.png

Quoting my own earlier post to let the OP know this film is airing on TCM tomorrow evening, the 17th of November.

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One last recommendation for a striking silent that is very different in feel from most USA productions - 1928's The Passion of Joan of Arc. I was reminded by it's  presence on today's TCM schedule - if you miss it today, it's worth looking out for, as it never fails to grab & keep one's attention.

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On 11/16/2017 at 9:58 AM, TopBilled said:

Quoting my own earlier post to let the OP know this film is airing on TCM tomorrow evening, the 17th of November.

i love Lillian's pre-film introduction in which she recalls her dissatisfaction with the happy ending, stating that the executives told her one unhappy ending could ruin her career, and she had already had seven!:lol: What a lady!

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8 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

This is all making me long for the old '60's TV show "Fractured Flickers" hosted by HANS CONRIED.   ;)

I remember the public domain "goofy" dubs, but I also remember some local-station morning kids' shows also showing (cheap) condensed versions of the classics, with funny "real" narration for what was happening onscreen--
That was the first time I ever saw Keaton's Seven Chances (complete with explaining the gag of why Buster was going out marriage-proposing already carrying tickets to Niagara Falls and Reno), and my lasting image of "silent comedy" from childhood is still the Wile E.-like boulder avalanche scattering stampedes of enraged brides.

That helped me get over most first-timers' trepidation about silent films, namely, "Do these things actually have coherent plots, or do the Keystone Kops just run around and drive cars over cliffs?"  Needless to say, the Bullwinkle version didn't help.

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On 11/9/2017 at 6:45 PM, Pier_Angeli said:

Show Al Jolson's 'The Jazz Singer'.  I know it's not truly silent but that's a good one.  Also show Fritz Lang's 'Metropolis'.  Tonight I watched the 1925 silent 'The Wizard of Oz' with Dorothy Dwan. 

The blackface in TJS is a turnoff for people who are not familiar with US history.  Save that one for college classes - and TCM.

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24 minutes ago, karlofffan said:

The blackface in TJS is a turnoff for people who are not familiar with US history.  Save that one for college classes - and TCM.

Alternatively - show the film with some accompanying discussion, so that the unfamiliar can learn that history (not just US history either, as blackface has also existed in various forms outside the US and from earlier times).

1 hour ago, EricJ said:

I remember the public domain "goofy" dubs, but I also remember some local-station morning kids' shows also showing (cheap) condensed versions of the classics, with funny "real" narration for what was happening onscreen--
That was the first time I ever saw Keaton's Seven Chances (complete with explaining the gag of why Buster was going out marriage-proposing already carrying tickets to Niagara Falls and Reno), and my lasting image of "silent comedy" from childhood is still the Wile E.-like boulder avalanche scattering stampedes of enraged brides.

That helped me get over most first-timers' trepidation about silent films, namely, "Do these things actually have coherent plots, or do the Keystone Kops just run around and drive cars over cliffs?"  Needless to say, the Bullwinkle version didn't help.

I suspect that there's an age group out there who's introduction to silent's was through these compilation grab-bags & their overlaid dub tracks designed to give some context to all the now out-of-context gag clips. Some obviously managed to proceed further & explore the source materials, but I do wonder how many never got further than having the same trepidation that you describe, of whether these things ever actually had plots & a reason to exist, other than to cheaply fill the minutes before the next program? These clip compilations of silents rarely seem to show up on broadcast TV today (replaced by modern clip reels of people driving vehicles into things), so some folks may never have seen any silent footage outside of YouTube & appearances inside other films/shows...

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