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leobertucelli

WHOSE REALLY WATCHING???

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Explain to me the point of TCM showing silent films? Especially those like a 1916 print of a so-called film that's fuzzy etc and more etc...I fail to be amused and find after a few minutes so UNWATCHABLE!

 

lEO

 

ps - i DO THINK I may be GOING TO BE SOMEONE'S emotional outlet...

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Perhaps the reason that TCM has SILENT SUNDAY and shows silents on other dates is that there are many people,including myself, that are interested in these classics.I personally would not sit thru "Intolerence" for three hours,not because of the film quality,but simply because it holds no interest for me.On the other hand, I welcome the beautifully restored Lon Chaney films.The bottom line I suppose ,is that it all depends on individual tastes.

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I can understand someone not liking silent films or finding anything about them at all appealing, but what I can't comprehend is why someone would question their inclusion on TCM, which is devoted to the history of cinema. To criticize a film that is almost one hundred years old for its inferior quality is ridiculous. Would you look at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and say, "Oh I wish the paint were brighter?" With all due respect, you are entitled to your opinion, but your question as to why these films should be shown baffles me as much as the films themselves baffle you. But, as someone once said, "It takes all kinds."

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professorecho,

I think you may have summed it up when you said "it takes all kind".I started seeing a few silents on PBS before the coming of cable.Frankly,I was bored with most of them.Then came cable and TCM. Thats when I became a fan. Chaneys "Tell it to the Marines",led me to Silent Sunday Night.Now I collect many of the silent classics.But one thing we need to keep in mind..It takes fans of all generes to keep TCM going.For now I think they are on the right track.

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I too am being drawn to the "Silent Side" lol. Years past, silent film did not grab my attention in the first few minutes. Like most of my viewing if my attention can't be had in a few minutes I move on. Today that has changed. Silent films do grab my attention and are enjoyable to watch no matter the condition of the film. I am sure this is because I have more knowledge of the times and the actors involved.

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Entertainment has really changed in the last 100 years. I think these days, with all the new technology, things are more spectacular than ever. Who would wanna watch a silent when you can watch all the cool effects in "Lord Of The Rings"?

 

Answer is: I would. :)

 

I think, depending on what kind of entertainment you're enjoying, you have to adjust yourself to that certain thing. I know when I sit down to watch a silent, it's going to be a visual and observing experience. It's not the kind of movie where I'm going to be able to watch and do dishes at the same time. LOL

 

And then you have to remember that slang was different back then... people's views were different back then... You just have to adjust your way of responding to it and your expectations of it, before you sit down and watch it. If you sit down and watch something like "The Sheik" and expect to be blown away in the same way you were when you saw Lord Of The Rings, then sorry. You'll be disappointed. But if you're looking for great entertainment based on the standard of what was offered at a given time in history, and are able to fully appreciate that, then you're gonna have a ball. :)

 

 

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> You just have to adjust your way of

> responding to it and your expectations of it, before

> you sit down and watch it.

 

 

Very often while watching an older film I will fantasize that I am in a theatre at the time of the film's release, watching it for the first time with a contemporary audience. All it takes is a minimum knowledge of history and a maximum surplus of imagination. Does anyone else ever do this?

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> Very often while watching an older film I will

> fantasize that I am in a theatre at the time of the

> film's release, watching it for the first time with a

> contemporary audience. All it takes is a minimum

> knowledge of history and a maximum surplus of

> imagination. Does anyone else ever do this?

 

That's exactly how I watch them. I think of the time period it came from and think of it from a perspective of a person living in that time period. And when you do that, you can really appreciate how people of that time could relate to those characters. And when I do that, they seem very new to me. :)

 

 

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i'm watching, and i'm REALLY WATCHING. unlike a lot of the films on TCM where i can be doing something else at the same time (like with Lady From Shanghai right now), when the silents are on they have my full and complete attention. what a revelation this month of Chaplin films has been! i had seen many of these silents years ago as a poor student at the Cinematheque in Paris, where we could watch films all day for one franc. since then, silents have been few and far between for me, and i am now totally and completely in thrall to them. i love them all. Mare Nostrum was terrific -- anyone else catch that one?

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Well damn, most of us've been calling for the showing of more silents on TCM!

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This is in no way a put-down of the original poster on this thread, but isn't always a little sad and bewildering to encounter someone who can't find the same joy in something you do? It's all subjective, of course, and you have to respect someone else's judgement no matter how it may contrast your own, but I always find it kind of sad that people can't see anything in the art that inspires me, in this case, the utter marvel I feel in watching silent films.

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lol, prof, frankly i'm more saddened and bewildered by my own inability to appreciate what the other 99% of today's movie fans seem to enjoy so much. frankly i can barely tolerate any of it.

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Yes, Arslong, same here. I'm only 45 years old, but must be considered an old man by the movie studios these days, given that so few new releases seemed aimed at adults. The experience of going to the theatre to see a new movie does not interest me much anymore on a variety of levels, not just the films themselves. Thankfully here in Los Angeles there are a number of venues which show old movies and get audiences who are actually there to see the movie, not talk or throw things at the screen or indulge in oral sex (yes, this happened a few rows behind me when I saw a matinee of that God-awful Ron Howard film RANSOM). As Peter Bogdanovich once said: Any movie that you haven't seen is a NEW movie, regardless of when it was made. So I feel that I see "NEW" movies all the time.

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To expand upon the thoughtful comments of harlowkeatongirl and others, what we have here is failure to appreciate.

 

While silent films may not be for everyone, they are for anyone with a true sense of film appreciation. Keep in mind when these movies were made, how they were made, and judge them not for their limitations but admire their genius of accomplishment in spite of them. The unfortunate quality of many of these early films is more a commentary on past disregard for preservation than it is for the film-making technology of the time and therefore must sadly be accepted (of the hundreds of silent films that remain, thousands are lost forever). Certainly there are a good number of silent movies with ?let?s put on a show right here? production values which pale in comparison to later standards, but often even these exercises in shadowboxing exhibit more artistic stimulation than the most modern of cinematic efforts. Perhaps it is only a matter of opinion, but would one just as easily disdain a current theatrical production (or film as a play) merely because of it?s lack of realistic set design (think post-modern Shakespeare for example). Indeed, many of these silent films could actually be considered well-ahead of its time with minimalist sets and costumes, even if the reality seems more making-due-with-what?s-available. Many of the stunts and gags remain unmatched to this day. It is an entertainment form in which the process itself often provides the thrill of the ride. Much of the admiration of silent films for the modern audience comes from this forced duality of displacement whereby, because of the film?s quality, the viewer not only absorbes the story being told but also the method of its telling ? that is, the sensibilities (film-making or otherwise) of the period from which it came. These works not only mark history, but they themselves are history. In this manner, the journey often proves more satisfying than the destination.

 

For the viewership opinions of boredom and disinterest let there at least first be an acknowlegement of proper perspective. Understand for all the ?been there, done that? feelings that first-time viewings of silent films can provoke , these are the original filmic foundations from which all others flow. Being first does not necessarily mean being best, but these elders do command a certain respect if for no other reason. Reflect too upon the universal nature of film and how movies from this era were interchangably shown without regard to linguistic barriers. Silent movies are not hindered by their lack of sound, they are more esteemable because of it. Part of the remaining appeal of silent films is that they do require your attention. It is the viewer?s participant imagination that bridges the gap. One must watch in order to see. Thus, silent films have a kind of respect-aspect built-in to the process. This is the station where most of today?s short-attention-span populous gets off, by assessing their prejudices a priori. But with an informed perspective the modern-era viewer, so often too quick to dismiss the distant past without full consideration, may gain a better appreciation not only for silent movies but all the classic films ? and that with the silent films in particular the more a viewer puts into the experience the more it will be enjoyed, possibly treasured. That is part of the purpose of a network such as Turner Classic Movies, to entertain and enlighten with rewarding experiences.

 

To paraphrase the bard, ?the fault is not in our [silent] stars, but in ourselves??

 

 

On a related note, anyone in the Los Angeles area should be sure to visit the world?s only silent movie house. Here one may enjoy the full movie-going experience of yesteryear, with various shorts, newsreels, and double-features all accompanied by live organ music in a comfortable setting decorated with giant photos of the greatest silent movie stars. [No affiliation to this poster.]

 

http://www.silentmovietheater.com

 

 

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Buster's eloquent analysis of appreciating silent films does bring to mind the subject of antiquated technology. Watching these films today, in a theatre, will never completely approximate what it was like to see them upon first release. From talking with film industry sound technicians here in Los Angeles I learned that the equipment used to transmit movie sound in the 30's and 40's resulted in beautiful clarity and pitch. So why do so many old movies sound so scratchy when we watch them in theatres or on television today? Well, part of it has to do with the age of the print, but just as much is caused by our modern sound technology, which is too sophisticated to reproduce the once crystal clear sounding tracks of old. Ironic, isn't it? Thus it's not always the fault of the movies that they seem so OLD. So when watching vintage films, silent or otherwise, it's important not to dwell on their apparent technological limitations or flaws, but instead be thrilled over how miraculous they once were.

 

(One quick note about the SILENT MOVIE THEATRE in Los Angeles. Their programming is sporadic, so it's best to always check their website or contact them before venturing there. The only upcoming event scheduled is an Easter afternoon screening of Cecil B. Demilles 1927 KING OF KINGS, with live musical accompanient by the 91 year old legendary organist, Bob Mitchell. It is indeed a beautiful little theatre and deserves support, but I sometimes have problems with them charging too high an admission price for 16mm, especially when 35mm prints of a title do exist).

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I am for one...so you saw one lousy print from 1916 and because the print wasn't up to par you dislike all silent movies?

You do realize that there are different genres of silents ie, German expressionism,comedy,slapstick, melodramas etc an extremely mixed bag. Also,in 1916 the movies were in its infancy so the quality differs greatly from something like Greed from Erich von Stroheim in the late '20's.

I suppose you don't or can't appreciate the artistry of say Keaton,Chaplin, Lon Chaney,Garbo etc.

You are entitled to think whatever you want to think but it just seems so narrowminded.

Why not just watch Starz?They have run of the mill dishwater dull movies, buy hey they do talk!

 

Gingerbabynyc

 

 

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This may stray a bit from the thread,but preferences for certain genres of films change with fans over the years.I doubt that I would have had the same interest in silent films thirty years ago[i'm 69 years old} that I have now. For instance,I love B westerns and old serials.If there were a theater in town that showed them today,I would be a regular patron.The same for silent movies.I would pay todays prices for good silent films. Alas,there aren't any such theaters,so I have to content myself with television.For me TCM fills that void.Silent movie makers had to depend in large measure on stunning visuals. A thread "Black and white beauties" can still be found in our forums. View a pristine print of "Sunrise" and you will see a supberb example of silent film making.The acting and direction are excellent and the visuals are beautiful to see.In summation,silents are not for everyone.The same can be said for serials and B westerns,my personal favorites.These genres are there for viewers to see and make their own choices. Hopefully the viewers will be the richer for it.

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