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Silent Film Enthusiast Wonders...


lizzyanne
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Alright, so maybe I'm too new to be a true enthusiast. I recently purchased Wings to add to my Academy Award Winners collection, and I was enchanted by the novelty of silent film, and the unique way it entertained that talkies do not. If some true enthusiasts could recommend some "don't miss" classics in this genre to get me started, it would be wonderful. Thank you!

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*Wings* is a good start. So are *Ben Hur* , *King of Kings* , and *The Mark of Zorro* . And tonight, there's going to be some Mack Sennett. Silent comedies are a good way to "ease" into the realm of silents. They're not for everybody's taste.

 

 

Sepiatone

 

 

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THE THIEF OF BAGDAD with Douglas Fairbanks is a fun adventure, with amazing sets and stunts. Buster Keaton films like SHERLOCK JR. and THE CAMERAMAN, and Charlie Chaplin films like THE GOLD RUSH, MODERN TIMES, and CITY LIGHTS are some of the ones that made me interested in seeing more silent movies.

 

 

SHOW PEOPLE with Marion Davies, shown fairly often on TCM, is a delightful comedy about a girl who goes to Hollywood to be a movie star. OUR DANCING DAUGHTERS with a young and lively Joan Crawford has music but no dialogue, and you may have met girls in high school like the ones in the film.

 

 

Some cities have groups which will occasionally show silent films with live music from an organist or even a small orchestra. Enjoy your discoveries!

 

 

 

 

 

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When it comes to silent films one of my favorites is John Ford's THE IRON HORSE (1924) starring George O'Brien and Madge Bellamy. I'm pretty sure TCM showed a few years ago, but not recently so I suspect they don't have the rights anymore.

 

It is available on DVD either as a single release or as part of the Ford at Fox Silent Epics set. I have the single and it includes both the U.S. and International release versions.

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Milestone just released the MARY PICKFORD RAGS AND RICHES Collection on DVD and Blu-ray. It contains four films, three features and a short. All three features POOR LITTLE RICH GIRL, THE HOODLUM, and SPARROWS, are wonderful and contain outstanding orchestral scores. The set can be ordered in either format for 20% off direct from the Milestone website. All you need to do is subscribe to the Milestone news letter, or register as a member on Nitrateville to get the discount. I bought the Blu-ray set a couple months ago and it is probably the best Silent release of the year so far. Better than WINGS from Paramount, because that was just one movie and special features.

 

http://milestonefilms.com/products/rags-and-riches-the-mary-pickford-collection

 

http://nitrateville.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=12565

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A few others you might enjoy:

 

Chaplin's "The Kid"

D.W. Griffitrh's "Birth of A Nation" Not to everyone's taste, but marvel at a master director.

Lillian Gish "The Wind"

King Vidor's "The Big Parade" Lets hope it is on DVD soon.

Harold Lloyd "Safety Last"

Lon Chaney "The Hunchback of Notra Dame"

 

Edited by: fredbaetz on Sep 6, 2012 1:44 PM

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The earliest Keystone's that are airing tonight might not be all that good, but as they get into the second half of the Teen's and early 20's in the coming weeks the films improve significantly. Really looking forward to seeing Mabel Normand's MICKEY (1918) in a couple weeks.

 

Sepiatone,

 

Cecil B. De Mille's THE KING OF KINGS is an excellent suggestion I failed to mention. Make sure you get the Criterion version with both cuts of the film. Road Show and re-edited Movie-tone track re-issue. With Fairbanks THE MARK OF ZORRO (1920) the best version is found on the Flicker Alley A MODERN MUSKETEER box-set. However, virtually the same release can be bought individually on the Mont Alto Orchestra Website without having to purchase the expensive box set.

 

The Murnau/Borzage Box set from Fox has a bunch of great Silents. Among others it contains SUNRISE, (Much better transfer than the older sigle disc release), SEVENTH HEAVEN, STREET ANGEL, LUCKY STAR, and CITY GIRL, plus what survives of Borzage's THE RIVER, a fascinating documentarty and much more. It is expensive though. You can get the same package of films in two disc sets fmuch cheaper rom the BFI, but they are region 2 Pal discs. SEVENTH HEAVEN is one of my all time favorites. These have also been released on Blu-ray in France.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Don't forget "The Crowd" (1928), directed by King Vidor (who also did "Show People" that year). To me, it's everything "It's A Wonderful Life" was, without the '40s sanctimoniousness.

 

Also, check out some of Marion Davies' other comedies ("The Patsy," "The Fair Co-Ed") and those of her contemporaries such as Colleen Moore, Clara Bow and Constance Talmadge. Their work was the forerunner of '30s screwball.

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My favorite silent movies that I highly recommend are Our Hospitality(1923) featuring Buster Keaton. The Play House (Silent Short also featuring Buster Keaton). This one is great cause it shows you just how talented Buster Keaton was with the camera. to be able to time those scenes perfectly is amazing. When you watch it you will understand what I am talking about. The Freshman Featuring Harold Lloyd. Oliver Twist- Lon Chaney and Jackie Coogan. Jackie Coogan was an amazing young actor!!

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Some other great Forign Silents on DVD would include Raymond Bernard's *THE CHESS PLAYER (1926),* G. W. Pabst *THE LOVE OF JEANNE NEY (1927),* and *THE WHITE HELL OF PITZ PALU* (1929). Along with the usual suspects such as Murnau's *FAUST (1926),* and Fritz Lange's *METROPOLIS.* Make sure you get the right version of *METROPOLIS,* not the Modar version with a Rock Score from the 80's. Both are on DVD and Blu-ray. Speaking of Lang, in November Kino will release the brand new restoration of *DIE NIBELUGEN (1923).* For a mind bender check out *OUR HEAVENLY BODIES (1925),* think that was original? Maybe not.

 

If you can find it the Jacque Feyer Box set is tremendous. Been out of print for awhile though.

 

With Murnau you want the Ultimate Edition *NOSFERATU* from Kino. Magnificent print with a new recording of the original 1922 Orchestral score composed by Hans Erdmann. They have released at least two previous versions so you have to be careful. Plus there are numerous inferior public-domain transfers out there.

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At present most of the Harold Lloyd's are out of print on DVD. Including GIRL SHY (1924) one of the best Romantic comedies ever made. But the Lloyd box-set may be re-released on Blu-ray in the coming year though probably on a different label. Or at least soem of his major features are expected to debut on Blu-ray.

 

Fairbanks THE THIEF OF BAGDAD is being issued soon on Blu-ray in a brand new restoration from Cohen with the Carl Davis score. It has been on Laser-disc with the Davis score many years ago, but never on DVD or Blu-ray. Cohen will also be releasing INTOLERANCE with the Carl Davis score. Was supposed to be before tghe end of the year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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There are also Louise Brook's two great silents with Pabst: Diary of a Lost Girl, and Pandora;s Box. Anything by Murnau, in addition to Sunrise, there is his magnificent version of Faust, The Last Laugh, and, of course, Nosferatu, the original vampire movie.

 

Greta Garbo films include, Flesh and the Devil, Love (an adaptation of Anna Karenina), The Mysterious Lady, A Woman of Affairs, and the Single Standard.

 

Norma Shearer silents include He Who Gets Slapped, The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg, and A Lady of Chance.

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> {quote:title=lizzyanne wrote:}{quote}I recently purchased Wings to add to my Academy Award Winners collection, and I was enchanted by the novelty of silent film, and the unique way it entertained that talkies do not.

I'm curious by your phrase "the novelty of silent film". Why do you refer to them as a "novelty"? ?:| That's how movies were for over 30 years before sound came along...they were silent. I don't consider them a novelty...just the same as any sound film. Movies are movies.

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I'm sorry if my choice of words offended you. If we're correcting each other, let me say your opening sentense needs a secondary verb. The correct syntax would be "I'm struck curious by..." Also, silent films are a novelty in today's world. The aspects of pantomime, antiquated makeup practices, and early, though impressive, special effects make viewing the films an unusual experience by daily standards, one of the definitions of "novelty." I am not suggesting the films are not emotionally moving; indeed, Wings had me on the edge of my seat, and City Lights left me in tears.

 

Thank you to everyone else for your kind and thoughtful suggestions! I thoroughly enjoyed the Mack Sennett marathon last Thursday...anyone else?

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> {quote:title=lizzyanne wrote:}{quote}I'm sorry if my choice of words offended you. If we're correcting each other, let me say your opening sentense needs a secondary verb. The correct syntax would be "I'm struck curious by..." Also, silent films are a novelty in today's world.

Don't overreact...I wasn't "offended", I simply said I was curious. I also said that *I* didn't consider silent films to be a novelty...and I also don't see that we're "correcting" each other because I certainly wasn't correcting you, but I was asking a simple question. There was no need to snap back regarding my syntax.

 

This is getting to be a bit ridiculous when people can't even make a simply reply or ask a simple question on a forum without other going overboard and questioning and/or correcting every little thing that someone replies with. This goes back to what I pointed out in one of the other threads (possibly the Flamewars thread?) where I said it's unfortunate how people seem to frequently need to explain the explanation of the explanation of their replies, etc.

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Now you're BOTH "overeacting". Some people get testy when one tries to correct their grammar, whether spoken or written. I DON'T, because it's sort of a "casual" hobby of mine to seek improvement of it(preposition alert!). And yes, the "correct" syntax is beside the point.

 

 

 

As long as we're in "correction" mode, I'll suggest that silent movies could only be a "novelty" if "talkies" came first. They would be considered a novelty now, as was the case recently with the much ballyhooed film *The Artist* . As was Black & White movies such as *The Last Picture Show* and *Paper Moon* were in the 1970's, due to color filmed movies being the norm for so long.

 

 

 

But be warned, Lizzyanne. One "could care less" or "sherbert" outa you, and I'll be ON ya like a duck on a Junebug! ;)

 

 

 

Sepiatone

 

Edited by: Sepiatone on Sep 9, 2012 4:05 PM

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I am watching the restored version of "The Sea Hawk" (1924). I've heard of it before but never seen it until now.

 

Before it aired, TCM showed the Vitaphone short "Night Court". It is available along with many other Vitaphone shorts on "The Jazz Singer" (1927) 3 disc DVD set. They are on disc 3. A must for any collector.

 

jazz2.JPG

 

*Sword dual in The Sea Hawk*

sea_hawk541.jpg

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