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Silent Films


jconners4301
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Enough with the silent films. I know you want to make all of us "cultured" in this film category, but you have gone to the extreme. TCM is my favorite channel and I watch it more than any other. Your barrage of silent films are driving me away. Do you really think anyone wants an entire 24 hr period of these; and I would like to see a regular film on Sunday night. Wake Up!!!!

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Okay, so you don't like silent films. That's okay. Not everybody does. But the reason we're seeing so many of them right now has to do with "The Story of Film" which right now is focusing on the silent era. They haven't been on 24 hours although they have been on more than usual. There are some that like silent films and enjoy watching them, and then there are those that are discovering them. Just be patient, after this chapter they'll move on to talkies and silent films will once again be on Sunday evenings.

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(Why do I bite?)

 

jconners, I just checked today's schedule, just to make sure: there is no "entire 24 hour period" of silent films.

TCM schedules far more "talking" movies than silents. Personally, I'm delighted when this station shows silent movies, I love them.

 

However, I do recognize that many people don't. But really, you've no cause to complain. The ratio of sound movies aired on TCM compared to silents is 90 to 10. (actually, I totally made that up. But it's about as reasonable as demanding that TCM stop airing silent movies, because they just do it so much. I don't think so.)

 

By the way, the short silent film they're showing later this evening, *Un Chien Andalou*, is considered a "must see" for most serious movie lovers interested in the history of film. But don't worry, it's pretty short. (Although not sweet.)

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hamradio: how could you not know the love we men have for our locomotives, trucks, cars, violins, and endless other mechanical toys? They are far less folly and heartbreak than the love of women. PS. I am watching La Roue as well and it is longgggggggggggggggggggggggg but interesting.

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Yes, I heartily agree that "la Roue" had a good ending. The whole last 30 minutes was fascinating. All the mountain scenery was stunning as well in the movie. I can't imagine what the over 8 hour original would have contained. Quite a monumental movie in the "shortened" version. Must have been an epic filming for the cast and director, a life's work or so it would seem.

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If they are truly silent films then why the orchestra music??? :) I say show F.W. Murnau's Nosferatu on a double bill with Herzog's remake. One of the truly great silents with a mass appeal along side it's sound and color remake. Couch potato space cadets have the capacity to schedule films brilliantly like that and insider mouthpieces like RO and Mankiewhatzis refuse to or cannot.

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Nosferatu has been shown, I have it on my DVR, recorded from TCM on October 4, presumably last year. People are always complaining about repeats and about showing films that are relatively recent. With the silents we are currently being treated to, we not only have been getting the benefit of unusual and rarely shown films; we are, by definition, getting old films! That should make most viewers happy -- it certainly makes me happy!

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Absolute baloney that nobody wants to see these great silent films FlyBack. I do. Don't care if you don't. "Open up your mind and the rest will follow". This IS a classic movie channel. Classics!!!!!!!!!!!!! A window on bygone days and bygone lore and bygone art.

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>"La Roue" had a nice ending, Sisif went to the great switch yard in the sky to be joined with his beloved Number 7.

 

I watched a lot of this, but it was so long and I missed so much, I never understood what the basic story was. Something about a train wreck, a lost little girl, people riding trains, a violin maker, mountain climbing, and dancing in a circle in the snow on top of a mountain.

 

I read somewhere that the original release print was 7 to 8 hours long.

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Silent movies had live sound accompaniment, ranging from a solo pianist to full house orchestras in the big theaters. Studios often furnished musical and orchestral scores for their films as well. Some big city theaters had house orchestras as big as 20 to 30 musicians. (Such an investment in salaries would be unimaginable to current exhibitors!) So the answer to your question is that such a recorded soundtrack is well within the traditions of the silent cinema.

 

These films were not meant to be seen without ANY music! It was by no means a "silent experience"! The accompaniment also could include live vocalists singing ("plugging") tunes composed for the film, which were then spun off as records, piano rolls and sheet music. Also big theaters retained sound effects men, or the house organ was tricked out with sound effect buttons to mimic the sound of a creaking door, horse's hoofs, gunfire, thunder, bells, whistles, sirens etc.

 

The absolute best way to experience silent films today would be a special showing in a restored old movie palace, with large live orchestra. (TCM does sponsor such showings in various cities.) The effect is unforgettable and would help to change many people's view of the silent film experience. (I once saw a Chaplin silent accompanied by the full Chicago Symphony Orchestra- an unforgettable experience!)

 

 

Hi roverrocks and hamradio!

 

In *The Wheel (1923)*, I too noticed the very well crafted large scale locomotive models. Being a lifelong film buff and antique collector, I'm always noticing set details for items of collectible value, ranging from furniture, art, cars and anything else. Those models would be VERY collectible today and would be worth thousands a pop! If I saw anything like those at a garage or estate sale, I would grab them up in a heartbeat. The 3 or so displayed in the film would fetch a good 15-20K, if not more. They appeared custom built, which would add more value.

 

The Wheel was very well done and quite watchable, but at the end I couldn't believe I spent 4 and a half hours watching it! It's a bit of megalomania on the part of a producer or director to create 8 hour films. (Bollywood however does that, but the patience and temperament of Indian audiences is a different matter.)

 

 

 

speakthelma.gif

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Hi Fred!

 

You've heard of a "French Farce"? Well this was a French tragedy! The tragedy was about an innocent young woman, who is romantically and carnally loved and desired by 3 men: Her "father", (who never tells her she's adopted), her step brother (who feels emboldened to love her all the more when he finds out from dad she's not a blood relative), and finally a wealthy executive of the railway her father works for. Talk about a mess; well that's a mess!

 

It gets really tragic when she marries the exec and he fights to the death with her step brother- over her! (They both end up dying in the fight.) The film plays on the angle that obsessive love may have been a common trait in both father and son. She becomes the object of sympathy, as so much obsession and death has ocurred around her. She ends up caring for her blind and ailing father as a destitute widow.

 

(To make all of this worse and more dismal- the father tries to kill himself at least twice over his unrequited, non "fatherly" love for his step daughter! Good grief!)

 

I'm not at all sure that such a story could have been filmed in America back then, with it's suggestions of incestuous love, albeit of the "step" variety!

 

PS: A whole lot of on the job drinking appeared to be going on by the personnel of the French Railways! Also remarkable is that after one suicide attempt with a company locomotive, on company time, the engineer only gets a reprimand and is allowed to return to duty! After a second suicide attempt where he succeeds in wrecking a locomotive, he's merely demoted, but still allowed to operate a locomotive! Hard to get fired from that outfit I guess....

 

PSS: the film depicts a 12 string violin- something I've never seen nor heard of; I'll have to google it! (Has anyone out there ever heard of such a thing?)

 

Edited by: ThelmaTodd on Sep 18, 2013 4:31 PM

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I'm waiting for all the rights issues to be sorted out for Abel Gance's *Napoleon,* so that TCM can have a marathon screening of all possible versions and permutations of that great film, which I first saw with Carmine Coppola conducting a live orchestra at Radio City Music Hall in 1980. In the meantime, I did record Gance's *The Wheel,* though I've only glanced at it so far. I would also like to see his 1919 film *J'accuse.*

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No! No! No!- I'm no babe in the woods when it comes to instruments. It was definitely an acoustic violin- same body, same size- same except a scroll piece about twice the length of average. There were six tuning pegs on each side, making it a 12 string. It was in the step-brothers workshop- who was a violin maker. There were a couple of close ups, leaving no doubt.

 

A google search turned up little on the subject, except that 12 string electric violins are made on a custom basis, usually for rock performers and with a solid body. The strings are paired into 6 pair groups.

 

Talk about hot collectibles, I have a feeling that that 12 string violin shown in the film would be quite a rare and valuable collectible!

 

(Love that poster!)

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