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What is your favorite silent movie of all times


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I'm afraid Napoleon is a movie that needs to be seen in a theatre using three screens to hold the moving images. This 1927 epic was far ahead of its time in experimenting with wide-screen imagery; it'd be a shame to see it on my sorry television set...

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I am quite fortunate to have the official Australian DVD release of Abel Gance's NAPOLEON (1927). Australia is the only Country where this Movie has been issued on DVD, as far as I know? This is the version with the brilliant Carmine Coppalla score.

 

The film runs just over Three and Half Hours here. But, it was recently restored to the full Five Hours, as a great deal of additional footage has been found, since this Kevin Brownlow restoration was produced back in 1981.

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You are fortunate to have Napoleon on DVD. How does it look? Do you know if they remastered it, or did they just transfer it over from the laserdisc print? Any chance they switched over to anamorphic widescreen for the triptych portion of the film?

 

Also, are you sure it doesn?t run three hours and fifty-five minutes? The laserdisc version of Napoleon with the Carmine Coppola score runs three hours and fifty-five minutes (at least that's what it says on the Laserdisc jacket). Also, Maltin lists it at that length in his 2001 Movie & Video Guide (yeah, I know, I need to update it).

 

I read somewhere years ago that Brownlow had additional footage even in 1981, but they cut it to just under four hours because they would have had to pay the orchestra a much higher fee if they had played it live for more than four hours.

 

DavidE

http://www.classicfilmpreview.com

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David,

 

It appears you are correct concerning the length. To be honest, I just obtained the DVD a couple of weeks ago, and have not had the time to take a good hard look at it as of yet? I believe it is the same as the Laserdisc would be, but that is certainly much better than a transfer from VHS, would have been. I've made LD transfer's of my own, that looked pretty impressive.

 

As this is the 1981 restoration, I'm sure that a significantly sharper transfer could be achieved with today's advances in technology. Of course the print quality varies quite a bit throughout the film. Some sequences are sharp and clear looking, while others are pretty murky.

 

Looking at it right now, the amber, and blue tinting seems quite pronounced, and there is some definite pixilization visible, as well. I agree that It would be nice see a crisp new master produced. I've been told there is a longer version with a Carl Davis score, but I do not have very much information about it. Do you?

 

Interesting your comments pertaining to the live Orchestra. I could be mistaken, but I do not believe this is the same version that TCM ran a few years back at all? I think that I?ve got a recording of that too, around here someplace though?

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> I've been told there is a longer version with a Carl Davis

> score, but I do not have very much information about

> it. Do you?

 

It's my impression that when the longer version is shown occasionally in London, it's accompanied with a live orchestra using a Carl Davis score. Here's a 2004 interview with Davis where he indicates that (in 2001) the length had expanded to five hours and thirty-five minutes: http://www.abc.net.au/rn/music/mshow/s1093566.htm. I haven't read anything about that version being available in England on DVD, though -- not living in the UK -- I haven't looked into it.

 

DavidE

http://www.classicfilmpreview.com

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Kevin Brownlow did a five and a half hour restoration with a Carl Davis score, expanded from his 1981 restoration. Francis Ford Coppola has exclusive rights to the three and a half hour version with a score by his father, Carmine Coppola. When Brownlow showed his restoration in London, Coppola sued to stop it.

 

Brownlow went ahead with the showing anyway, but until the legal issues are resolved, the longer version is unavailable. It's a damn shame that audiences aren't being allowed to see the most complete version of this masterpiece.

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  • 7 months later...

ORPHANS OF THE STORM with Lillian and Dorothy Gish.

INTOLERANCE by Griffith

TRUE HEART SUSIE (only saw it once - many years ago in San Francisco..but Lillian Gish was great!)

WAY DOWN EAST. Yes, I know it was dated even then..but tell me this..what actress in Hollywood today would go thru what Lillian Gish did for her "art"?!! That's dedication!

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my favorites would include phantom of the opera, hunchback of notre dame, and i only saw a little bit of metropolis but what i saw i liked but my favorite would have to be Nosferatu

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It's hard to pick one favorite, but for me, these are not to me missed films:

 

SUNRISE (1927)

THE WEDDING MARCH (1928)

METROPOLIS (1927)

FAUST (1926)

BARBED WIRE (1927)

FOUR SONS (1928)

THE GAUCHO (1927)

BORKEN BLOSSOMS (1919)

THE WHISPERING CHORUS (1918)

THE FARMER'S WIFE (1928)

SEVEN CHANCES (1925)

STORM OVER ASIA (1928)

THE KID BROTHER (1927)

CITY LIGHTS (1931)

It's a good start anyway.

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Scottman,

 

Say, I have seen and own copies of all of these films with the exception of THE FARMER'S WIFE, and STORMS OVER ASIA. I am not familair with these two movies? I wonder if you could please tell us more about them? Thanks.

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The Farmer's Wife is a charming 1928 film by Alfred Hitchcock. About a widower who goes on a series of comic misadventures to find a new wife, when he discovers that his perfect match was his housekeeper. This film is available on DVD from Laserlight video. The print is good, and the cobbled together score works well with this film.

 

Storm Over Asia is a 1928 Soviet film in which a young Mongolian herder/trapper is bilked out of a valuable silver fox fur by western traders. He fights back and is arrested and nearly killed when it is discovered among his possessions that he has a paper that traces his family's bloodline to Genghis Kahn. He is used by the western traders as a puppet for a corrupt government, until he reconnects with his bloodline and drives the westerners out of Mongolia. This film is available on DVD from Kino . The print is excellent as is the Timothy Brock score.

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Favourite silent movies? Where to start? OK, I'll start with Murnau's Faust. Then the 1924 version of The Thief of Bagdad, with Douglas Fairbanks. Then of course Diary of a Lost Girl, which I like even more than the other G. W. Pabst/Louise Brooks classic, Pandora's Box. I love Garbo in Flesh and the Devil (sexiest movie ever). The 1921 Camille, with Nazimova.

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That's like asking me to name my favorite talking film--impossible.

 

Some of the ones that I regularly watch though:

 

The Penalty (1920)

The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)

The Temptress (1928)

City Lights (1930)

Foolish Wives (1922)

Sherlock Jr. (1924)

He Who Gets Slapped (1924)

Pandoras Box (1928)

Diary of a Lost Girl (1929)

The Fall of the House of Usher (1928)

Spies (1928)

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  • 8 months later...

I was just jotting down a list to this effect the other night...

 

BEGGARS OF LIFE (1928) w/ Wallace Beery, Richard Arlen and Louise Brooks

This is probably my favorite silent film. Love the scene in the haystack!

 

 

OUR MODERN MAIDENS (1929) w/ Joan Crawford, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., et al

This is probably one of two silent films I've seen more than three times, and I never get tired of it.

 

NOSFERATU (1922) -- yes, Murnau's classic is the other film that holds up for me, even after repeated viewings. In fact, each time I notice something that I hadn't seen before.

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BillyDesmondTaylor,

 

 

Well, the good news is that William Wellman's BEGGARS OF LIFE was just restored by George Eastman House. So I am hoping the restored print might re-surface in the near future. Maybe a nice DVD edition from Kino, or Image will pop-up? This film did not receive great reviews when it was first released, but appears to have garnered a cult following in recent years.

 

OUR MODERN MAIDENS is a good film, certainly better than OUR DANCING DAUGHTERS, and the print on the Laser-disc release is in virtually pristine condition. Very good cast, with Pixie-Cute Anita Page outshining Crawford in my book. This one should be on DVD just given the fact that it requires no additional major restoration.

 

To be honest, NOSFERATU doesn't do a whole lot for me. Murna himself would certainly go on to make much better films, such as FAUST, SUNRISE, and CITY GIRL.

 

I continue to be miffed that NOSFERATU has had numerous restorations, and DVD releases with another out later this month, where so many equally worthy, and in many cases far more worthy Silent's have been almost completely ignored! Where is my SEVENTH HEAVEN, and STREET ANGEL DVD's??? What about THE BIG PARADE? Fully restored by Eastman House in 2004! I'm still waiting for this restoration to debut on TCM!

 

How about a picture like Tod Browning's THE BLACKBIRD? A TCM edition has been produced, with Robert Israel even providing a score, but I have yet to see the Premier here in this country???

 

Message was edited by: gagman66

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don't be too sure.... Eastman House does fabulous work but when are these films ever scene off the premises? Eastman has a trove of silent films in vaults in various collections but unless you go there and pay to watch them, they remain vault-bound.....

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I managed to download (from eMule) the restoration of THE BLACKBIRD, which TCM produced with a Robert Israel score two years ago.

 

I haven't seen it, yet, but it does look great.

 

That version seems to have been lifted from a DVD from Spain. The video features unobtrusive Spanish language intertitles.

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I love all of Gary Cooper's silents that I have so I'll just say out of all the non-Gary silents I've seen *It* with Clara Bow is my fave. It's such a cute, fun movie. Okay Gary is in it but only for a couple minutes - ha!

 

A close second is *Nosferatu* which was the first silent I saw back when I was in high school. I love vampire books and movies so this one has always appealed to me. It has such a great, spooky atmosphere and Max Schrek is the creepiest vampire I've ever seen.

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