There’s a video knocking around the internet that purports to tell the story of a century of cinema (1915-2015) by showing the best shots of each year. Naturally, there are some issues with the silent era. The main one: booooooooooooring!
The list is probably more accurately described as “Iconic shots from popular movies the average person can recognize”. @io9
— Steve Brandon (@SteveBrandonOTT) April 16, 2016
I was not surprised, interested or charmed by the selections. There was not a single film that was unexpected or unknown. I want personality, texture, not this sterile Movies 101 nonsense! To make matters worse, the selected shots were sometimes not even the best in the picture!
Griffith, Griffith, Chaplin, Chaplin, Griffith, Germans, Chaplin, Germans, Lloyd, Keaton, Potemkin, Keaton, Germans…
I’m sorry, the limited, narrow vision put me to sleep. I’m kind of glad this video was released because it precisely demonstrates the kind of shallow understanding of the silent era that I am always complaining about. Turn the 1915-1929 selections into a list and you’ll have the core of 95% of the “top 10 silent films” articles ever written. It’s not that I’m saying these films are bad or that they are not artistic, it’s just that this homogeneousness creates the false notion that these films are ALL the silent era has to offer, no further exploration needed.
Harumph! If you want to do something right…
This is where you come in! I want your outside-the-box suggestions for the finest shots in silent cinema. The more obscure the better! I should note, though, that the film or films you name must have been released on home media (I need to view it!) and be silent. That’s it!
What I want: Your favorite shots from silent films released from 1895-1930s that are available on DVD/Bluray.
Just leave a comment and tell me your selections!
I’m new to silent films, I’ve only seen a few but I have some favorites already. Is that okay?
Yes! Whether you’ve seen one silent film or a hundred, I still would love to hear about your favorite shots.
I’ve seen tons of silent films and have lots of shots! Is there a limit?
Nope, fire away! Share as many great shots as you like.
What will you do with all these shots?
I’m not sure yet. This is still in the planning phase but I promise it will be good!
Here are some of my ideas. They’re just off the top of my head so I am probably missing something amazing but that’s what you’re here for!
1901: The swallow from The Big Swallow
1905: The dog’s run in Rescued by Rover
1910: Mary Pickford’s hat kick in The Dream
1912: Alone at sea in The Mystery of the Rocks of Kador
1915: The town scene in David Harum
1916: Touring the inferno in Hell’s Hinges
1918: Double vision in Stella Maris
1921: Conrad Veidt painted gold in The Indian Tomb
1925: The leap of death in Variety
1927: The brawl from The Chess Player
I’m sure you’ll come up with some fabulous ideas!
(H/T: Debra Vega)