The Silent Movie Advice Column: Your Guide to Life’s Little Problems

We all need advice sometimes and silent movies are obviously the best guide to life decisions. With this in mind, I am answering totally-real-and-not-invented-by-me letters with silent movie wisdom!

Dear Movies Silently,

I’m having tea in a real classy joint. Do I stir my tea clockwise or counter-clockwise?


Mining Girl

Dear Mining Girl,

Mabel Normand provides an example of suitable tea stirring and generally tea-related behavior:

(This is from Mickey. Read my review here.)

Dear Movies Silently,

I am a dashing officer in the Russian military but I have disguised myself as a cook to make time with my girlfriend. Unfortunately, her grandmother wants me to help her in the bath house! How do I escape without blowing my cover?


Soldier Boy

Dear Soldier Boy,

Fortunately, Ivan Mosjoukine encountered just such a problem and he was able to evade this duty like so:

Toothaches do have their uses.

(Read my review of The House in Kolomna here.)

Dear Movies Silently,

I’m an American boy romancing a princess. She’s used to poetry and all sorts of culture. How do I express my feelings in a suitably romantic manner?


Wants a Roman Holiday

Dear Wants a Roman Holiday,

Wallace Reid never had trouble with the ladies and this was his method:

(Read my review of Hawthorne of the U.S.A. here.)

Dear Movies Silently,

My step-daughter is nineteen but has recently taken to running around like an idiot. Any ideas?


It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time

Dear It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time,

I’m a fan of the direct approach.

(Read my review of The Love Flower here.)

Dear Movies Silently,

Much to my surprise, I seem to have a doppelganger and/or clone. With his tendency to harass maids, his taste for expensive dinners and his general annoying behavior, he’s driving me nuts! How do I deal with this?


Not Plural

Dear Not Plural,

Have you considered dismemberment?

(Read my review of Onesime vs. Onesime here.)


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8 Replies to “The Silent Movie Advice Column: Your Guide to Life’s Little Problems”

  1. “Do stop running around here like an idiot” is a line that needs to be said to every Griffith heroine at one point or another.

      1. I have my doubts. This is Griffith we’re talking about here, after all. I don’t think he spent a lot of time around young women that weren’t his proteges, and I think he honestly thought this is how they were supposed to act.

      2. Have you read 11 East 14th Street’s piece on Griffith wife, Linda Arvidson? Gene makes some really excellent points along that line of thinking:

        “Maybe Mr. Griffith would have benefited as well by a strong female presence at his side, someone he treated with the same respect he showed Lillian Gish. He needed someone who not only saw him as vulnerable and human but, more importantly, someone who was able to tell him when he was wrong. According to Gish, he never had such a person to whisper in his ear when he needed that kind of guidance from another. I beg to differ. He had that, and he threw it away. With both hands.”

  2. I don’t know if you ever heard of a silent serial called Beatrice Fairfax. When I read this I immediately thought of Beatrice Fairfax, which I have on DVD. In the serial, Beatrice Fairfax had a newspaper advice column and people would write her for advice and she would end up in an adventure from one of the letters. It is a great serial.

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