Not the Furniture! Silent Movie People Causing Destruction & Mayhem

Part of the appeal of silent cinema is the fact that it’s so kinetic. We’re going to embrace that fact today with scenes of silent movie performers busting up the place!

Because it’s me, this post will include equal opportunity smashing. As always, I will link to the source of the GIFs below.

The glorious Ossi Oswalda plays an overly enthusiastic American heiress in The Oyster Princess. She smashes when she’s angry, she smashes when she’s happy, she fights a boxing match to win the man of her dreams. It’s fascinating to see how post-war Germans viewed Americans vs. how they viewed themselves. (And it’s adorable too!)

Read my full-length review here.

No one could beat William S. Hart for old west intensity. In this case, he has had just about enough of Robert McKim in The Return of Draw Egan. (As is the case with Destry Rides Again, this is a standalone film with a title that makes it sound like a sequel.)

Read my full-length review here.

Florence Lawrence is often called the first movie star but comparatively few people have seen her move. Here she is in The Taming of the Shrew dealing with a pest. Not exactly what you were expecting from the still images, eh?

Read my full-length review here.

Joseph Schildkraut is rocking the plumed hat and earrings look as he knocks a tankard out of time-traveling flapper Vera Reynolds’ hand. This is from The Road to Yesterday, one of the more bonkers DeMille productions and that’s saying something.

Read my review here.

Another DeMille picture, The Godless Girl features a brawl between high school christian and atheist clubs in its first act. Team Godless smashes a folding chair over Team Godly and it’s all fun and games until someone gets killed.

Read my review here.

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8 Replies to “Not the Furniture! Silent Movie People Causing Destruction & Mayhem”

  1. Oh how I would love to smash things and not feel bad that i actually did that. This reminds me of the Laurel & Hardy film where they destroy a house on the outside and we laugh. They actually did destroy a house and it was the wrong house!

  2. I worked on one film where a grand piano was thrown out of a top floor window (a feast for the sound FX editor) but I’m sure I’ve seen the stunt in others, too.

  3. Yet another example of the old adage “they don’t make ’em like they used to.” In films of the thirties and forties, the chairs, tables, etc, would have been reduced to splinters the moment they were hit. Obviously, in the silent era, furniture was built to last!

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