Silent Movie Stars are Silhouettes on the Shade

As a direct result of having a fourth grade teacher obsessed with Herman’s Hermits, I can quote most of their songs from memory. This skill has dubious utility in everyday life so please forgive me for using it as a theme for a GIF post.

(As always, I will link to my review of the GIF’s source. All home video releases are region 1/A.)

German cinema is the place to be if you have any interest in lighting, shadows and general moodiness. Here’s part of the character introduction scene in Warning Shadows, a ridiculously stylish tale of jealousy, murder and shadow puppets.

Read my review here.

Availability: Out of print as a solo DVD but still available in Kino’s Expressionism Collection.

No post of this kind would be complete without something from Lotte Reiniger, the undisputed mistress of silhouette animation. One of the highlights of The Adventures of Prince Achmed is the flying horse.

Read my review here.

Availability: Released on DVD.

The Forbidden City is… not a very good movie but there are some moments of beautiful cinematography. This is a sequence showing off Norma Talmadge’s silhouette as she tries on the ring from her secret marriage.

Read my review here.

Availability: Released on DVD.

Some dramatic imagery from the 1914 pro-independence film For Ireland’s Sake, shot on location by an American film crew.

Read my review here.

Availability: Free and legal streaming available courtesy of the Irish Film Institute.

The Germans didn’t hold a monopoly on silhouettes in Europe. The House of Mystery is a French production with a majority Russian cast and crew and it is gorgeous in every way. A real treat.

Read my review here.

Availability: Released on DVD.

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6 Replies to “Silent Movie Stars are Silhouettes on the Shade”

  1. Max Linder used a couple of great silhouette shots in his comedies. I think there’s a gif of Max kissing a costar somewhere in the great ether world of the Internet (and maybe one of Max’s watering the plant gag too).

  2. My eldest sister (by 12 years- large family) described to me this and other scenes from Prince Achmed and other Lotte Reiniger films that came on tv very early Saturday mornings in Canada (on Buffalo NY station) under the children’s series name Silhouettes. She never knew what they actually were until recently. At the time as a six-seven year old she thought they might have been some sort of superspecial U.S. kids tv show!

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