The Year is Almost Over: Name Some of Your Favorite Silent Films

Well, I’ve had a great year from a silent film perspective. I’ve discovered some new favorites, revisited old friends and generally have had a lovely time.

Some highlights for me have been Madame Tutli-Putli and The Great White Silence. I also managed to catch a screening of Metropolis with a theater organ score, which was grand.

How about you? What have been some real highlights for you? Did you catch a live screening? See a new favorite? Rediscover an old one? Please leave a comment and remember that your recommendations may guide others to discovering new silent films for themselves.

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12 Replies to “The Year is Almost Over: Name Some of Your Favorite Silent Films”

  1. I’ve barely had time for movies at all, thanks to work and college. I did however finally get around to seeing my first Fairbanks movie-Robin Hood. I’ve never been into action films, but Fairbanks is a joy to watch.

  2. This has been one of the best of my 40-plus years of silent film fandom. I made some wonderful new acquaintances – Olive Thomas, Harrison Ford, Clarine Seymour, Eileen Percy – and got to see more films featuring Richard Barthelmess, Bobby Harron, and the Talmadge sisters. And thanks to our soon to be lost Filmstruck, I reveled in Ossi Oswalda’s delightful ‘Oyster Princess’ and ‘The Doll.’

  3. “Real” highlights or “reel” highlights? Heh heh… Okay, they can’t all be gems.

    We moved near Orlando a few months ago and there are LOT more opportunities for silent screenings than there were in North Carolina, which is great.

    2018 is the year I got hooked on Greta Garbo and Georges Melies – quite the combo. I especially liked Garbo’s Mysterious Lady. The story is kind of predictable but you can’t help but stare at her every moment she’s on the screen. I guess that sort of describes all of her movies.

    Melies stuff is just so fun. I can sit down for 30 minutes and watch 10 of his shorts and it really brightens my day. They’re fun and whimsical and…did I just use the word whimsical? Plus there’s a restaurant down here the plays clips of silents on the walls including Melies’ films, so I can bend my wife’s ear about silent films while she’s captive.

    A few other random new ones I enjoyed – Wagon Tracks, It’s the Old Army Game, The Hoodlum, and Lonesome. I also really enjoyed Kidnapped…have you ever seen that one? πŸ™‚

  4. The first time I saw Safety Last on a big screen, my face was sore for hours because I had been laughing or smiling so continuously. Great selection for first-timers. The movie that made me take silent film seriously: Docks of New York, dir. Josef von Sternberg. Nothing “quaint” or funny here. Those dense, sooty blacks — that superb lighting! Watch this and then watch an early sound film and see what was lost! And a recent favorite (which you have reviewed already) is Shooting Stars, dir. Anthony Asquith. I loved the backstage shots, playing humorously with film conventions (what we think we’re seeing vs. what’s really happening on set), and I was truly surprised by the turn the plot takes — and I do love movies that are not totally predictable but which follow a real logic of their own.

  5. Two great silents I viewed for the first time this year were: The Power of the Press (1928) introducing Doug Fairbanks, jr., a witty crime thriller with a still relevant moral theme; & The Four Feathers (1929) with a non-screaming Fay Wray & an engaging William Powell in subordinate roles. It has a wonderful Movietone score & I found it much more exciting & absorbing than its better known remake.

  6. My highlight this year was the screening of la Passion de Jeanne d’Arc without live music from the Orlando Consort singing music from Jeanne d’Arc’s time. An absolutely heartbreakingly moving experience.

  7. I haven’t watched that many silent this year. My favourites were two Alice Guy films: A STORY WELL SPUN and THE GIRL IN THE ARM-CHAIR. And my favourite of all Lois Weber’s SUSPENSE. The latter played like no silent I’d ever seen. Super stylish and a really good thriller, which again is a genre I don’t really associate with the silent era.

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