The time has come, the walrus said, to talk of other things. Namely cats in silent cinema, both literal and metaphorical.
Well, I had an interesting experience. I posted a GIF made from a hand-colored film when this happened:
Given the frenzied, ridiculous propaganda of the war years, it’s surprising to see how quickly Hollywood decided that German stars and directors were just the bee’s knees. Throughout the 1920s, German talent flooded into Hollywood and it seems like a good day to celebrate the power of a global film industry.
People who have never seen silent films tend to think of them as jittery and scratchy, generally lacking visual sophistication. How wrong they are! Silent cinema boasted some perfectly gorgeous cinematography. (I am personally partial to the moody style of the mid- to late-1910s.) Let’s take a whirlwind tour!
Greetings, all! I made this a while back but it was too large for the internet at the time. Enjoy!
Well, we’ve look at women’s hats, men’s hats and now it’s time to enjoy some bonkers hats. With the other posts, I limited myself to hats that were normal, modern streetwear but now the gloves (and hats) are off! Weirdness, here we come! Hats, headdresses, beads and wires! Historical and fantastic headgear!
I have been off on another vintage advertising detour and thought I would share a few things that struck me as funny about a lobby card for Harry Houdini’s final motion picture.
I am on record as enormously disliking the performances of most child stars of the talkie era. With notable exceptions (Our Gang for one), they are simpering, over-rehearsed and just generally tedious. Talkie kids? Blech! Silent movie kids? Best. Kids. Ever.
So you’ve got this great date lined up but then your plans fall through. What to do? Never fear! Silent movies have great ideas for romantic days and nights out. (But don’t try this at home. Seriously. Don’t.)
I posted about women’s hats in silent film a while back and received several requests for the same coverage of men’s headgear. So, here we are!
The silent era coincided with a glorious time for hats. The 1890s-1910s featured teetering mounds of feathers, beads and sometimes entire birds while the 1920s moved toward the sleek and modern. (Though they were not entirely opposed to the concept of teetering mounds.) And one rule held true through much of the era: You could never, ever go wrong with a tam o’ shanter.
“Old black and white silent movies” is a pretty common phrase. It’s also baloney as the majority of silent films were at least tinted. But today, I’m going to share my favorite kind of movie color: pigments applied by hand and by stencil. And I’ll be using GIFs to do it!
One of the biggest political debates of the silent era was the question of alcohol. Should it be legal? Was it evil? Is a vodka martini really a martini? (It is not. A “vodka martini” is a kangaroo.)
There are times when people just need to go away. In the real world, we can hang up the phone, close the door, walk away. Online, it can be a little trickier and some people never take the hint.
Silent movies are famous for their love scenes but even in their romantic world, affairs do not always go as planned. We’re going to be enjoying some romance fails of the silent era.
Like most silent movie fans, I also enjoy the quirky marketing materials of the era. Posters, lobby cards, ads, etc. I recently ran across a lobby card for The Sheik and a few things struck me as pretty funny. Let’s share!
I say all summer that I can’t wait for cold weather. Well, it’s here and the problem with cold weather is that it’s cold. It makes waking up a decidedly unpleasant process. #FirstWorldProblems
Silent film characters sometimes get just a little fed up and that’s when the title cards get a little spicy. Oh my!
If you’ve only seen the Great Lover style of flirting in silent movies (Valentino, Gilbert, etc.) then you are missing out! Sweeping romantic gestures are all well and good but there is something to be said for adorkable.
Silent movie heroine? You mean those fainting damsels in distress? The ones imperiled by locomotives and buzzsaws?
Guess what, darlings? You’ve been lied to. Silent movie heroines are awesome.
I wouldn’t trade email and other instant communication for anything but there is something wonderful about a handwritten letter, especially one written on lovely stationary. Of course, letters were still alive and well during the silent era so let’s enjoy a few letter scenes with the stars of the era.
Silent movies are often portrayed as scratchy, jittery things with warped ragtime piano playing in the background. In reality, silent films were meticulously crafted, as beautiful today as they were when they were first released.
I don’t know about you but I have a bad case of the blahs. It has been one of those blah weeks and I haven’t recovered from the blahness of it all. Silent movie stars had the same problem sometimes.
Today marks the 50th anniversary of Star Trek’s network debut and I knew I had to do something to celebrate. What better way than to reimagine it as a silent film? (Don’t answer that!)
A true measure of maturity is how well one handles disputes. These silent movie people did so with grace and intelligence. (I’m lying.)
Most classic film fans know that after 1934, the movies were toned down considerably. What they may not know is that the crazy tug-of-war between censors and filmmakers extended all the way back to the dawn of film.
The best beverage in the world is also the most popular: tea! Alas, I live in a nation of tea philistines. Microwaved water with dusty teabags? No, thank you! Is it any wonder I always order the coffee when I am out and about?
They’re mad as heck and they aren’t taking it anymore! Anyone still laboring under the notion that silent movies were staid affairs will surely have to change their minds. So there.
Silent movies are famous for their romances. Who can forget Rudolph Valentino’s red hot romancing? Or John Barrymore’s professions of love? This post is not about them. Today, it’s all about the guys who are lovesick and fail miserably with the object of their affection. Awww, so sad.
There are few things that date a film faster than its headgear. Cloche hats, pillboxes, fascinators… All say something about the time and setting of the film. In that spirit, let’s have a bit of fun with silent movie hats!