Today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day and what better way to celebrate this most important occasion than by bringing out some piratical silent movies?
Things get so silly sometimes that you just have to let out a giggle. Silent movie stars excelled in all sorts of expressions but most charming of all, perhaps, is the silent movie giggle.
It’s an essential part of Hawaiian music but the ukulele was so popular on the United States mainland in the 1910s and 1920s that “with ukulele arrangement” became ubiquitous on sheet music of the period. The movies followed right along with major stars strumming the cute instrument.
Well, wouldn’t you?
Silent movie people caused mischief and mayhem in their films, it’s what made them so entertaining. Here are some stars who went the extra mile.
The megawatt smile is pretty much a requirement for a film star but sometimes… Whether for laughs or for menace, some silent stars had smiles that inspire more shrieks than sighs.
Silent movies were like modern films in that there were distinct genres and acting styles that went with them. In the case of melodrama, most audience members understood that it was meant to be over the top. And considering the excesses of modern action films, I don’t think we have any room to talk about realism.
From the very start, motion pictures were pirates and resold. Almost everybody did it and so different studios developed various methods of protecting their intellectual property.
You can watch them in a cave…
Here are some stunning shots from silent films that feature caves of rock and ice.
Royals and their doings were common subjects for silent films but sometimes being king or queen wasn’t quite what you might expect.
Sometimes things have just gone to heck in a handbasket. It happens to all of us, even silent movie stars.
The film industry was around in time to capture some interesting early flight milestones for posterity so let’s get excited about those wacky airplanes and airships!
Silent movies were often shot outside in less-than-ideal circumstances, either by choice, by accident or because it simply could not be avoided. But whether the snow was real or fake, silent movies loved their winter scenes.
Silent movie audiences loved their fairy tales and the era had its fill of the fair folk, particularly the 1910s. Of course, not every fairy was benevolent…
Onions were a controversial subject during the silent era, it seems. They could ruin your workday or cost you your marriage!
Silent movies were far more self-aware than many modern folks realize and they often took audiences backstage for some meta commentary on filmmaking.
Sometimes, things just don’t go well for silent movie stars. Maybe they were bonked on the bean, maybe their horse fails to cooperate. Whatever the reason, they’re just a little woozy.
Silent movie stars were often up to no good and their antics included everything from minor mischief to outright villainy. But what to do if they were caught in the act? The old innocent routine!
Look, it’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s… the star of the movie? Silent film stars knew how to go incognito.
Here’s to you, silent movies! A salute from the major stars of the period. A very literal salute.
Silent cinema is not only flammable, it made use of smoke and fire as a plot device and a showstopper. Enjoy the little firebugs at work!
Silent films are famous for their red hot romances and so what better place to learn how to flirt? Silent movie stars, show your stuff!
I am shocked– SHOCKED– to find silent movies being covered here!
“Back in the good old days, people took responsibility and didn’t engage in silly behavior!”
Well, not so fast. Not if the movies are to be believed, anyway.
Somebody just wrote yet another old movie article that gets the silent era wrong. Never mind where, just know that apparently silent movie actresses had two options: damsels-in-distress or wide-eyed young virgins.
Silent movies are full of wonderful cats but there are also quite a few amazing dogs. (Just don’t tell the cats. On second thought, it doesn’t matter, they won’t believe you anyway.)
Silent stars were pretty darn elegant so what’s wrong with them admiring themselves just a little? I see no issues.
Sometimes, the best way to deal with a situation is to deliver a good, swift kick. That’s exactly what these silent stars do.
Lately, there has been a minor online debate as to whether a woman in a floor-length gown can command a fleet. This is particularly silly when you consider exactly how much silent movie women accomplished in fluffy dresses, corsets and high heels.