Time for another theme month! This time, it’s my annual look at century-old cinema. That’s right, every single movie I review this month will be from 1917.
Summer is here. This is a fact we must all accept but that doesn’t mean we have to go sunnily into the night. I decided to deal with the heat and sunlight by embracing the dark side of the silent era.
We’re at the start of the vacation season and so I thought it would be fun to review silent films that were shot on location. I define “on location” as anywhere outside the studio property. My goal is to cover films shot far and near, from Southern California to Europe to Africa.
I am psyched about this month’s theme! I’ll be covering comedies from Hal Roach, my favorite studio for all things silly.
It’s time for Movies Silently’s annual reader request month! Last August, I asked my readers to list films they would like me to review and now I am fulfilling some of those requests.
I’m very excited about this one! We’re going to be studying the most neglected period of movie history: the early days when most films were just a few minutes long and projecting them was a new innovation.
What do you get when you combine rare films, passionate historians and a whole lot of crowdfunding? In this case, the Pioneers of African-American Cinema box set.
Welcome to the very first theme month of 2017! This time around, we’re not going to be focusing on plots, performers, directors or nations of origin. Instead, we are going to be examining the use of unreality as visualized on the silent screen.
Hold onto your corset covers, kids, because this silent movie site is going to talk about sound! Nothing so coarse as actual talkies, of course, but all the sound technologies that led up to full-blown talking pictures.
Nobody knows exactly how many silent films were penned by women. Screen credits were a bit odd back in the day and a good number of studio records are gone forever. However, it has been estimated that as many as 50% of all silent films were written by women. Other estimates hover around 30-40% but that’s still a darn sight better than the 15% of modern Hollywood. (Oh, and they’re paid less for their work too.)
What were people watching a century ago? We’re going to take an entire month to explore this topic. This month, every film I review will have a 1916 release date.
On September 8, 1966, a little science fiction show called Star Trek made its network debut. What does this have to do with silent films? Not much at all but the fiftieth anniversary of Star Trek is too important to pass up!
Pack your bags, kids, we’re going on a tour of the USA and we’re using silent films as our guide!
The summer is heating up and so it’s time to explore entertainment set in sunnier climes and to dig into a fascinating topic: Orientalism in silent film.
All right, my darlings, it’s time to expect the unexpected. I feel that my site is not random enough (hee hee heeeee) and I am going to fix that by selecting silent films that star people who are NOT known for silent films.
It’s time to pick a new theme and this month’s is a doozy. We’re going to be celebrating danger girls of the silent era.
This month is going to be all about the silent stars who also wore the director’s hat. These talented women and men took on two challenging jobs and emerged with some first class entertainment.
You asked for ’em and now you’re going to get ’em! It’s time for real requests from real readers to become real reviews. Are you ready?
We have entered the second month of 2016 and it’s a leap year! If I had been smarter, I would have compiled a list of silent films in which a woman proposes to a man but I wasn’t. However, I think you will like what I have in store.
Welcome to the first theme month of 2016! This time around, we’re going to be diving into a popular sub-genre of the silent era: the carnival/circus picture. And, yes, Lon Chaney will figure into the story at some point.
I don’t know about you but after the month of grim 1915 films, I need a break and something a little lighter. This month, I will be covering one of the most lavish sub-genres of the silent era: the Ruritanian romance.
What were people watching a century ago? We are about the find out! It is time to celebrate the films that turned 100 this year and to accomplish this, I will be reviewing films released in 1915 throughout the month. My goal is to provide a wide selection so that readers can marvel at the sheer variety of screen entertainment.
Sherlock Holmes wasn’t the first fictional detective but he remains the most famous and most beloved. His adventures have been serialized, televised, reimagined and reworked into every genre imaginable but we’re going back to the very beginning of Sherlock Holmes on the screen.
Welcome to September. This month, I am going to be featuring silent performers who have fallen into obscurity but who (in my opinion) deserve to be better known.
It’s no secret that a great many members of the early American film industry (as well as a good portion of its audience) had Irish roots. What could be more natural than to make films that reflected those roots? This month, we are going to be looking at the evolution of the portrayal of Ireland and the Irish in silent film.
For the month of July, I shall be turning my site over to a Mr. Alfred Hitchcock. Let me explain. In 1939, Hitchcock was asked to list his ten favorite films. You will be delighted to know that this list contained only one talkie; the rest were silent. Further, all but two of these films not only survive, they are available on home media! The opportunity is too good to resist. This month, I will be reviewing Hitch’s picks and seeing how they measure up.
I truly believe that if the First World War had not happened, we would be talking about Paris as the movie capital of the world and Hollywood would have remained in second (or third or fourth) place. The quality, creativity and exuberance of early French cinema was unmatched and many of these films still make charming introductions to the silents.
We’re heading back to Russia, kids! Specifically, we are going to be enjoying some good belly laughs, courtesy of the sparkling Russian wit.
On January 3, 1897, two baby girls were born an ocean apart. Apolonia Chalupec, the daughter of a Slovakian immigrant living in Lipno, Poland. Marion Douras was born in Brooklyn, New York. Both women adopted more glamorous surnames (Apolonia shortened her given name for good measure) and became famous as Pola Negri and Marion Davies.
You asked for ’em and now you’re going to get ’em! This month, I am going to be reviewing films that were requested by my readers.
When I made my call for requests back in Novemeber, I was overwhelmed by the excellent suggestions that flooded in. (You can read them here.) It was a challenge to choose, to be honest.
I will be listing my selections (and who requested them) right here. If you’re request was not among those selected, don’t lose heart. I really do pay attention to every single request and I appreciate your valuable feedback as to which films you would like to see covered on the site. Your request puts these films on my radar, so to speak.
Check back throughout the month to see which films were selected and who suggested them. In the meantime, please enjoy selections from my last reader request month.
Your requests last time:
This Month’s Requests:
Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy are employed at a swanky hotel but they cause their usual chaos, including the destruction of a gown belonging to a very young Jean Harlow.
Requested by Stevie of stevielounicks.
A pre-fame Rudolph Valentino plays the villain of the family melodrama. He’s all of twenty-three and just as cute as a bug’s ear.
Requested by Emily of nitrateglow.
It’s a dark and stormy night and some guy in bat ears is lurking about. Influential horror comedy that should be of considerable interest to fans of the Caped Crusader.
Requested by reader George W.
Brilliant, imaginative and a ton of fun to boot, this German crime melodrama is one of the best silent films you’ve never heard of.
Requested by reader Christopher Bird.
Yes, that iconic film with a rocket in the moon’s eye. Enjoy!
Requested by John of Hitchcock’s World.