Dear Movies Silently, Why do silent movies have so many damsels in distress?

Videos are back! Well, one video. One video is back.

This is meant to be a video companion to my pictorial essay Stolen Bravery. You see, the “damsel tied to the train tracks” trope is more than just a stupid misconception. It actually is robbing the bold and brash women of silent film of the respect that is their due. While the era did have its damsels (much like films, TV shows and video games of today), it also had an enormous share of bold heroines and villainesses. Enjoy the clips!

Continue reading “Dear Movies Silently, Why do silent movies have so many damsels in distress?”

Dear Movies Silently, How can I make my own silent movie?

This is a common question. There are hundreds of amateur silent films online and more are uploaded every day. What do most of them have in common? They are awful. What’s most irritating is that many of the mistakes that these would-be silent directors make could have been avoided if they had spent a little time studying actual silent films.

Continue reading “Dear Movies Silently, How can I make my own silent movie?”

Dear Movies Silently, Who is better? Chaplin or Keaton?

I’ve had this video cooking for a while now and the recent flare-up of Chaplin vs. Keaton emotion makes this a good time to post it. I realize that many of the culprits are eager young fans but the sooner we get them socially housebroken, the better off we all will be. (Though I think there is a 73% chance that someone is not going to watch the video and will skip to the comments to declare their preference while bashing the other party.)

Continue reading “Dear Movies Silently, Who is better? Chaplin or Keaton?”

Dear Movies Silently, Why do silent films have such poor picture quality?

When people think of silent movies, they often think of jittery, scratched images flickering across their screen. But why does the image quality of silent films tend to be so poor? We are going to briefly discuss the topic in this video.

Of course, the topic of film preservation is vast so please excuse me if I oversimplify. I try to keep these videos under 5 minutes.

Continue reading “Dear Movies Silently, Why do silent films have such poor picture quality?”

Dear Movies Silently, Why do silent movie have so many women tied to the railroad tracks?

Welcome to another new series! As you may know, silent movies have a lot of myths attached to them. Why? One of the main reasons is that some so-called experts talk about them and write about them without actually watching very many of them. The tied to the railroad tracks cliche is an excellent example of what I mean. Even normally reliable commentators use it as an example of the corniness and sexism of the silents.

This calls for some debunking! And Women’s History Month seemed to be the perfect time to do it. Let’s make this the year this myth dies.

Continue reading “Dear Movies Silently, Why do silent movie have so many women tied to the railroad tracks?”