It’s the last day of 2015 and it has been quite a year. My website traffic is up 70% over last year (wow!) and I added 55 silent film reviews to the archive. Nice! Visitors came from 162 countries and from all around the Twitterverse. Thanks so much to everyone!
Over the last few weeks, we have talked a lot about what I liked and didn’t like, now it’s your turn. Here are the silent film reviews that were read the most in 2015. This list is a mixture of reviews posted in 2015 and some oldies-but-goodies. Here they are, listed by pure numbers:
The Top 10 Most-Read Silent Film Reviews
I asked my readers to vote for the silent film they wanted to see as my 200th review and Ben-Hur was the winner. Then I hit the books and tried to tell the tale of this troubled production and the epic results. Also, I said very rude things about the Charlton Heston remake. Naughty old me.
This kitsch classic and ode to Stockholm Syndrome is a perennial favorite. It’s Rudolph Valentino’s signature role and his performance is… enthusiastic. What’s not to love?
The House of Mystery
My beloved Ivan Mosjoukine stars in this stylish serial about a man framed for murder. Imaginative, witty, suspenseful and smart, this serial is on par with the best television series of today and it’s gorgeous to boot!
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
John Barrymore’s take on the mad science classic is considered one of the iconic performances of the silent era. I take the controversial stance that he could have toned it down a little. Gasp!
A Trip to the Moon
Georges Melies made science fiction history with this charming film but there is much more to the story and we delved into the background and meaning behind this icon of silent cinema.
Cecil B. DeMille utterly indulged his predilection for sleaze in this society melodrama and the result is one of the most memorable films of 1915. Sessue Hayakawa also shows off his signature understated acting style.
Okay, so the story of the “original” ending being scrapped is a fib and the filming conditions were not really a hellish inferno, just kinda warm. The Wind is still a boffo melodrama with plenty of juicy story details to discuss, debate and mull over.
The Wizard of Oz
This adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s American fantasy classic manages to get everything wrong. We get Dorothy transformed into a Lolita, the addition of a watermelon-stealing African-American character named Snowball and a projectile-vomiting duck. Yay?
Lon Chaney wasn’t quite a superstar yet when he made this mad crime drama about a legless mastermind and his scheme to take over San Francisco. The story is insane, Chaney is great and a good time is to be had by all in a creepy kind of way.
Charlie Chaplin’s iconic silent dramedy has made audiences laugh and cry and laugh again for decades. It’s beloved for a reason and we discuss why.
Bonus: Your Favorite Talkie Reviews
(The images are not GIFs so, no, your browser isn’t broken. I usually only GIF silent films. Talkies? Blech!)
Cecil B. DeMille’s absolutely insane vision of colonial America was my most-read talkie review of the year. So, you apparently find Gary Cooper and Paulette Goddard’s struggles funny? You think that their falling down a waterfall, grabbing a sapling and springing (BOING!) to safety is humorous? The very idea!
The Mark of the Vampire
Tod Browning’s remake of Tod Browning’s London After Midnight was the runner-up for top talkie review. I compare the surviving sound film with the lost silent and discuss some of the myths that have cropped up around Mark.
Your Favorite Recipes
Joan Crawford’s revolting French Banana Salad, the delectable Theda Bara Sandwich (I mean the sandwich is delectable, not Theda, though she might be) and the horrendous tomato aspic Scenario Salad from screenwriter Agnes Christine Johnston were the top three most-read recipes.
One tasty recipe and two nasty ones? Clearly you like to see me suffer.
Once again, thanks so much for reading and visiting! I truly appreciate your support. Here’s hoping we have even more fun in 2016.