Since everyone seemed to enjoy my last gift guide (box sets for the film snob who has everything), I thought I would share another list of silent movies. This time, it’s all about love! Romantic silent movies and box sets that will make hearts go pit-a-pat.
I have some budget-friendly items, some in-betweeners and a couple of outrageously expensive things. For your convenience, I have grouped these items by price.
(The prices may fluctuate as time goes by because inflation exists and also supply and demand. Of course, you may be able to find a glorious deal and get some of these items cheaper. More power to you! Also, needless to say, I am based in North America and so you will want to check your region codes and/or get a region-free player before ordering any films on this list.)
Sometimes, it’s the little things that matter. Here are some silent movie bargains that will be welcomed by any romantic movie fan.
The Sheik with Son of the Sheik
Rudolph Valentino’s signature films are prime slices of kitsch and are a great deal of fun if you get into the spirit of the thing. They’re not high art but are wildly entertaining.
The Flicker Alley DVD contains both The Sheik and its sequel and sells in the $18-20 range.
The Garbo Silents Collection
While I try to limit these lists to in-print films, this collection is widely available used for a decent price. It contains three of Garbo’s MGM films (The Temptress, Flesh and the Devil, The Mysterious Lady), the middle picture co-starring John Gilbert. We also get the surviving footage of The Divine Woman.
Copies sell in the $5-10 range, making this quite a bargain.
We’re getting a little artier here with this award-winning film. Sure, it opens with attempted murder but the movie is a love story at its core. And all that gorgeous, German-infused cinematography… yeah, you need this on Blu.
You can grab a copy of this for between $14 and $16.
Beyond the Rocks
One of the most famous silent film rediscoveries in recent history, this film is very much a signature Paramount romance complete with historical flashbacks. Of course, the main draw is seeing Swanson and Valentino starring together for the first and only time.
You can buy this film for about $14-19.
Now we’re getting fancier! It’s okay, fancy things are romantic, right?
The House of Mystery
This classy production makes excellent use of its French and Russian stars and embraces the pulpy nature of serials but it also has a strong emotional story to tell. While there are mysterious happenings and adventures, the central love story never fades into the background. Have hankies at the ready.
You can find a copy in the ballpark of $35.
Charlie Chaplin is famous as a comedian but his comedies always were designed to go a little deeper and illicit an emotional response from his audience. Chaplin’s Tramp romances a blind flower girl and it’s sweet without slipping into mawkishness. A legendary film that deserves its reputation.
You can buy the fully-loaded Criterion Collection Bluray/DVD for about $30.
Bardelys the Magnificent with Monte Cristo
John Gilbert swashes his buckle in two historical romances. Bardelys the Magnificent is based on a novel by Rafael Sabatini (Captain Blood, Scaramouche, The Sea Hawk, The Black Swan) so you get an idea of the sort of thing to expect. Monte Cristo is a highly sanitized and romanticized take on the Dumas novel with Estelle Taylor as Gilbert’s lady love.
This two-disc set is sold in the $30-39 range.
The John Barrymore Collection
This box contains four of Barrymore’s 1920s vehicles and while Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is more horror than romance, the other three films contain as much romancing in profile as you can stand. Yes, even Sherlock Holmes.
This box sells for $30-40, a pretty good bargain considering the number of films.
“HOW much?!?!?!” Range
Hey, we can all dream, can’t we?
Murnau, Borzage & Fox Box Set
Yowzah! This box set contains twelve discs and weighs one metric ton. It includes all the classic films made by F.W. Murnau and Frank Borzage at Fox. While Murnau’s pictures have been released as stand-alone discs, Borzage’s pictures only come on disc as part of this set. Street Angel, 7th Heaven, Lucky Star… the three-hankie Janet Gaynor/Charles Farrell specials.
The set sells for a whopping $190, which isn’t bad considering it contains twelve films but… Yeah, I wish Fox would break this up and allow people to buy individual pieces. Still, if you really want to show a cinephile that you care…
Murnau, Borzage, and Fox set has me thinking…is there room downstairs or do we have to CostCo on another shelf to fit that beauty in 😉
I read on Amazon reviews that it’s a wide load. So worth it, though. Very tempting for an Oooh, Ahhh Yuletide gift for our household.
As you know, Bardelys the Magnificent has yet another delightfully kitchy over-the-roof performance by Roy D’Arcy that really shouldn’t be missed. Gilbert and D’Arcy and the other cast and crew must have had great fun filming those scenes!
The Fox box is a monster! I ended up stripping the discs out of mine and keeping them in paper sleeves for convenience. The box is beautiful but it weighs about the same as a well-nourished infant.
Thank you so much, I love romantic movies!
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