I’m the first one to admit that silent movies are not the most popular subject for metaphorical speech but I do sometimes run across them being (mis)used in that context. And so, since I had a bout of insomnia, here is a handy chart that will tell you whether or not you should use silent movies in your next metaphor.
(Actually, silent movies seem to be more often used as similes but I won’t tell if you don’t.)
I should also clarify that I absolutely think that everyone is capable of appreciating and enjoying silent films. The only things you need are an open mind and a bit of imagination. That being said, if you’re going to use something as a figure of speech, it’s kind of nice to know what that something is. Otherwise you will head into Blackadder territory and we don’t want that, do we?
So, let’s look at examples:
“Be quiet like a silent movie!” (So, you want them to move about with lively piano accompaniment?)
“View what they say as a silent movie: actions speak louder than words.” (While silent film is a visual medium, title cards carry a lot of weight, as do lines of dialogue intended to be lip-read. Actions are more COMMON than words in silent film but the words are still important.)
“She makes up her eyes like a silent movie vamp.” (Assuming that she really does heavily line them.)
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