A recent discussion about adding color and voices to silent footage went off in an interesting direction and the most common defense of the practice was: it’s the only way we’ll get kids and young people to watch silent films!
Okay, that’s baloney because I know plenty of young silent film fans and they are smart and perceptive viewers who don’t need any patronizing modernization. So my question is this: if you saw silent films as a kid, which titles did you like? Or if you have kids, have you been able to share silent films with them? Which stars and pictures did they enjoy?
Alas, silent films were not too common at the corner video store but I did try! I longed to see The Lost World, for example, after seeing clips in a dinosaur documentary. (I was very into dinos as a kid. And trains. And space.) But I did manage to see Mutt and Jeff and Felix cartoons from the silent era, though despite the speech bubbles and title cards, they never struck me as silent at the time. (Which, I suppose, is a testament to their timelessness. Felix and Mutt and Jeff rock.) I ended up watching my first live action silents in my late teens.
By the way, if you want to see quality versions of silent animated shorts, the Cartoon Roots series is what you want.
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