One of the frustrating things about discussing silent films is how few people take them seriously. In the collective mind of pop culture, silent films are creaky relics full of damsels and silly melodrama. This has led to the unfortunate backlash of seeing silent films are delicate creations that must be kept under cake domes lest the harsh wind of criticism cause them to disintegrate on the spot.
While I appreciate the sentiment, silent films are lot more robust than many people think. The best ones still enchant us and even so-so offerings can be pretty darn good. That being said, some films are really, really, really bad so let’s get down to business.
For me, the bad film to beat is still Brute Island, a vanity picture put out by Harry Carey (whom I normally adore) about a college kid who is dumped by a chick so he becomes the alcoholic dictator of an island and terrorizes its inhabitants. This is all presented as the young woman’s fault. It’s a picture that will give you the urge to bathe in Listerine after watching.
What about you? Which silent films made your jaw drop with their awfulness? Please share! And, obviously, this is all personal opinion and there are no wrong answers. If I can say Metropolis is meh, anything is possible.
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