One thing I always find fascinating is to study the best films according to silent era critics and audiences and then compare their choices to what we like today. Are you ready to see which ten pictures from 1922 were voted best by the critics? The Film Daily Year Book has the list so let’s dive in!
And in alphabetical order the films are:
Blood and Sand
Rudolph Valentino had already been setting hearts aflutter in films set in Argentina and Algiers and he did the same with this drama of sunny Spain. And for those looking for a female equivalent, utterly Nita Naldi smoldered.
The lone comedy in the bunch, Harold Lloyd stars as a timid lad who nonetheless aspires to win the hand of Mildred Davis.
Nanook of the North
The iconic documentary with more than its share of controversy. We are still feeling its influence in non-fiction (non-fictionish?) filmmaking.
Jackie Coogan and Lon Chaney in a Dickens adaptation? Yes, please!
Released on DVD. (This one is region 2 but the set is highly recommended, it’s all silent Dickens and a bargain.)
Orphans of the Storm
The Gish sisters being battered by the cruel winds of fate… in France! Again. Well, this time the French Revolution is on and they need to evade Madame Guillotine.
The Prisoner of Zenda
The original Ruritanian romance and Ramon Novarro’s breakout role, a rare villain part but his charm was unmistakable.
Douglas Fairbanks took his athletic prowess to Sherwood Forest and swashbuckler epics were never the same.
Norma Talmadge’s tearjerker of a love that would not die. It was remade several times in the sound era.
My personal pick for the best of 1922, this is the story of a young man discovering himself, growing up and learning that Ernest Torrence throws a nasty punch. The climactic fight is famous for a reason.
When Knighthood Was in Flower
The Marion Davies super-epic tells the story of King Henry VIII’s feisty little sister and her fight to marry her love.
So, those are the films. Which pictures would you add? Which 1922 film is your favorite? Be sure to share!
P.S. Release dates in the silent era were a bit wonky so some of these titles may be generally considered 1921 or 1923 pictures.