We’re back with another list of top 10 films as published in the Film Daily. This lists were created by asking top critics to vote on the best films of the year, though wonky release dates sometimes mean that years don’t always match. First, we took a look at 1922 and then on to 1923 and then 1924. It’s time for 1925!
The original list was published from highest number of votes to lowest and I will be replicating that format here. Enjoy!
The Gold Rush
Charlie Chaplin’s comedy is funny, dark and touching in all the right ways, so it’s no surprise that it would appear at the top of this list. Chaplin later re-released the film with severe edits and spoken narration and this is the version that is considered “official” by the Chaplin estate.
The Unholy Three
Another popular classic, this crime film featured Lon Chaney who played a gangster posing as a little old lady in order to rob wealthy homes. Obviously, it’s meant to be a fun caper picture and it is but it’s also interesting because Chaney remade it as his only talkie.
Don Q Son of Zorro
Douglas Fairbanks made a direct sequel to his 1920 smash The Mark of Zorro, which established him as a costumed swashbuckler. True to its title, the son of Zorro heads to Spain and rights wrong, romances a lovely lady (Mary Astor) and shows off his whip cracking tricks.
The Merry Widow
Erich von Stroheim toned himself down a bit and ended up delivering a financial success based on the beloved operetta. Not that he was entirely tamed (I really hope the story of Irving Thalberg calling him a “footage fetishist” is true) but definitely more in the mainstream.
The Last Laugh
Released in 1924 in Germany, this picture was a big hit with American critics and helped raise the profiles of star Emile Jannings, cinematographer Karl Freund and director F.W. Murnau, all of whom were imported to Hollywood.
Everybody who was anybody made a collegiate comedy, it seemed, and Harold Lloyd’s football picture was one of the most popular. It fit his go-getter persona perfectly and was even given a sequel of sorts decades later in The Sin of Harold Diddlebock.
The Phantom of the Opera
Easily one of the most popular and iconic silent films of all time, the version that most of us have seen was actually a sound reissue from 1929/1930, which featured extensive retitling, reshoots, and sound sequences. Universal junked the original 1925 cut.
The Lost World
The hits keep coming! This adventure picture featured some advanced special effects that brought dinosaurs to life in modern London. It’s a grand bit of fun and it’s nice to see that it was appreciated when it was first released.
The Big Parade
John Gilbert, Renee Adoree, the Great War and a stick of chewing gum made for one of the most iconic war pictures of the silent era and it remains a beloved classic.
Kiss Me Again
We were doing so well. Alas, this Ernst Lubitsch film is missing and presumed lost. Check those attics and friendly neighborhood former Soviet archives.
What do you think? Does this list reflect the best of 1925 or did they leave off some of your favorites? What is your personal favorite among the films of 1925? I have to say that I agree with the critics and think that The Gold Rush gets my vote.
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