It didn’t take long for early filmmakers to realize that movies were able to make the wildest flights of fancy come to life on the screen and this month, I will be looking at the many ways dreams, fantasies and visions were portrayed.
Throughout the silent era, fantasy sequences and visions were used as a convenient excuse to showcase lavish costumes and different time periods in otherwise contemporary films. Cecil B. DeMille was a master of this, from his Roman orgy in Manslaughter to nearly the entire runtime of The Road to Yesterday being taken up with a torrid cavalier love story.
Dreams and fantasies were often used to teach the main character a lesson, though these lessons were sometimes tongue-in-cheek. (Dream of a Rarebit Fiend, anyone?) And, of course, the “it was all a dream” plot twist was used in dramas and comedies alike.
I hope you will enjoy the wacky, wonderful and often weird world of fantasy and imagination portrayed onscreen during the silent era.
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