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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I’m obsessed with these kinds of films. If dark ( Douglas Fairbanks’ When The Clouds Roll By comes to my mind) or if they’re lavish (the Blue Bird 1918 (most of the film is a dream) is one of my favourites, it pace sucks, but the luxurious of the production and craziness make me forgive anything), and as you said, Cecil B. Demille’s is the master of “lavish” word (and world) (if it was “dreams and visions” or the whole film (like, The Woman God Forgot, Why Change Your Wife, Madam Satan, The Sign Of The Cross, Cleopatra (those art-deco lavish epics),..etc)). Sorry to repeat the “lavish” word tooo much. But Cecil B. Demille (and Ernst Lubitsch) me freaking crazy with this word, or “epic”,”fancy” or “luxurious”, He (Lubitsch with him) embodied these words and senses. (I’m maybe one of the biggest fan of Cecil B. Demille. I just can’t express my love to the man and his art enough).
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