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Silent films

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AdamH
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Silent films

#1

Post by AdamH »

Since we were discussion the Silent Era list what are your favourite silent films? I've only seen 29 silent feature films but I'm working through the 1920s/30s IMDB lists at the moment so will be seeing more. Starting to really like a lot of them now. I saw The Big Parade recently and loved it. I normally say that Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans is my favourite.
Last edited by AdamH on June 23rd, 2011, 1:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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#2

Post by mightysparks »

My Top 10:
1. La passion de Jeanne d'Arc (1928)
2. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927)
3. Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari. (1920)
4. Körkarlen (1921)
5. The Wind (1928)
6. Stachka (1925)
7. Wings (1927)
8. The Birth of a Nation (1915)
9. The Big Parade (1925)
10. Die Nibelungen: Siegfried (1924)

The first 7 I really liked (a rating of 7+), the others are good too, but not my favourites. I've also been ranking all the silents I've seen here: http://www.imdb.com/list/18lgU06D5Yg
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#3

Post by ormazd »

mightysparks on Jun 23 2011, 07:42:33 AM wrote:My Top 10:
1. La passion de Jeanne d'Arc (1928)
2. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927)
3. Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari. (1920)
4. Körkarlen (1921)
5. The Wind (1928)
6. Stachka (1925)
7. Wings (1927)
8. The Birth of a Nation (1915)
9. The Big Parade (1925)
10. Die Nibelungen: Siegfried (1924)

The first 7 I really liked (a rating of 7+), the others are good too, but not my favourites. I've also been ranking all the silents I've seen here: http://www.imdb.com/list/18lgU06D5Yg
You have surprisingly good taste in silent films.
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#4

Post by Rick220 »

Ah, silents, love 'm. My favorite ten, random order, and only one per director:

Faust - Eine Deutsche Volkssage
Ben-Hur
Chelovek's Kino-Apparatom
The Crowd
The Iron Horse
The Thief of Bagdad
Wings
Die Büchse der Pandora
Greed
Menschen am Sonntag
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#5

Post by PeacefulAnarchy »

Greed (1924)
Napoléon (1927)
Flesh and the Devil (1926)
He Who Gets Slapped (1924)
The Phantom Carriage (1921)
Diary of a Lost Girl (1929)
Joyless Street (1925)
Pandora's Box (1929)
Strike (1925)
Les Vampires (1915)

All great, there are another 20 or 30 greats right below them.
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#6

Post by jeroeno »

Well, there's a challenge.

01. La Passion de Jeanne D'Arc (10/10)
02. Die Nibelungen: Kriemhilds Rache (10/10)
03. Die Nibelungen: Siegfried (10/10)
04. Gösta Berlings Saga (10/10)
05. Napoleon (10/10)
06. Greed (10/10)
07. Intolerance (10/10)
08. Körkarlen (9/10)
09. Metropolis (9/10)
10. Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (9/10)

So much more to discover...
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#7

Post by Limedebois »

I've always been disapointed by silent films. Before I watched the expressionist films, I thought it could be very visual film, but It's not. Then I expected a lot from Eisenstein, the theory on the editing is interesting but seems very experimental. Most of time without any sound, an inapropriate music, it's boring. Still, I think we watch them always with a wrong tempo, it does'nt help.

Fortunately, some scenes are very interesting in Potemkine, Pandora's box, Sunrise.

The only film (excepted Chaplin's films) I realy loved is La Passion de Jeanne D'Arc. All movie in clos-up, a very white picture and a good intensity.

Also, it's interesting to watch Griffith's films, the real birth of cinema. But to me it still very boring. I think the sound came too soon. The last films in 20's are the best, and it started to become very entertaining.

So, if there is a film with an extraordinary editing work, with a good sense where to place the camera, I'll watch it. An Orson Welles's film during the silent era could've been something awesome.
Last edited by Limedebois on June 23rd, 2011, 4:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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#8

Post by marcelorenno »

My 10, without any order:

Sunrise
Limite
Pandora's box
A cottage on Dartmoor
City lights
Modern times
Safety last
The crowd
Greed
The big parade

Mighty difficult list to make, I love silents. It gives me some pain not to put any Griffith movie there, no Eisenstein... no Buster Keaton... they come pretty close, but, today, didn't make the cut...
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#9

Post by burneyfan »

I see nearly all of my favorites already listed (Phantom Carriage, Sunrise, La passion de Jeanne d'Arc, etc.), but I have a minor favorite that's awfully funny and sly, and quite different from many silent masterpieces with grand visuals or heavy emotion: The Marriage Circle (1924). Lubitsch proves that even a sophisticated sex comedy doesn't need dialogue.
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#10

Post by PeacefulAnarchy »

Lim Guela on Jun 23 2011, 10:52:11 AM wrote:So, if there is a film with an extraordinary editing work, with a good sense where to place the camera, I'll watch it. An Orson Welles's film during the silent era could've been something awesome.
Watch The Man with a Movie Camera, ideally with the Allow Orchestra score, or Eisenstein's Strike. Both are marvels of editing. They're not narrative films though.
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#11

Post by Limedebois »

I gave a 7 to the first one, watched this year. As you said there is no story and this is the main thing I look out. It could be a 6, but I didn't want to be rude with a masterpiece^^.

I put the Strike on my watchlist but as I said before, I was pretty disappointed with his other films. Thanks anyway.
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#12

Post by PeacefulAnarchy »

Lim Guela on Jun 23 2011, 01:43:40 PM wrote:I put the Strike on my watchlist but as I said before, I was pretty disappointed with his other films. Thanks anyway.
I was disappointed with Battleship Potemkin as well, Strike is much faster paced and interesting.

The Last Laugh and The Man Who Laughs are very nice visual films and have very engaging narratives, you might like those.
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#13

Post by monty »

Has anyone here seen La antena ? If not, I urge you to seek it out. It's quite an enjoyable ride.
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#14

Post by SeanMX12 »

My top ten:

1. City Lights
2. The Crowd
3. The Passion of Joan of Arc
4. The Gold Rush
5. Faust
6. The Unknown
7. Sunrise
8. The Last Laugh
9. The General
10. Nosferatu
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#15

Post by Kasparius. »

Sunrise (1927)
The Big Parade (1925)
Greed (1924)
The Kid (1921)
The Docks of New York (1928)
Arsenal (1929)
Lonesome (1928)
Nosferatu (1922)
The freshman (1925)
The Iron Horse (1924)
Way Down East (1920)
City Girl (1930)
Dr Mabuse (1924)
The Crowd (1928)
The Wind (1928)
Les Vampires (1915)

No ranking
Last edited by Kasparius. on June 23rd, 2011, 8:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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#16

Post by Limedebois »

Sorry off topic again.

The Last Laugh, I gave a 5 (sorry^ same with Nosferatu, The Haunted Castle and Faust, but a 8 with Sunrise - I want to point out It's not a misunderstanding with Tequila sunrise).

The Man Who Laughs, is in my watchlist.

Yes La Antenna is quite good. There is The Artist, also to watch.
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#17

Post by Knaldskalle »

There are so many great silent films it's almost a shame to have to limit it.

In no particular order (and only a selection, I'm liable to list many more if all the silents I like were to be included):
  • Faust
  • Greed (this might just be my favorite, it's a masterpiece no matter how much you butcher it)
  • The Big Parade
  • Dr. Mabuse The Gambler
  • The Passion of Joan of Arc
  • The Phantom Carriage
  • Grass: A Nation's Battle for Life (must-see documentary!)
  • The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
  • Man with a Movie Camera
  • The Crowd
  • Diary of a Lost Girl (Louise Brooks... Yum-yum)
  • Battleship Potemkin
  • Flesh and the Devil (uhmmmm, Garbo!)
  • Earth
  • The Last Laugh (I truly love this one!)
  • The Italian Straw Hat
  • The Last Command (another Jannings OTT performance, but it's right up my alley)
And an honorable mention to The Lodger, one of Hitchcock's first thrillers.

I'm intentionally not listing Sunrise as it was one of the first silent dramas I saw and I didn't think it was all that. I need to re-watch it now that I'm better acquainted with the aesthetics of silent films. There are still some "classic" silents I haven't gotten around to yet, like Wings, The Wind and He Who Gets Slapped so obviously I can't list those.
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#18

Post by Local Hero -- aka MestnyiGeroi »

I love so many silents that honing a list would be a real project for me.

But I wanted to ask others on here who have seen the Nibelungen films and The Joyless Street and The Italian Straw Hat: how can one see them??? (I live in North America.)

Thanks.
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#19

Post by PeacefulAnarchy »

Local Hero -- aka MestnyiGeroi on Jun 30 2011, 09:04:16 AM wrote:I love so many silents that honing a list would be a real project for me.

But I wanted to ask others on here who have seen the Nibelungen films and The Joyless Street and The Italian Straw Hat: how can one see them??? (I live in North America.)

Thanks.
There's a Kino DVD of Die Nibelungen

A Flicker Alley DVD of The Italian Straw Hat.

There's a public domain DVD of The Joyless street, but I think that's one you'll need to import or get by other means. The European DVD is much better.
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#20

Post by Local Hero -- aka MestnyiGeroi »

PeacefulAnarchy on Jun 30 2011, 10:00:45 AM wrote:
Local Hero -- aka MestnyiGeroi on Jun 30 2011, 09:04:16 AM wrote:I love so many silents that honing a list would be a real project for me.

But I wanted to ask others on here who have seen the Nibelungen films and The Joyless Street and The Italian Straw Hat: how can one see them??? (I live in North America.)

Thanks.
There's a Kino DVD of Die Nibelungen

A Flicker Alley DVD of The Italian Straw Hat.

There's a public domain DVD of The Joyless street, but I think that's one you'll need to import or get by other means. The European DVD is much better.
So one has to purchase them to watch them? I wish Netflix carried them!

Thanks, Peaceful!
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#21

Post by Knaldskalle »

Local Hero -- aka MestnyiGeroi on Jun 30 2011, 10:49:13 AM wrote:So one has to purchase them to watch them? I wish Netflix carried them!

Thanks, Peaceful!
There are a lot of us who wish Netflix carried them, but they carry next to no Flicker Alley titles and Kino seems to be a bit on and off. Check your local library!

My library has both Die Nibelungen and The Italian Straw Hat, but they don't participate in ILL (sadly).

Btw, I found Die Nibelungen to be unbearably long and not very good. I couldn't look at a zigzag pattern without twitching for weeks afterwards.
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#22

Post by Book of Sand »

In no order of preference:

Der Letzte Mann/The Last Laugh
The Fall of the House of Usher (the one by Jean Epstein)
Nanook of the North
Steamboat Bill, Jr.
The Wind
Der Buchse der Pandora/Pandora's Box
The Wind
Le Voyage dans la Lune/A trip to the Moon (see icon)
Sunrise
Das Kabinett des Dr. Caligari/The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
Faust
Menilmontant
La Passion de Jean D'Arc/The Passion of Joan of Arc
Metropolis
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#23

Post by St. Gloede »

Here's my top 10. The 4 first are 10's the rest are strong 9.5's:

1. Metropolis (1927)
2. Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler (1922)
3. Battleship Potemkin (1925)
4. Faust (1926)
5. The Call of Cthulhu (2005)
6. The Thief of Bagdad (1924)
7. Cowards Bend the Knee or The Blue Hands (2003)
8. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927)
9. The Crowd (1928)
10. Der Golem (1920)

A ranked list of all the silents I have seen: http://www.imdb.com/list/5cQGbKzDmd8/

Everything in the top 50 is highly recommended, and I consider them more or less great down to 67.
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#24

Post by Book of Sand »

Joyless Street is on Archive.org: The Joyless Street 1926
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#25

Post by PeacefulAnarchy »

Book of Sand on Jul 3 2011, 11:26:44 PM wrote:Joyless Street is on Archive.org: The Joyless Street 1926
I haven't seen that version but "This print is an sound era re-release 60 minutes in length,and it should be noted that the original film released was 150 minutes."

I can't imagine cutting out more than half the film.
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#26

Post by Knaldskalle »

PeacefulAnarchy on Jul 3 2011, 11:39:14 PM wrote:I haven't seen that version but "This print is an sound era re-release 60 minutes in length,and it should be noted that the original film released was 150 minutes."

I can't imagine cutting out more than half the film.
That's nothing. Greed was cut from an original 10 hours to 6 hours, by Stroheim himself. Then he cut it to 4 hours (two 2-hour parts) after the studio complained. Then the studio cut it to 2 1/2 hours despite Stroheim's objections.

That's 3/4 of the film cut out. Enjoy.
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#27

Post by Book of Sand »

PeacefulAnarchy on Jul 3 2011, 11:39:14 PM wrote:
Book of Sand on Jul 3 2011, 11:26:44 PM wrote:Joyless Street is on Archive.org: The Joyless Street 1926
I haven't seen that version but "This print is an sound era re-release 60 minutes in length,and it should be noted that the original film released was 150 minutes."

I can't imagine cutting out more than half the film.
Aarrrgh. Now I'm going to feel guilty about that check until I see the other half. Not enough to uncheck it, though.
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#28

Post by PeacefulAnarchy »

That's nothing. Greed was cut from an original 10 hours to 6 hours, by Stroheim himself. Then he cut it to 4 hours (two 2-hour parts) after the studio complained. Then the studio cut it to 2 1/2 hours despite Stroheim's objections.

That's 3/4 of the film cut out. Enjoy.
But the long version of Joyless Street exists and is available on DVD, in Europe. So it's not quite the same thing.
Last edited by PeacefulAnarchy on July 4th, 2011, 6:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
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#29

Post by Knaldskalle »

PeacefulAnarchy on Jul 4 2011, 12:42:42 AM wrote:
That's nothing. Greed was cut from an original 10 hours to 6 hours, by Stroheim himself. Then he cut it to 4 hours (two 2-hour parts) after the studio complained. Then the studio cut it to 2 1/2 hours despite Stroheim's objections.

That's 3/4 of the film cut out. Enjoy.
But the long version of Joyless Street exists and is available on DVD, in Europe. So it's not quite the same thing.
You're right, it was merely to illustrate how "worse crimes" have been committed.

Hm. I just checked my local library's online catalog. They have a 90 minute DVD from "Synergy archives", and it seems to be the mangled version, at least if you go by their own description. Damn, I'd been thinking about getting that one. Oh well.
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#30

Post by St. Gloede »

Knaldskalle on Jul 4 2011, 12:36:03 AM wrote:
PeacefulAnarchy on Jul 3 2011, 11:39:14 PM wrote:I haven't seen that version but "This print is an sound era re-release 60 minutes in length,and it should be noted that the original film released was 150 minutes."

I can't imagine cutting out more than half the film.
That's nothing. Greed was cut from an original 10 hours to 6 hours, by Stroheim himself. Then he cut it to 4 hours (two 2-hour parts) after the studio complained. Then the studio cut it to 2 1/2 hours despite Stroheim's objections.

That's 3/4 of the film cut out. Enjoy.
My god! I just thought it was cut down from 6 hours. Yet to see it due to the cuts, now I'm even more skeptical. The 4 hour version exists right? Why couldn't they just have made 5 two hour films or something? Everyone loves a franchise ;)
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#31

Post by Knaldskalle »

Crinderman on Jul 7 2011, 10:32:09 AM wrote:My god! I just thought it was cut down from 6 hours. Yet to see it due to the cuts, now I'm even more skeptical. The 4 hour version exists right? Why couldn't they just have made 5 two hour films or something? Everyone loves a franchise ;)
I've only seen the 4 hour "reconstruction", which adds still photos (and intertitles) from the missing scenes (and does some slow zooming and panning) to "reconstruct" the cut out story lines. So it really is a mongrel-movie, and I loved pretty much every second of it. It definitely didn't feel like 4 hours and I wasn't bothered in the least by the stills (others apparently find them highly annoying, so YMMV).

Splitting movies into two parts was relatively common in Europe (Dr. Mabuse The Gambler is in two parts, e.g.) but apparently it wasn't common in the US, so the studio didn't want that.
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#32

Post by MaxS »

1. Lucky Star (Borzage)
2. Sunrise (Murnau)
3. Street Angel (Borzage)
4. Lonesome (Fejös)
5. Broken Blossoms (Griffith)
6. Coeur fidèle (Epstein)
7. 7th Heaven (Borzage)
8. City Girl (Murnau)
9. The River (Borzage)
10. Way Down East (Griffith)

Can you tell who my favorite silent directors are? :P (in case of Griffith it's more Lillian Gish than him though, I don't particularly enjoy Birth of a Nation, Intolerance etc.)
Excluding short movies I've seen ~250 silent films, but currently pretty much all I watch (besides recent theatrical/arthouse releases) are 20's and 30's Hollywood films so the amount is slowly increasing. I've been thinking about watching the silentera.com top101-300 through this and next year, but we'll see..
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#33

Post by MMAlpha »

Crinderman on Jul 7 2011, 10:32:09 AM wrote:Why couldn't they just have made 5 two hour films or something? Everyone loves a franchise ;)
Greed 2: Revenge of the Fallen.
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#34

Post by Local Hero -- aka MestnyiGeroi »

MaxS on Jul 8 2011, 06:36:26 AM wrote: Excluding short movies I've seen ~250 silent films, but currently pretty much all I watch (besides recent theatrical/arthouse releases) are 20's and 30's Hollywood films so the amount is slowly increasing. I've been thinking about watching the silentera.com top101-300 through this and next year, but we'll see..
Good job! I'd urge you to send a quick note to Erik and Piet requesting that the iCM SilentEra list be made into the full 300!
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#35

Post by Mr Hulot »

Sherlock Jr.
The Gold Rush
City Lights
Modern Times
The General
Nosferatu
Battleship Potemkin
The Freshman
Metropolis
Our Hospitality
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#36

Post by Local Hero -- aka MestnyiGeroi »

I finally saw Borzage's Lucky Star (1929).

I cannot believe this is not on SilentEra's top 300! What an oversight!!

A beautiful, moving film. In atmosphere it's a lot like 7th Heaven and Street Angel.

But after Lucky Star sets up a polarity between the immoral man of material promises and the moral man of the life of the spirit, the ending
Spoiler: click to toggle
-- in which Farrell rises and walks to rescue Gaynor out of sheer determination-- certainly seems to undermine the film's courage of its own convictions. It is an insult to handicapped people everywhere, at least it is very dangerously flippant in this regard. However, if the ending is seen as being akin to the ending of Ordet, i.e., as a moment of faith that transcends the boundaries of realism and leaps into the realm of allegory, it remains moving.
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#37

Post by brokenface »

I think it was lost for a long time & only fairly recently become widely available, probably explains it not appearing on that list. It is a lovely film
Spoiler: click to toggle
I took the ending to be a faith thing, much like 7th Heaven
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#38

Post by Kasparius »

Monty's Lil Grandmom's Stag Film
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#39

Post by mightysparks »

Lucky Star is indeed awesome.

Going on a 'Monty's lil mom' spam spree Kaspar? :lol:
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#40

Post by Local Hero -- aka MestnyiGeroi »

brokenface on Mar 10 2013, 08:07:06 PM wrote:I think it was lost for a long time & only fairly recently become widely available, probably explains it not appearing on that list. It is a lovely film
Spoiler: click to toggle
I took the ending to be a faith thing, much like 7th Heaven
Thanks!

I also think that this film suffered upon theatrical release from the last-minute, slapdash inclusion of some patches of sound here and there, and reviewers of the film when it came out were not impressed, apparently. This may have helped bury the film for a while. I just saw the silent version with a really beautiful soundtrack (DVD from Netflix) and that probably helped the film feel lyrical throughout.
Great stuff!
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