The Best of 2017: Silent Movies

The Best of 2017Silent Movies

With apologies to my friend Movies Silently, I must confess that silent movies are still quite a blindspot for me. I’m almost never disappointed when I watch silent films, but I think it’s getting myself in the right frame of mind to watch them that keeps me from watching more often. Just know that it’s something I’m still working on… So here are the silent films I most enjoyed in 2017:

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Summer Reading Challenge: Asheville Movies Volume I: The Silent Era – Frank Thompson

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Asheville Movies Volume I: The Silent Era – Frank Thompson
Men With Wings Press, 2017
Trade paperback, 104 pages with photographs, notes (bibliography), people index, film title index

Even with the current technological potential to make movies practically anywhere in the world, when we think of motion pictures in general, we often think of those shot in Hollywood and New York. Sure, you might see an occasional American movie filmed in San Francisco, Chicago, maybe the South or the Southwest, or even New England, but we’ve come to believe that the bulk of American films are produced in New York or L.A.

Here comes Frank Thompson to turn your world upside down.

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L’inhumaine (1924) Marcel L’Herbier

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L’inhumaine (1924) Marcel L’Herbier
Flicker Alley Blu-ray (2:02)

Almost anyone who loves science fiction movies will have at some point watched at least part of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1927). Maybe it’s the only silent science fiction film they’ve ever seen. (I know that was the case with me for several years.) Yet other silent sf films are also worth your attention, such as The Lost World (1925), A Trip to the Moon (1902) and many others. Now, thanks to a stellar new release from Flicker Alley, you can add L’inhumaine (1924) to that list.

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Books on Movies: Classics of the Silent Screen (1959) Joe Franklin

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Classics of the Silent Screen: A Pictorial History (1959) Joe Franklin
The Citadel Press
Hardcover, 249 pages

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Writer Joe Franklin (1926-2015) was listed in the Guinness World Records as “the longest running continuous on-air TV talk show host,” beating Johnny Carson’s run by more than a decade. Franklin hosted a TV show on New York station WABC-TV called “Joe Franklin’s Memory Lane.” After that, he hosted a radio show on WOR-AM. Franklin certainly knew his stuff as well as a lot of people, having guests on his shows such as Charlie Chaplin, John Wayne, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, and many, many others. Franklin also knew an awful lot about silent movies. This wonderful book covers the silent era’s 50 greatest films and 75 greatest actors as chosen by Franklin. Whether you’re a silent screen expert or a novice, Classics of the Silent Screen is indispensable.

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