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:
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.
Here we go, wrapping up May 2017, which ended with a total of 33 movies. You can catch up on what happened in Parts I, II and III.
With apologies to Movies Silently, I didn’t watch that many silent films in 2016, but the ones I saw were exceptional. (I also saw lots of Buster Keaton shorts and shorts from the Pioneers of African American Cinema set, collections I hope to complete in 2017.)
Directed by F.W. Murnau
Written by Gerhart Hauptman, Hans Kyser, based on the play by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Produced by Erich Pommer
Cinematography by Carl Hoffmann
Edited by Elfi Böttrich
Universum Film (Germany), MGM (US)
Amazon streaming (1:47)
Continuing my Blindspot 2016 series, inspired by The Matinee:
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.
Classics of the Silent Screen: A Pictorial History (1959) Joe Franklin
The Citadel Press
Hardcover, 249 pages
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.