Why I love Silent Films (And Why you should, Too! )I love silent films. I accept that most people, assuming they’ve seen a silent film, probably don’t share my affection for them. Why if he or she? After all, they’re in paper (usually); the acting’s a little more intense than we’re used to (sometimes); and, for crying and moping out loud Silencil, you have to read them!
I don’t really expect anyone else to love silent films. It’s true that, in the 21st century, they can seem a bit alignment, peculiar and archaic. But here are some of why I love them and why I think that everyone should take the time to spin a decision silent picture once in a while…
It’s a Whole World of Movies That we Never Knew Existed
Suppose there’s a secret cinema derived from thousands of movies from every category which exist at the base of the horizon where few people think to look. That’s silent cinema. Once you’re in the know, the spectrum of film is greater, deeper and richer than you could have previously imagined. Westerns, science fiction, crime dramas, romantic comedies, horror, all represented by some of the finest — and most often seen — movies ever made. When you’ve seen some of these, you will begin to find that…
Silent Films Enhance Our Appreciation of Recent Films
Silent film is, by its very nature, an deeply visual medium. Direction, cinematography and performance are all focused purely upon what is visible to the eye. Characters had only their nonverbal communication and facial expressions to get a character and tell a tale. They had no option to debate. This is why so much of the acting of the period seems overwrought to today’s viewers. Once you learn to understand silent performance, however, you will quickly spot current characters and stars who really know how to act with their faces and, indeed, with their whole bodies as opposed to those who just stand around and talk.
Likewise, cinematography was a potent storytelling device. A try pans from a western outlaw to the woman they have imprisoned — and then follows her sightline to the pistol on the table. These kinds of device is, of course, section of the basic sentence structure of film, but the lack of debate throws cinematographic technique into bold relief. We really will notice and to appreciate how the camera alone can tell a tale.
Get ess internalized the purely visual style of silent film, you’ll start seeing their great economy. What requires two or three pages of debate in a talkie is often communicated in a silent picture by a single shot.
They are a Window Into Another Time
If you’ve ever wished for a time machine (and who has never? ), silent films may be as close as you’re likely to get to owning one. A movie shot on location, like much of Harold Lloyd’s SPEEDY, permits us to be passive observers to a few moments of day-to-day life over eighty years ago.
More significantly, silent films are a window into the mindset of the era. An alternative way to gain an understanding of the general opinions and thought patterns of a given period is to sample some of its popular entertainment. Silent film covers topics as diverse (and still current) as immigration (GRETCHEN THE GREENHORN) and abortion (WHERE ARE MY CHILDREN? ). What better way to gain an understanding of the way our great-grandparents saw their world that by seeing the identical films that they saw, pondered over, and discussed with their friends?
They Stretch Your mind
A silent film makes the customer an active participant in the creative process by asking us to fill vital details. What are those characters really saying to one another? The intertitles only summarize. What does our heroine’s voice sound like? It’s as sweet as our mind has feelings for you to make it. In these ways, silent pictures engage us in a manner that talkies rarely can.
Additionally, silent films, for their age, often require us to shift our mental gears a bit, in order to see the world the way that audiences of 80 or a one hundred year ago saw it. I once seen D. W. Griffith’s THE MOTHERING HEART with a friend who shook his head at the performance of Lillian Gish when confronted with the death of her infant child. I noticed that infant mortality was astronomically higher then and that this film was likely hitting hard for many contemporary viewers. It’s these kinds of change in attitude and outlook that can turn something seemingly silly into something nearly unique.
They are Great Entertainment
Lastly, silent films can be great entertainment. Obviously, the comedies of Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd continue to be popular, and tentpole titles like METROPOLIS and NOSFERATU will always grab attention, but there are countless other films waiting to be discovered by the general public. From the romantic comedy of Betty Pickford’s MY BEST GIRL, to the epic western of James Cruze’s THE COVERED TRUCK, there is plenty to discover and revel in. I guarantee that if you give them the possibility, you’ll find in silent cinema a few favorite movies that you never knew existed!