Four of My Favorite Silent Films

A lot of people today do not appreciate the true talent that went into making silent films. Many actors did their own stunts. There were no computer graphics; all special effects were done by geniuses.

As if you haven’t figured out, I love silent films, and my collection is constantly growing. Before is only four of my favorite. I hope you will rent or download them and see why they are so great!

Metropolis (1927)

Directed by: Fritz Lang. Starring: Alfred Abel and Brigitte Helm

This film is repeatedly played on TCM because the lessons of the film still hold true today. A city of the future is divided between the working class and city planners. This city even has robots. The son of the architect of the city falls in love with a woman named Maria, who by all accounts is a prophetess and predicts someone, a savior of sorts, coming to help bridge the gap between the two classes. Now you see why this movie still holds true today.

The movie is based on the novel by Thea von Harbou, who also wrote the screenplay. The

special effects in this movie will astound you. This movie was remade several times, and to

their directors’ dismay none received the accolades that the original 1927 movie received.

Das Kabinet Des Dr. Caligari (1920)

Directed by: Robert Wiene Starring: Werner Krauss and Conrad Veidt

The first time I saw this film, I was taking the History of Film as an elective while an undergrad. My eyes were glued to the screen.Das Kabinet , as it is called for short, is a psychological masterpiece, complete with great acting, and an artistically done set.

Dr. Caligari is a mysterious man who puts on display a sleepwalker and awakens him for a few minutes. A man is found dead. The sleepwalker is immediately suspected. All is done to try and catch him in the act.

Das Kabinet was remade several times, including an American incarnation in the 1960s, which

just like Metropolis, did not receive as high honors as the original did.

Phantom of the Opera

Directed by: Rupert Julian Starring: Lon Chaney,Sr and Mary Philbin.

The Phantom of the Opera is based on the novel by Gaston Leroux. This is obviously NOT a musical adaptation of the novel. It is also one of the best portrayals of the Phantom in the history of film.

Lon Chaney, Sr plays Eric, aka The Phantom, a disfigured composer who haunts the Paris Opera House, and Mary Philbin stars as his love interested, the chorus girl Christine Daae. The

first thing one will notice is that the mask of the Phantom is different than the modern musical

adaptation. In fact, it is my opinion, that Chaney’s Phantom is way more scary and intriguing

than anything Andrew Lloyd Weber or Hollywood can put out.

Obviously,this film was remade several times, and the book by Gaston Leroux was made into a

long-running musical by Andrew Lloyd Weber.

Steamboat Bill, Jr.

Directed by: Charles Reisner Starring: Buster Keaton and Tom McGuire

Buster Keaton is the “King of Slapstick.” He is also known as “The Great Stone Face.”

Not only that but I think we can put him under the category of “Master of Stunts” because

he did all of his own stunts.

With that said, Steamboat Bill, Jr. is one hilarious flick. When Steamboat Bill, Jr’s dad is arrested, he finds every way possible to try and get him out. Along the way he encounters

a storm-these scenes are some of the best in stunt and cinematographic history, and as I

stated earlier Buster Keaton did all of his own stunts…

More to come….

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