5 Films: Silent Movies

This is an entry in my occasional series where I recommend five films with a link. Sometimes it will be genre, sometimes star, sometimes director etc….

The films I choose my not always be the best in terms of critical approval, or even my opinion, but I will select films which I at least find very interesting.

Today’s theme is the Silent Movie.

The Phantom of the Opera (1925) UK certification PG

Lon Chaney plays the titular Phantom in a fairly accurate adaption of Gaston Learoux’s novel and in my opinion, improves the ending.

Notable things: for a film in which Opera is a key part of the narrative, it is a surprisingly effective silent movie.

Some prints have a colour (as opposed to tinted) sequence towards the end of the film.

Nosferartu: A Sympathy of Horror (1922) UK certification PG, some releases have a 12 certificate due to the extras

Ok this is a bit of a film school answer, but while the make up for the Count might raise a few eyebrows to those used to the debonair representation of vampires of modern movies, the influence of this film is undeniable and there are a number of images which will remade burnt in your brain.

This is also notable for adding sunlight killing vampires to the permanent lore.

The General (1926) UK Certification U

Moving away from Horror, my choice here is a comedy featuring the legendary Buster Keaton. This is loosely based on a true Story and has Keaton having to rescue his girlfriend from some Union Spies and features an impressive chase sequence on a train (the titular General) climaxing with stunt featuring a watertower during which Keaton unknowingly fractured his collar bone.

The Artist (2011) UK Certification PG

The most recent entry on this list, and it is a little post modern as it is a film about the transition from silent films to talkies. It also hints how many stars of the silent era lost their careers as they weren’t good voice actors.

The Ring (1927 ) UK Certification: PG

This is an unusual film from Alfred Hitchcock and was a rare example of him directly contributing to the scripting. The film follows the rise of a boxer from his beginnings in a circus to getting top billing, and how his girl is equally infatuated by his rival. The title both refers to the boxing ring and to the wedding ring both boxers desire.

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