"Silents" Appreciation Thread

Discussion in 'Classic' started by WesReviews, Mar 15, 2005.

  1. WesReviews

    WesReviews Active Member

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    So, I'm a fan of the original silent classic, Nosferatu...

    But sadly, this is the only silent horror classic I have seen. I would like to watch more of them, but A) I need a list of titles and B) I need info regarding the best versions of said titles that are out there on disc.

    Anyone else out there a fan of silents that can help me out? Anyone care to share reflections on their favorite silents? I figured there needed to be one definitive thread regarding silents (as I searched and couldn't find one particular thread for them all).

    Any thoughts at all? :)
     
  2. Damage

    Damage Mirror Mirror

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    Take off to the Great White North, eh?
    Check out SilentDVD over at DVDtalk. As for silent horror, next to Nosferatu, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari comes highly recommended. The Kino edition is probably the best one to get. (I have the cheap Madacy version myself.)
     
  3. RyanPC

    RyanPC Guest

    I highly recommend Phantom of the Opera... I liked it even better than Nosferatu, and some of the dark humor in it holds up well after all these years.
     
  4. hell ya!

    hell ya! ~Go ahead, make my day~

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    Big slient film fan here. For horror i'd definitely second the recommendations of Phantom and Caligari along with The Golem. Check out of some Lon Chaney's films as he was one of the best. The Lon Chaney Collection contains Ace of Hearts, Laugh Clown Laugh and The Unknown. All the films are very good with The Unknown being my favorite and the most horrorish of the 3.
     
  5. WesReviews

    WesReviews Active Member

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    Thanks for the replies so far. :)

    Kino seems to be preferred over the Image versions of certain discs, I've noticed.
     
  6. tobaccoman

    tobaccoman White, Proud, and Stupid

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    Fritz Lang's Metropolis is a great silent classic although more sci-fi than horror. Nosferatu and Phantom Of The Opera are the only other silent films I've seen. Scratch that, I guess I've seen some Chaplin movies (don't know titles) and Mel Brooks' Silent Movie, but again these aren't horror.
     
  7. mutleyhyde

    mutleyhyde Fuck it.

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    FRITZ LANG

    Anything from Fritz. Seriously, I love the man's works, no matter what genre he's working in. He has several that are not horror, but, screw it, watch them. Metropolis, The early Mabuse films, and M are mandatory viewing. Images 'Dr. Mabuse, The Gambler' (Dr. Mabuse der Spieler) double disc SE is great.

    Also, anything with Lon Chaney (Phantom and Hunchback are must sees).

    Les Vampires is pretty cool too.

    And of course, one must see the 1931 Fredric March Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde..

    Also, check out my review at Amazon for Haxan. When I got this disc, I watched it, was thrilled, and watched it immediately again with the commentary. Click here for the review. It's the one right at the top, the Spotlight Review.
     
  8. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

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    Kino have a four disc set with Nosferatu, Golem, Caligari and Waxworks that is worth checking out.

    Best site for info on silent movies and their DVD incarnations is here:

    Silentera

    I have to be in the mood to watch them, but they are wonderful. The clarity on the Kino Metropolis is shockingly good.
     
  9. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

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    Just thought I would add some thoughts about Kino.

    They do some really good work, no doubt. They have some wonderful transfers. But do check out the site I gave above, as they do very good comparisons.

    On Nosferatu, for instance, while the Kino looks amazing (for the age of the movie) none of the soundtracks are quite perfect. That's because Kino have a tendency to use synthesized scores, which really grate with me.

    Also on Nosferatu, I believe the first DVD of this I saw was the Image disc. I own the Kino. Whichever one I saw first had some excellent extras - such as going back in modern times to the locations used. Kino had none of this, and I was disapointed.

    Yes, it is the movie that counts - but with these older films, the more info I can get, the better. Most Kino discs come with multiple tracks (Nosferatu even has a weird synthesized score that almost sounds industrial) - but sometimes none of them feel quite perfect..... I believe their MEtropolis disc has the original score on it, so no worries there....

    Just a thought..... SilentEra cover most of this stuff.
     
  10. Erick H.

    Erick H. Well-Known Member

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    I would highly recommend THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA,THE GOLOM,and (of course) NOSFERATU.I don't know if it's available ,but a film that borders on horror,THE MAN FROM BEYOND,impressed me as a child,as did THE MAN WHO LAUGHS.
     
  11. Ash28M

    Ash28M Active Member

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    You can't go wrong with Kino although the image discs aren't far behind in pitcure quality.

    My favorites out of the ones i've seen are..

    Nosferatu (1922)
    Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920)
    Haxan (1922)
    Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)
    The Unknown (1927)
    The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
    The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923)
     
  12. WesReviews

    WesReviews Active Member

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    So what is it about silent horror that still captivates us after all these years? For me with Nosferatu...there's just a kind of ambience that comes with it. The crude, but effective makeup...the unknown actors...the darkness...

    I can't really explain it's appeal to me. Maybe it's more of an "appreciation" as part of horror history, but I really dig Nosferatu. I would think it and other silents would make for ideal Halloween night viewing. Of course, I prefer "old" horror on Halloween as a rule, anyway. Thus, I'm somewhat biased. :)

    So, what attracts the rest of you to silent horror in general?
     
  13. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

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    Art. In modern cinema, we have a bend toward "realism", which is made oblique only be cliches - cliched characters, cliched dialog, and SFX. But back then... watching it now is like a trip to the theater to watch a stage play - they're obviously "acting", but it's all so over-the-top it somehow makes it easier to FEEL.

    I don't know if that makes any sense. I think back then there was a bigger sense of a cinematic ADVENTURE. Look at Caligari, amazing. Nosferatu... for menace, a view of the odd, for pure fear... it's not been beaten, even after all these years.

    Also, it's acting without dialog - so it had to be more stylistic. That about sums it up - in a vague and strange way.
     
  14. Lyle Horowitz

    Lyle Horowitz Miscreant

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    My ten favorite silent films:

    Sunrise (The most beautiful film I've ever seen)
    The Man Who Laughs
    The Unknown
    Sherlock, Jr.
    Metropolis
    Modern Times
    The Circus
    Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
    Un Chien Andalou (Short)
    The Penalty

    I REALLY want to see The Passion of Joan of Arc, Greed, The Crowd, The Big Parade, West of Zanzibar, Haxan and many other essential silents I've missed thus far.
     
  15. Myron Breck

    Myron Breck BOO!!! Gotcha!

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    Check out Buster Keaton while you're at it. His stuntwork in THE GENERAL is astonishing. I can't believe he lived so long!
     
  16. WesReviews

    WesReviews Active Member

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    Watching my Image disc of Nosferatu again, I decided to check out the score by the "Silent Orchestra". I just couldn't get into it. Started out okay with violins and piano, but it sounded too modern at times. Just didn't seem to fit. The included organ score, on the other hand, seemed to fit the film much better and sounded like the type of score the film would've likely had at the time.
     
  17. gusse

    gusse New Member

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    I have said it before and I'll say it again - everyone who has the least bit of interest in movies from the silent era HAVE to check out "Körlkaren" (AKA "The Phantom Carriage") by Victor Sjöström from 1921. If you ask me its one of the best, if not THE best movie from the era. It doesn't seem to be all that well known in the states (the rest of the world?) but it's one of the most respected titles of all time in Sweden - and that is counting all of Ingmar Bergman's masterworks. ....in fact Victor Sjöström was allso an actor and is infact the protagonist in Bergman's more widely known Wild Strawberries.

    Criterion really should release The Phantom Carriage as soon as possible so that the rest of the world can have a look at this masterpiece as well. The (newly recorded) score by Matti Bye is spectacular!

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0012364/
     
  18. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

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    Is it on DVD?
     
  19. gusse

    gusse New Member

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    No, to my knowledge it is not available on any legit DVD in any region yet. :-(
     
  20. gusse

    gusse New Member

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    Apparently Körlkaren is allso known as "Thy Soul Shall Bear Witness" in the states.


    ...I found this text about Victor Sjöström and Körlkaren on a nother page and found it sort of funny:


    Although Sjöström's Swedish films were generally considered too downbeat for American audiences (a trade magazine warned theater owners that they would have a better time attending their own funerals than a screening of Thy Soul Shall Bear Witness), the enthusiastic reviews they received for "artistic excellence" and "sheer pictorial power" made Sjöström, along with the likes of Ernst Lubitsch, Erich von Stroheim, and Sjöström's colleague Mauritz Stiller, a prime candidate for American import.

    In 1923, Svensk Filmindustri sent Sjöström on a "study trip to America," retaining the Scandinavian distribution rights to the films he would direct for Samuel Goldwyn. During his seven-year residence in Hollywood (1923-1930), "Seastrom," as he was billed in the US, directed top stars of the day such as Lillian Gish (The Scarlet Letter, 1926, The Wind, 1928), Greta Garbo (The Divine Woman, 1927), Lon Chaney and Edward G. Robinson. In a 1924 interview, Charlie Chaplin called him "the greatest director in the world."
     

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