Sunday, October 26, 2008

Silent movie marathon - part 1

It's a shame that silent movies died. The best of them achieved things that have never been possible in talking movies. In this movie marathon, I've dug up a whole bunch of silent movies, most of which I know little about.

Häxan (1922, Denmark) - Part slideshow presentation, part staged documentary about witchcraft beliefs and witch trials. Uses scorn and comic depictions of Satan to expose the foolish ways of the olden days, (why, they even slept naked!) Rationalistic with an aggressive self confidence that will appeal to and embarass modern skeptics. Leans towards exploitation. Watched: All of it.

Our Hospitality (1923, USA) - Buster Keaton comedy with such failed gags as a street with a traffic constable but hardly any traffic(!), and a train where the roof is so low that a gentleman cannot wear a top hat(!!) Watched: 17 minutes.

The Kid (1921, USA) - Tramp Chaplin adopts an abandoned child. The discovery that comedies should be funny must have come later in the decade. Watched: 23 minutes.

Dr. Mabuse (1922, Germany) - Ambitious, unfocused, and very, very long story about stock fraud and gambling. Watched: 25 minutes, out of 4 hours!

Strike (1925, Soviet Union) - Surprisingly funny for a movie that encourages you to lynch capitalists. Watched: All of it.

Glomdalsbruden (1926, Norway) - Love story about a forced marriage in rural Norway. It's interesting how it's the simple stories that benefit most from silence. Basic emotions shine in a way they rarely do in talkies. Watched: All of it.

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