Silent Movies are where it all began
Just because modern movies came from silent pictures, doesn’t make the older films better. I’ve seen hundreds and hundreds of movies and a vast majority of them were NOT silent films. The first silent movie I watched was ‘Nosferatu‘ from 1922. From that moment, I could tell you that silent films are not for everybody! Lets assume for a moment that you trust my movie watching style and would let me make a suggestion. That suggestion will come in a second, but first let me tell you a little bit about myself and where I am coming from before I go suggesting silent movies to you.
I am not an expert of old old old movies like these. I don’t care much for movies I have to read the entire thing to myself, I don’t watch a TON of black and white movies, and organ music is painful to my ears if played non-stop for an hour. So why would I be suggesting silent movies? I wouldn’t… typically. These movies I will suggest you see are worth it because they are important in one way or another and as we go along I will explain why. The good thing about silent movies is that they are in the public domain which means… You can find them on the cheap and sometimes even on Youtube for free.
5 Silent Movies Worth a Look
- Nosferatu (1922) – Nosferatu is the first vampire movie. It’s based on the ‘Dracula’ novel but it couldn’t secure the rights to it’s content. The subject matter inside the film is similar yet different enough to not invade any copyrights. The scenes are iconic and if you can mute or turn down the organ music, you might find yourself pleasantly surprised.
- The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) – This is an early German film that would go on to define the German Expressionism Period. The great part about silent movies is the fact that it can be shown exactly the same way in every language, all they had to do was put in new speech cards. Dr. Caligari was one of the first films to ever produce a twist ending.
- Birth of a Nation (1915) – This is a really odd movie for me to suggest because it was very racist in nature. This is a Civil War epic that made the KKK the heroes of the film. This movie was very important because it introduced new techniques for the time like Close ups, Camera pans, and Eye Line Matches. Just trust me here, this movie is worth a watch just for the history involved with it.
- Frankenstein (1910) – This is the first Frankenstein adaptation ever made. At just over 12 minutes long, this short film is worth a view for sure. For a long period of time this movie was thought to be lost forever. This was shot in a time that didn’t put much emphasis on film preservation.
- The Phantom of the Opera (1925) – This is a VERY iconic movie starring the man of 1,000 faces himself Lon Chaney. Lon Chaney’s son Lon Chaney Jr. went on to act in talking pictures. He is best known for playing ‘The Wolfman’. This movie is also worth a look.
Tip of the Hat
- The Gold Rush (1925) – This is a Charlie Chaplin film and I really feel that if you are a true comedy fan, you need to watch at least 1 Chaplin movie. This one would be one of the best to choose.
- City Lights (1931) – This is another Chaplin film. This movie was made at the end of the silent era, just for reference the iconic Bela Lugosi Dracula was released the same year. This film has been said to have the greatest ending in movie history.
- Terror Island (1920) – This is a Houdini movie, and although his movies are known for being terrible, it was really cool to see Houdini in action. I am a big fan of magic and seeing the legend on the screen was worth the somewhat bad movie for me.
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