As a child I spent many hours hanging out with my Great Grandpa Bill. I’ve mentioned him before since he is someone who influenced me as a writer. He was an incredible story teller and someone who didn’t shy away from telling spooky ghosts stories to me. He knew that they wouldn’t frighten me, rather intrigue me. I am so incredibly thankful for the time I spent with him. There was another thing that I fell in love with because of him and that is Silent Movies.
Because of my Great Grandpa, I have been watching Silent Movies since I was a kid. Back then I was fascinated by them, but it wasn’t until I became an adult and started rewatching them, did I really learn to appreciate the craft and dedication that went into making those masterpieces of art!
Over the years I have also been working on a Silent Movie script of my own. I’ve also, been reading about incredible female scenario writers such as Frances Marion, Anita Loos and Gene Gauntier for inspiration on how to write a good Silent Film. I highly recommend reading this article if you want to know more about them. These incredible women are another reason I am drawn to Silent Movies. Women shaped the beginning of Hollywood and the Silent Film industry. If you want to learn more about women who were scenario writers, producers and directors, this is a great resource.
Two other resources I highly recommend are the documentary and the book called Without Lying Down. It is the story of Frances Marion and the beginnings of Hollywood. The book is much more in depth than the documentary, but you should give both a go!
Living in Toronto we are blessed to have many rep theatres and most of them show Silent Movies. Once we are out of pandemic jail, we will be returning to them to show support and to enjoy silent movies. We are also incredibly lucky to have The Toronto Silent Film Festival. It had to be rescheduled to late Fall this year and we can’t wait to attend the screenings.
Silent Sundays is a monthly series held at The Revue. We rarely miss a viewing. It is really well curated and I’ve seen films that are new to me, as well as ones I have enjoyed many times.
The Fox in The Beach neighbourhood of Toronto also hosts Silent Movies regularly along with other fun classic movies.
There are a few blogs I regularly check out and you should too!
Movies Silently https://moviessilently.com/
The Hollywood Revue https://hollywoodrevue.wordpress.com/category/silents/
Meet Me at the Soda Fountain https://meetmeatthesodafountain.home.blog/?wref=bif
I can’t leave you without letting you know what my top favourite Silent Movies are. These are in no particular order. Where I can, I post links to full movies. Enjoy!
Metropolis (1927) (this is a gorgeous HD copy)
Girl Shy (1924) This is one of my all time favourite Harold Lloyd films. This is a really clean copy of it.
Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) This is a restored version, but with the German title cards. There are other versions with English, but I highly recommend you watch this version.
Our Dancing Daughters (1928) This is such a wonderful movie and Joan Crawford steals the show! I’m so grateful to my fellow swell dame Heather Babcock for introducing me to it.
City Girl (1930) F.W. Murnau is one of my all time favourite film makers and you will understand when you see City Girl. It was also one of the last Silent Movies, as Talkies were all the rage at this point.
Diary of a Lost Girl (1929) The film stars the beloved Louise Brooks. The title cards are in German, but you can find English subtitles.
City Lights (1931) This film is truly the last of the Silent Movies. It really speaks to The Great Depression of the 1930s and I personally feel it is relevant with what is happening right now. The full movies can be seen over on Netflix.
The Last Laugh (1924) This is another favourite F. W. Murnau film! It also has German title cards, but you can find English subtitles.
I’m sure a few of you were wondering where the Silent Horror Movies are. Do not fret!
Nosferatu (1922) The creepiest and best of all of the Dracula movies! I’ve lost count on how many times I’ve seen it.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920) is absolutely wonderful and the special effects are pretty awesome for the times!
What are some of your favourite Silent Movies?
currently watching ‘The Man With A Movie Camera’ Russian silent considered by some one of the best movies ever. Metropolis is a particular favorite – I even download the novel it was based on, oh what the Hel!