Category Archives: Silent

Metropolis (1927)

Director:Fritz Lang
Starring: Alfred Abel, Gustav Frohlich, Rudolf Klein Rogge, Fritz Rasp, THeodor Loos, Brigitte Helm. Germany. 2h 28m

Despite the age and the various cuts of this groundbreaking movie it’s still a powerful and disturbing film, it’s one of those titles that a lot of people are aware of but haven’t really watched and I have to admit that I’ve only seen it 3 times and each time it’s been a different cut but the darkness of the story remains constant, Regardless of HG Wells comments about the plot being “silly” it’s hard not to see how it’s a forerunner for those stark dystopian projects such as 1984 (1949), High Rise (1975-2015) and dare I even say Terminator (1984).

Opening with lavish scenes of an efficient and idealist future cityscape, the Metropolis is busy and filled with beautiful people, one of these stunning hipsters is Freder (Frohlich) his father Joh Fredersen,   is a rich and powerful man who basically owns the city and runs the world above and below from his penthouse office. While Freder is playing with his friends in a pleasure garden, their playtime is interrupted when Maria (Helm) intrudes with a group of children who exist in the underground, who have come to see how the other half live, Freder is bewitched by Maria’s beauty and follows her into the depths of the city, and into a world which he’d been kept apart from all of his privileged life by this rich father who just happened to own the city.. Continue reading Metropolis (1927)

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Haxan (1922)

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Day 8 of 31

Director: Benjamin Christensen
Starring: Astrid Holm Anna Jean-Luc Ponty (William S. Burroughs 1966 version) Benjamin Christensen as Satan/The Doctor Elisabeth Christensen Karen Winther. Sweden. 1h 31m

haxan

After reading a copy of the Malleus Maleficarum Christensen spent two years researching the history of Witchcraft and the hellish witch trials and after securing the funding he produced the most expensive silent movie of all time. Haxan is split into 4 plays, the first play details the primitive concept of the cosmos and using ancient artifacts it depicts the solar system and hell. Continue reading Haxan (1922)

The Lodger (1927)

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Day 17 of 31

lodger headerThe Lodger  – A Story of the London Fog  (Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller,  1927) (A) D: Alfred Hitchcock W: Marie Belloc Lowndes (novel) P:  C: June Tripp, Ivor Novello, Marie Ault. 1h 8m. UK.

Synopsis : A landlady suspects her new lodger is the madman killing women in london.

A new style of suspense film that kicked off a long line of amazing thrillers from a sinister director. Loosely based around the horrific crimes of the notorious jack the ripper, the villain at large in this fog shrouded London is after a particular female instead, one close to the heart of the equally notorious director.

Taking all of the mystery surrounding Jack the Ripper and balling it together with a whole new list of objectives, this film doesn’t attempt to answer any questions but instead gives an insight into the paranoia that was potentially suffered by Londoners, who can you trust, especially when you’re a landlady who rents rooms to strangers and have a daughter that fits the bill of the typical victim.

the lodgerWhen a landlady (Marie Ault) and her husband (Arthur Chesney) take in a new lodger (Ivor Novello), they’re overjoyed: He’s quiet, humble and pays a month’s rent in advance. But his mysterious and suspicious behaviour soon has them wondering if he’s the killer terrorizing local blond girls. Their daughter, Daisy (June Tripp), a cocky model, is far less concerned, her attraction obvious. Her police-detective boyfriend (Malcolm Keen), in a pique of jealousy, seeks to uncover the lodger’s true identity. Continue reading The Lodger (1927)

New wave of silent films – an introduction

It pains me when people say they will not watch a Silent film, because there is no speaking at all, and they won’t give these movies a chance. There is so much beauty to behold . Do they not understand how much talent it takes to be able to convey emotions without a single word uttered…that is art, beauty, a kind of magic.

Still from “Vampyr” Directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1932

Its not a popular style of movie anymore but its very interesting to see that there are regular silent movies reaching through the market on a regular basis. We see black and white movies all the time but even if a film is in colour but has little in the way of dialogue it’s not as popular, it’s not classed as being as entertaining!? Why is that? I know a lot of people like to be force fed a story, if they have to interpret it for themselves then they think something is suspicious!? It’s alright to make up your OWN mind about a movie, the intentions the meanings etc.

It’s quite funny when there is a quiet moment in a movie, a moment that hangs on for a few more seconds than usual and people start looking around, not quite sure if the sound has gone wrong, they struggle to understand what’s really going on. I remember the beginnings of There Will Be Blood (2007) and No Country For Old Men (2007), confusing the crowds I watched it with. It’s impressive that the lack of sound can be as vital as what is heard.

Most silent movies have an impressive soundtrack, long are the days of the single piano player tinkering on to a damsel being tied to a railway track (although I’d like to note that there was such a movie shown at the Abertoir film festival in 2012). But lots of the emotions and dialogue are replaced by music, films like THX1138 (1971) and Last of the Mohicans (1992) have instrumental versions, which I think are quite inventive and should branch out to more movies, like Blade Runner (1982), the Piano (1993) or Flash Gordon (1980), after all the composers of these movies are also highly regarded for their musical abilities.

Here’s a list of a few movies regarded as being silent in the modern age. (as always no particular order)

  • Belleville rendezvous (2003)
  • The Artist (2011)
  • Essential Killing (2010)
  • Valhalla Rising (2009 )

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