To celebrate eight years of blogging, Bish Denham is hosting the Listing Hop. Participants will make lists on any topic they so desire, except adult-related content. I’m also participating on my names blog.
Since most of my October posts are about silent horror films with landmark anniversaries this year, I’m going with 25 silent films one most needs to see. If you see no other silents in your lifetime, these are the ones I feel are most important to your education and development. Obviously, this list is based on my own personal experience, and I admittedly have a rather large gap in terms of Asian silent cinema.
In no particular order:
1. Metropolis (1927), directed by Fritz Lang
2. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921), directed by Rex Ingram, written by June Mathis, starring Rudy Valentino and Alice Terry, and based on the excellent novel by Vicente Blasco Ibáñez
3. The Big Parade (1925), starring John Gilbert and directed by King Vidor
4. The Crowd (1928), directed by King Vidor
5. City Lights (1931), by Charles Chaplin
6. Ben-Hur (1925), starring Ramón Novarro (and worlds better than the Charlton Heston version, in my opinion)
7. Le Voyage dans la Lune (1902), by the legendary film pioneer Georges Méliès
8. The Great Train Robbery (1903), directed by the early film legend Edwin S. Porter
9. The Phantom of the Opera (1925), starring Lon Chaney, Sr.
10. The Birth of a Nation (1915), directed by D.W. Griffith and starring Lillian Gish
11. Seven Years Bad Luck (1921), starring comedy legend Max Linder
12. The Last Laugh (1924), directed by F.W. Murnau
13. The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928), directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer
14. Modern Times (1936), by Charles Chaplin
15. Gertie the Dinosaur (1914), animated by Winsor McKay
16. Safety Last! (1923), starring Harold Lloyd
17. Leap Year (1921), directed by and starring Roscoe Arbuckle
18. The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926), directed and animated by Lottie Reiniger
19. Faust (1926), directed by F.W. Murnau
20. Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928), directed by and starring Buster Keaton
21. Tess of the Storm Country (1922), starring Mary Pickford
22. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), starring Conrad Veidt and Lil Dagover
23. Battleship Potemkin (1925), directed by Sergey Mikhaylovich Eisenstein
24. Berlin: Symphony of a Great City (1927), directed by Walter Ruttmann
25. Man with a Movie Camera (1929), directed by Dziga Vertov (né David Abelevich Kaufman)
I freely admit the majority of silents I’ve seen to date (951) are American, German, Russian, French, Scandinavian, and British, with a couple of Italian, Chinese, and Japanese films. I really ought to do a list focusing exclusively on Asian silents when I have more than five or six under my belt, particularly considering they’re from a much different culture and were also made until the early Thirties. The Far East didn’t move into the sound era the same time as the West transitioned.
On Wednesday and Friday, I’ll conclude my October series on silent horror films with posts about The Phantom of the Opera. I’m already thinking ahead to which silent and early sound horror films to spotlight next October, with landmark anniversaries in 2016. On the docket so far are Dracula, Dante’s Inferno, The Phantom Carriage, The Bat, Faust, Der Müde Tod, and a few Georges Méliès films from 1896.