Hello movie fans! Welcome to another exciting day and another list of movies you simply must experience! In the realm of cinema, we often take for granted the convention of audible dialogue. Why shouldn't we? Since the process first took the world by storm in 1927's The Jazz Singer, directors across the globe have embraced this process. With that being said, I would wager that most of us grew up on movies with synchronized dialogue. If you're mature enough to remember silent movies, congratulations for being tech-savvy enough to find this article! For those both young and old, it's captivating to see the predecessor to the modern cinematic experience, and to that end, here are 5 of the best silent films ever!
#5: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is absolutely one of the most unsettling horror films ever shown on the silver screen! This flick from the Roaring Twenties tells the tale of a murderous hypnotist who uses a sleepwalker to do his dastardly deeds, and is filled with tension and terror! The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is an important work of art for a number of reasons.
Firstly, it makes great use of an eerie score. Every sound effect and note plays to the suspense of the scenes. Another important element in this film is the original, disconcerting set design. The shapes are elongated and slanted, and the entire stage is purposefully made to look quite unreal. The last important factor in this movie's success is the acting. Keep in mind that these actors don't have the benefit of voices to tell their stories. The acting is solid throughout, and not once is the illusion of fantasy ever broken. Tha Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is an AWESOME flick!
#4: City of Lights (1931)
Charlie Chaplin strikes again in one of his biggest films to date with this excellent romantic comedy! Although City of Lights was made after the dawn of synchronized dialogue, Chaplin decided to continue making silent films, utilizing his iconic physical comedy in lieu of audible jokes. The film revolves around a 'Tramp' (played by Chaplin) who happens upon a blind florist (portrayed by the lovely Virginia Cherrill) and falls for her. The Tramp also meets an alcoholic millionaire, who affords the Tramp some money so that he can woo the flower vendor.
The soundtrack, composed by Chaplin, is jovial and emotional, and I love the way his on-screen performance is virtually in sync with the music during many portions of the film. City of Lights is funny, heartwarming, and altogether a great experience.
#3: The Artist (2011)
This is, by far, the most modern film of the list, having been made in 2011. The Artist is certainly an excellent homage to the earliest silent films, chronicling the story of a silent film star and a young aspiring actress at the waning of the silent film age. The movie has amazing music, and the acting is excellent from Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo. I cannot emphasize enough how great it is when you can witness effective acting without the use of voice.
The film garnered major critical acclaim and won a number of Oscars, which is no mean feat. I love this movie because it is so reminiscent of the grand old days, and also because it works in terms of its own individual merit. The Artist is not good simply because it was made to be a silent film. This movie is good because it legitimately works as a film, and to accomplish so much without the use of color or sound is truly remarkable in this day and age.
#2: Nosferatu (1922)
The first time I encountered this vampire was during a cameo in SpongeBob SquarePants, and it definitely terrified me a bit. When I first watched Nosferatu, I had never before been so utterly perturbed by a horror antagonist. I can see why people find Freddy Krueger and Michael Myers scary, but look at Count Orlok! He's a terrifying presence!
Did you know that Nosferatu was actually made as an unlicensed copy of Dracula, and that when Nosferatu was released, the movie was actually ordered to be seized and destroyed?! Luckily for us, some copies of the film were smuggled away from the government, and now Nosferatu is one of the most praised horror films to date! However, there's still one more movie on this list! What could it be?!
#1: Metropolis (1927)
For the premier spot on this list, it can only be Metropolis, yet another German Expressionist film from the 1920's! Fritz Lang directed this epic movie in which the extremely elite are separated from the poor working class within the gargantuan city of Metropolis. The son of the city's leader descends into the workers' city in order to find a girl named Maria from the lower class, and from there the saga of revolution and determination begin!
Metropolis is a masterpiece of cinematic experience; it has so many influential and amazing elements to it and is a shining example of film making in one of its earliest stages. Metropolis is also an important piece of art because the German censors removed a large portion of the film prior to its initial release, leading to decades of attempted restoration. About 95% of the film has been recovered, and the movie world is a much better place for it. Go watch this movie!
Well my friends, now you have even more movies you simply must watch! If you're a fan of the classics or even just curious as to how people used to enjoy the cinema, please check these flicks out! Don't forget to share this article if you enjoyed it, leave a comment if you have any suggestions for future articles, and as always, have a KILLER day!