Thursday, 23 May 2013

Top 5 Silent Movies of the 1920's

After seeing The newest version of The Great Gatsby the other day, I found myself thinking about all things 1920's, because, of the 20's setting of that film. So it led to this, I present you my top 5 Silent Movies of the 1920's.

5. The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (1920)
The brilliant artistic and unique Dr Caligari. This was one of the first movies of the silent era I ever saw,  it has stayed with me forever. The unique approach of German Expressionist cinema totally showed itself to the world with this twisted, strange and artful movie. This movie has one of the greatest twist endings ever. I have reviewed this film just click here to read it.

4. Nosferatu (1922)
The classic horror film itself. I Love it. Count Orlok is just pure evil and kinda terrifying, the way he slowly stalks his prey. Once again I have a reviewed this movie click here to read it.

3. The Kid (1921)
Charlie Chaplin is an icon of cinema there is no doubt. But with so many movies and shorts this is undoubtedly my favorite. Chaplin wanted to create a movie that had comedy yet also showed heart, soul and a lot of emotion, he struck gold with this and probably a chord in everyone's heart. The ever famous tramp finds a lost baby and ends up taking him home and bring him up as his own son. We see this wonderful father/son relationship develop, it tugs at your heart strings. Not to spoil too much lets say he has to fight to keep this "Son" of his, this is where we see so much emotion surprisingly from Chaplin himself it can be very heartbreaking in scenes. Pure Genius.
2. Metropolis (1927)
Not just a great silent era film, but probably one of the greatest films of all time. In a futuristic city which is divided between the very poor workers and the guys who run the city. The son of the man who controls the city, falls in love with a prophet, whom tells the people of the poor society that a savior shall come to them. film is such a beautiful piece of early cinema, Fritz Lang pushed the boat out with this movie and it shows, still to this day. The way he filmed the created city is just amazing for the time, its breathtaking. The sets just look so artistic and follow the tradition of German Expressionist Cinema. Brigitte Helm is amazing in this film she plays a dual role of the prophet and her robot double, its such a terrific performance, she plays them both so different and unique, shy and timid as the prophet yet the total opposite as the robot double. The only down side for this film for me is Gustav Fröhlich, who plays the other lead Freder. He is just so over the top and nearly ruins the film. This film was important to cinema many movies like Blade Runner and Star Wars have referenced this film, their creators Ridley Scott and George Lucas respectfully, count this movie as one of their favorites.

1. The General (1926)
Yes Chaplin is probably the most famous comedy movie star of his time, but in my view Buster Keaton was better, controversial maybe but this movie is just such a great movie it had to be my number one, Keaton  will always be remembered for this film. Set during the American Civil War Union spies steal an engineer's beloved locomotive, he pursues it straight through the enemy lines, life or death he wants his train back. The stunts in this film and Keaton's comedy timing, in my view could be some of the greatest seen in cinema, backed up by his melancholy look in his face, you just find yourself glued to the film. There is one stand out and famous scene where a bridge is blown up while a train is going over it. In this day, they would use computer imagery to do this, or go back the 90's or before that they would use models.... not in this film, they really destroyed a bridge and train for this one scene, it was one of the most expensive shots ever filmed in cinema for such a long time. The brilliant underplaying and stone face look of Keaton whenever something happens is brilliant, he knew how to show comedy, he didn't need to use facial movements let the crazy stunts and antics speak for themselves, be it hanging on front of a train dangerously or firing cannon balls in all sorts of directions to comedic effect, its just a true silent era and comedy classic, you need to see this film.
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