Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

The Silent Movie Thread

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • The Silent Movie Thread

    Mojo's topic involving Metropolis got me thinking about silent movies and how it had been some time since I had watched 1920's The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Considering how short it is (just over an hour), I managed to squeeze it in tonight. And so, here we are.



    A 1920 German silent horror film, directed by Robert Wiene and written by Hans Janowitz and Carl Mayer. Considered the quintessential work of German Expressionist cinema, it tells the story of an insane hypnotist (Werner Krauss) who uses a somnambulist (Conrad Veidt) to commit murders. The film features a dark and twisted visual style, with sharp-pointed forms, oblique and curving lines, structures and landscapes that lean and twist in unusual angles, and shadows and streaks of light painted directly onto the sets.


    First off, if you haven't seen the Kino release then you need to check out the trailer. This is one movie in which I honestly gawk at how beautiful it looks. More surprising is that it's a film from 1920! About the film, the description "nightmare on film" is a good fit and what I find enjoyable is that the art style serves a purpose and has a reason that is explained in the final moments (I won't ruin it for anyone). Tim Burton must have been drawn some inspiration from this. A couple of years ago, a revival theater was showing this played by a live organ accompaniment. If you can ever experience viewing a silent movie with an organist playing, do it! I missed Dr. Caligari, but I did see 1922's Nosferatu and 1925's Phantom of the Opera and they were some of the greatest movie-going experiences I've ever had. It was the same organist both times and he was mesmerizing to watch. Don't get me wrong, the films are good fun and more so with the right crowd, but he would play without any sheet music. Instead, he would watch the movie and play along with it, often changing tunes in seconds to match the tone of the scene.

    This is an all-purpose topic so feel free to chime in about any silent movies.
    People hyping up latest comic book movie to be the GOAT and I'm like "psshh, you guys must not have seen Bigfoot rip off a man's dick before in 1980's Night of the Demon."

  • #2
    I watched the trailer before reading your comments an while watching it the first thing I thought of was Tim Burton. Haxan (1922) has been on my list of films to watch for a while. Has anyone seen this one?

    Comment


    • #3
      Haxan: Witchcraft through the Ages rules! The special effects used to create the devilish imagery is impressive, especially for the time. There's a terrific documentary from 1998 called Kingdom of Shadows narrated by Rod Steiger. I know it was released in the DVD box set by Kino with the titles Cat and the Canary, The Man Who Laughs, The Penalty, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It works perfectly as a sort of gateway into the world of silent movie horror as it touches on the well known and the often unheard of.
      People hyping up latest comic book movie to be the GOAT and I'm like "psshh, you guys must not have seen Bigfoot rip off a man's dick before in 1980's Night of the Demon."

      Comment


      • #4
        I first watched Metropolis (1927) on youtube and it was the rescore version by The New Pollutants and I loved it. Have you seen that version and if so how do you think it compares to the original. I am going to try to find time tonight to sit down to watch Haxan (1922).

        Comment


        • #5
          I'm not sure if I've seen that version. I remember watching it for the first time on one of those public domain box sets, then the Giorgio Moroder score, last is the complete version with the footage they recovered from the middle of nowhere after it was thought lost for 90 something years.

          Haxan has such a strange narrative as it meanders between documentary and story, but the visual alone are worth it. I'd love to know what you think.
          People hyping up latest comic book movie to be the GOAT and I'm like "psshh, you guys must not have seen Bigfoot rip off a man's dick before in 1980's Night of the Demon."

          Comment


          • #6
            I very much enjoyed Haxan and I hope to give it another watch ASAP. Some of my favorite scenes were the documentary sequences with the eerie mid evil drawings and the narrator using his pointer. The model of how the earth was perceived by people of that time was really neat and it reminded me somewhat of a diagram I have seen an an old Dungeons and Dragons manual. Overall I thought it was a pretty powerful film and the only scenes I felt could have been left out we’re at the end depecting modern times. Going off in that direction lost some of the creepyness the rest of it held.

            Ive got to say I was engrossed with it start to finish.

            Comment


            • #7
              It's surprisingly still effective and works as an interesting curiosity piece for what witchcraft was perceived as, at least by the.....Swedish? Or was it a Danish film? I'm not sure if it's online anywhere, but if you can, definitely check out 1998's Kingdom of Shadows as it can give many more suggestions of titles to look for.
              People hyping up latest comic book movie to be the GOAT and I'm like "psshh, you guys must not have seen Bigfoot rip off a man's dick before in 1980's Night of the Demon."

              Comment


              • #8
                I thought I'd take some screen caps of Haxan to give an idea of the imagery it contains.







                People hyping up latest comic book movie to be the GOAT and I'm like "psshh, you guys must not have seen Bigfoot rip off a man's dick before in 1980's Night of the Demon."

                Comment


                • #9
                  I would say amazing for current day much less 1922.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Watched a couple more silent films over the past couple of days that I haven't seen in a few years.



                    1911's Inferno. Here's a selective and brief description taken from the DVD's booklet on this adaptation of Dante's Inferno.

                    ...the first Italian feature film ever made, it is a fantastical journey into the imagination of Dante as we travel through hell encountering angels, demons and Lucifer himself....produced over three years...a short version was released in 1911 and a full version in 1914, but it was not until after the first World War that it was widely released...amazing success at the time taking over $20 million at the U.S. box office.
















                    As you can see from the images, the film captures the look of Hell with devils and various souls being tortured. The ground is often littered with the dead and it reminds me of the final moments of The Beyond. However, as neat as some of the effects are, I still find this to be dull. Virgil and Dante go from scene to scene and point at people and things. It wouldn't be so bad if so much time wasn't wasted on watching the cast overact yet accomplishing little more than waving their hands. The score from Tangerine Dream is nice and sometimes I found myself focused more on it than what was happening on screen. It's worth a viewing and I would say the enjoyment comes from the 107 year-old special effects and your own personal interest in the original source material. If anyone is curious about it, it was on youtube last I saw.

                    Next up is 1920's Der Fluch der Menschheit or Daughter of the Night.



                    French aristocrat falls for Russian nightclub singer, gets involved in underground Russian revolutionary movement.
                    This is an Alpha disc and it looks like what you would expect. It's not a horror story, but a historical drama with Bela Lugosi in a supportive role. He's the only reason I was drawn to it as I was curious to see Lugosi in something before Dracula. Even though he doesn't use his voice, he still commands a strong presence and looks downright vicious at times even when he's supposed to be charming. Two qualities that work in his favor a decade later for his most famous role.
                    People hyping up latest comic book movie to be the GOAT and I'm like "psshh, you guys must not have seen Bigfoot rip off a man's dick before in 1980's Night of the Demon."

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I'm going to watch The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari tonight. I have seen very few silent films and I need more recommendations.

                      Here are the ones I have already seen:

                      Metropolis
                      Nosferatu
                      The Birth of a Nation
                      The Golem
                      Haxen

                      Please advise.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (The 1920 Barrymore version).
                        The Man Who Laughs (also stars Conrad Veidt and was an inspiration for the design of Joker from Batman).
                        Phantom of the Opera (Lon Chaney is the man)
                        Faust (from Murnau, the director of Nosferatu)
                        The Hunchback of Notre Dame (another Chaney)
                        Waxworks
                        Warning Shadows
                        Hands of Orlac (It's Conrad Veidt again, but I much prefer
                        The Penalty (Again, Chaney. He's called the "Man of a Thousand Faces" for a reason)

                        People hyping up latest comic book movie to be the GOAT and I'm like "psshh, you guys must not have seen Bigfoot rip off a man's dick before in 1980's Night of the Demon."

                        Comment

                        Working...
                        X