“Forgotten Hollywood”- The Great Silent Films…

Posted on February 9, 2021 by raideoman1 | No Comments

Manny P. here…

“`About a year ago, I spent an amazing weekend at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum in Fremont, California. This was a spectacular book-signing event that complimented weekend presentations of two-reelers starring Will Rogers and Charley Chase and a showcase screening of The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse. The film made Rudolph Valentino a star.

“`My gracious host Rena Kiehn made sure my visit was a success. As the event concluded, I had a frank conversation with Rena and her husband David about what I considered was my favorite silent film. After some thought, I mentioned the one motion picture that rises above all others, in my estimation. Rena and David responded by saying that the flick I had chosen was a first in their informal survey. I believe they approved of my selection.

“`Over the last year, this is a discussion I have had with other cinematic historians. Often, movies made by Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Lon Chaney, Clara Bow and Valentino are mentioned. Productions cited include The Kid, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Wings, and even the notorious The Birth of a Nation.


“`I selected The Crowd, produced in 1928 as talkies were emerging from Hollywood studios. Directed by King Vidor, this was his follow-up to the immensely popular The Big Parade. The screenplay pioneered the lives of ordinary people storyline, which became a popular narrative after World War II. Literature had championed this subject matter in the writings of novelists, such as Eugene O’Neill and John Steinbeck. The movie is an influential and acclaimed feature, which was nominated at the initial Academy Award presentation in 1929, including for Unique and Artistic Production for MGM and Best Director for Vidor.

“`Vidor remained relevant well into the 1950s. His work includes The Champ, Stella Dallas, Our Daily Bread, Northwest Passage, The Fountainhead, and Duel in the Sun. Notably, Vidor directed the Kansas scenes in The Wizard of Oz.

“`I additionally have a soft spot for the Robert Youngson 1950s and 1960s homages to silent comedies. They were my introductions to silent movies. His use of Chopin’s Tristesse was the somber musical backdrop to these worthy documentaries that featured Chaplin, Keaton, Fatty Arbuckle, Laurel and Hardy, Harry Langdon, among others.

“`One more thing… Casablanca remains my favorite classic film (1930-1980); Quiz Show is my preferred selection among more modern productions (1980-2021).

Until next time>                               “never forget”

This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 9th, 2021 at 11:24 pm and is filed under Blog by Manny Pacheco. You can follow any comments to this post through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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