Silent Film

Vintage: Sherlock Jr. (1924)

Vintage: Sherlock Jr. (1924)

Sherlock Jr. is a 1924 American silent comedy film directed by and starring Buster Keaton. A movie theater projectionist and janitor (Buster Keaton) is in love with a beautiful girl (Kathryn McGuire). However, he has a rival, the “local sheik” (Ward Crane). Neither has much money. The projectionist buys a $1 box of chocolates, all he can afford, and changes…
Vintage: Greed (1924)

Vintage: Greed (1924)

Greed is a 1924 American silent film, written and directed by Erich von Stroheim and based on the 1899 Frank Norris novel McTeague. John McTeague is a miner working in Placer County, California. A traveling dentist calling himself Dr. “Painless” Potter visits the town, and McTeague’s mother begs Potter to take her son on as an apprentice. Potter agrees and…
Vintage: Pandora’s Box (1929)

Vintage: Pandora’s Box (1929)

Pandora’s Box is a 1929 German silent melodrama film based on Frank Wedekind’s plays Erdgeist (Earth Spirit, 1895) and Die Büchse der Pandora (1904). Lulu (Louise Brooks) is the mistress of a respected, middle-aged newspaper publisher, Dr. Ludwig Schön (Fritz Kortner). One day, she is delighted when an old man, her “first patron”, Schigolch (Carl Goetz), shows up at the…
Vintage: The Wind (1928)

Vintage: The Wind (1928)

The Wind is a 1928 pre-code American silent romantic drama film directed by Victor Sjöström. An impoverished young woman named Letty Mason (Lillian Gish) travels west by train from Virginia to live at her cousin Beverly’s isolated ranch in Sweetwater, Texas. On the way, she is bothered by the constantly blowing wind. Fellow passenger and cattle buyer Wirt Roddy (Montagu…
Vintage: Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927)

Vintage: Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927)

Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans is a 1927 American silent romantic comedy-drama directed by German director F. W. Murnau (in his American film debut) and starring George O’Brien, Janet Gaynor, and Margaret Livingston. A vacationing Woman from the City (Margaret Livingston) lingers in a lakeside town for weeks. After dark, she goes to a farmhouse where the Man (George…
Vintage: The General (1926)

Vintage: The General (1926)

The General is a 1926 American silent comedy film released by United Artists. Western & Atlantic Railroad train engineer Johnnie Gray (Buster Keaton) is in Marietta, Georgia to see one of the two loves of his life, his fiancée Annabelle Lee (Marion Mack)—the other being his locomotive, The General—when the American Civil War breaks out. He hurries to be first…
Vintage: The Gold Rush (1925)

Vintage: The Gold Rush (1925)

The Gold Rush is a 1925 American silent comedy film written, produced, and directed by Charlie Chaplin. Though it was a silent film, it received Academy Award nominations for Best Music and Best Sound Recording upon its re-release in 1942.
Vintage: City Lights (1931)

Vintage: City Lights (1931)

City Lights is a 1931 American romantic comedy film written by, directed by, and starring Charlie Chaplin. The story follows the misadventures of Chaplin’s Tramp as he falls in love with a blind girl (Virginia Cherrill) and develops a turbulent friendship with an alcoholic millionaire (Harry Myers).
Behind the scenes: Metropolis (1927)

Behind the scenes: Metropolis (1927)

Metropolis (1927) is a stylized, visually-compelling, melodramatic silent film set in the dystopic, 21st century city of Metropolis – a dialectical treatise on man vs. machine and class struggle. Austrian director Fritz Lang’s German Expressionistic masterpiece helped to develop the science-fiction genre, with innovative imagery from cinematographer Karl Freund, art design by Otto Hunte, Erich Kettelhut, and Karl Vollbrecht, and…
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is 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,…
Movie Theatre Etiquette Posters from 1912

Movie Theatre Etiquette Posters from 1912

The Library of Congress has a fascinating series of vintage movie theatre “etiquette” posters from 1912. At the time, films were silent as movies with sound didn’t become prevalent until the late 1920s. Sadly, a September 2013 report by the United States Library of Congress announced that a total of 70% of American silent films are believed to be completely…
Images from “Safety Last!” (1923)

Images from “Safety Last!” (1923)

Safety Last! is a 1923 romantic comedy silent film starring Harold Lloyd. It includes one of the most famous images from the silent film era: Lloyd clutching the hands of a large clock as he dangles from the outside of a skyscraper above moving traffic. The film was highly successful and critically hailed, and it cemented Lloyd’s status as a major…