Saturday, January 09, 2016

Cleaning Up

It's no surprise, I guess, that Jesse Walker doesn't have a top ten film list for 1925.  There aren't as many silent films out there to see, and they're shown less. Still, 1925 might be the biggest year ever for silent film, and Jesse lists a few favorites.

His favorite is The Battleship Potemkin, which often makes all time top ten lists.  While I don't rate it that high, it is a special film, and central in cinema history.

He mentions a few others that are quite good--The Freshman (Harold Lloyd's most popular silent feature), Seven Chances and The Phantom Of The Opera.  They would certainly make my top ten for the year.

What else is there?  Well, there's The Big Parade, a memorable film that was not only the biggest hit of the year, but the biggest hit of the decade and perhaps of the whole silent era.

There's the second biggest hit of the year, the original Ben-Hur, which still holds up quite well--maybe better than the Charlton Heston remake.

There's Strike--which Jesse hasn't seen--another film by Eisenstein, and almost as famous as Potemkin.

You've got Lubitsch, doing fine sophisticated comedy with Lady Windermere's Fan.

You have Erich von Stroheim, before his directing career blew up, having a huge hit in The Merry Widow.

You've got another fine film from Buster Keaton (though one of his weaker features), Go West.

There are a lot of major stars out there.  There's Lon Chaney in The Unholy Three.   There's Douglas Fairbank in Don. Q, Son Of Zorro.  There's Mary Pickford in Little Annie Rooney.  There's W.C. Fields (not a major movie star yet, but fun to see) in D.W. Griffith's Sally Of The Sawdust. 

On top of that, there are titles like Stella Dallas, The Lost World and East Lynne.  And I'm not even getting into shorts.

Then there's the best film of the year--Chaplin's The Gold Rush.  It was the biggest hit comedy of the silent era and the film Charlie wanted to be remembered for.  It may be his greatest work, and might make my top ten of all time.  Jesse doesn't mention it, but then, he's always had a thing about Chaplin.

There's also 1915, which Jesse notes has some instalments of his favorite, Les Vampires.  He doesn't mention what he thinks of perhaps the most significant film of the silent era, 1915's Birth Of A Nation.


Blogger Jesse said...

I wrote this about Birth of a Nation about a decade ago.

7:17 AM, January 09, 2016  
Blogger Jesse said...

I do like Go West too, by the way. I'm not a big fan of Lady Windermere's Fan (Wilde shouldn't be silent!) or, as you've guessed, The Gold Rush. I think the only other 1925 movie you mention here that I've seen is the original Ben-Hur, which I don't remember all that well.

Have you ever watched the 1925 version of The Wizard of Oz? I wouldn't put it on any top 10 list, but it's...interesting.

7:45 AM, January 09, 2016  
Blogger LAGuy said...

I have seen the 1925 Wizard Of Oz and I do like it, though it has next to nothing to do with the story of The Wizard Of Oz as we know it. It's more a bizarre Larry Semon comedy. He was a major silent comedian in his day, though he's no longer considered such--probably because of his overly mechanical approach to comedy, though perhaps because most of his stuff, I believe, hasn't survived.

12:21 PM, January 09, 2016  
Blogger ColumbusGuy said...

That's one of the great Mark Steyn lines, "The future belongs to those who show up for it."

3:05 AM, January 10, 2016  

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