Intrigued by “The Artist” but don’t know where to start learning about silent films?
Worry no more. The Guardian has put together a handy list of its Top 5 Can’t Miss Silent Films. There’s some good entry points here, such as Rudolf Valentino’s “The Son of the Sheikh,” for those of you who are unfamiliar with the art form.
Here’s the nut graf:
“The top 10 most-streamed silents include a clutch of Buster Keaton’s ingenious comedies, some heady Hollywood melodrama (A Fool There Was, starring Theda Bara, and The Son of the Sheikh, with Rudolph Valentino) and creepy Swedish horror The Phantom Carriage. There are only two films on the list that seem to bear any relation to Michel Hazanavicius’s surprise hit: Frank Borzage’s mournful romance Seventh Heaven (which inspired the “tuxedo scene” in The Artist) and FW Murnau’s City Girl, a sweet romance that turns terribly dark, and which Hazanavicius has repeatedly claimed as an influence.”
I’ve always really loved silent film. They require a kind of participation from the audience that you just don’t get from the talkies. My personal favorite is Sergei Eisenstein’s “Alexander Nevsky.” It’s the Ur-Action film and Eisenstein was doing amazing stuff with camera angles and narrative techniques.