Need silent film recommendations for my 5 year old...

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jonathan Burk, Aug 30, 2002.

  1. Jonathan Burk

    Jonathan Burk Second Unit

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    A few weeks ago, I finally got sick of the daily Disney/ Blue's Clues marathon my kids put me through, so I grabbed my old VHS copy of Buster Keaton's "The General" and put it on. It was a big hit, since my 5 year old loves trains. I then followed it up with "Steamboat Bill Jr.", because he also loves steamboats (thanks to a certain Mickey Mouse cartoon).

    I'm now looking for other recommendations for silent films that have a good amount of "visual comedy" that my kids might enjoy. I'll probably pick up "City Lights" and "The Gold Rush", but after that, I'm out of ideas.

    The only down side to all this is he insists I stay in the room so I can tell him what the dialog cards say!
     
  2. Brenton

    Brenton Screenwriter

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    L. Frank Baum (author of the first 14 Oz books, including The Wonderful Wizard of Oz) directed three Oz silent films in 1914.

    They have recently been rereleased on DVD, unfortunately with annoyingly bad synthesized music. They also have a narrator that reads the title cards. To silent film fans and Oz fans, the narration is annoying and pointless, but it could be perfect for your five-year-old, especially if you don't want to have to read them for him.

    The titles are The Patchwork Girl of Oz, The Magic Cloak of Oz, and His Majesty, the Scarecrow of Oz. (Avoid the 1925 silent The Wizard of Oz. It was made after Baum's death (so he had no involvement) and the film is terribly boring and aimless. Couldn't be farther from the original story.)
     
  3. Lee Bombard

    Lee Bombard Stunt Coordinator

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    If he's into Dinosaurs then you can't loose with Willis O'Brian's THE LOST WORLD from 1925. It's old enough so that the monsters won't seem very scary for a 5 year olds tastes. Some feel this was the seed that became KING KONG.

    There are also many short comedy films out on video. Try any of the Laurel & Hardy silent shorts. They run only around 20 minutes each or so. They're terrific for introducing a young one to Silent films. Image has a fantastic series of these that are on DVD. I believe they're titled "Laurel & Hardy and Friends."

    Jonathan...you've done well with the boy.

    Regards,
    Lee
     
  4. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    Try showing City Lights, The Circus, Modern Times, and some of the early Chaplin Mutuals.

    Sherlock Jr. is pretty funny, too...and less than an hour long.

    If you can find it or taped it from TCM, Safety Last is also a great movie for a 5 year old...very funny.
     
  5. JeremySt

    JeremySt Screenwriter

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    Buster Keaton's OUR HOSPITALITY. My favorite Buster Keaton comedy, and enough slapstick action to keep the kids hooked.

    If you love Buster, this is a must-see.
     
  6. Brian W.

    Brian W. Screenwriter

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    Charlie Chaplin's "The Gold Rush" from Image is friggin' hilarious. Your son would love it. It's not even completely silent, as it is the 1940s re-edit narrated by Chaplin. (The original cut has not been released on DVD yet, except in horrid-looking versions.)

    Chaplin's "The Kid" is another I'd recommend, since it features a five-year-old (or so) Jackie Coogan, who Chaplin finds in a basket on his doorstep and raises. It's very cute and touching -- I even cried in the scene where the "authorities" come to take the child away. Silent or not, little Jackie Coogan's performance in that scene is amazing. He is in absolute screaming hysterics, reaching out for Chaplin as the police drag him away.


    The scene is so emotionally truthful that I just bawled.
     
  7. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    The General, a 1927 film by Buster Keaton. Great stuff, the highlight being a Civl War, locomotive chase.
     
  8. streeter

    streeter Screenwriter

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    Brenton,

    I tried looking up the silent Wizard of Oz DVDs and only found two of them: the 1925 version which you recommend avoiding, and Scarecrow. The other two I haven't been able to find. Where did you get them?
     
  9. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    Nosferatu....then leave the boy alone in a dark room for about 20 minutes. [​IMG]
    j/k obviously.
    I wonder, he might dig Metropolis. I remember seeing it as a kid and being fascinated by the idea of robots and sci-fi of it all.
     
  10. Peter Rohlfs

    Peter Rohlfs Stunt Coordinator

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    Fairbanks's Mark of Zorro, Thief of Bagdad, and Black Pirate.
    Maybe on Three Muskateers and Robin Hood.

    Peter
     
  11. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    Especially The Black Pirate; lots of action and it's even in color!
     
  12. Robert Spalding

    Robert Spalding Second Unit

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    put on Monsters Inc. and turn the volume all the way down!

    ;-)
     
  13. Don Casali

    Don Casali Auditioning

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    I would definately recommend Betty Bronson in "Peter Pan", a really good (and somewhat overlooked) version of the famous story from 1924. Extremely imaginative with some still-quite impressive effects. Now if only someone would release Bronson's other great fairy tale film "A Kiss for Cinderella".
     
  14. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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  15. Winston Smith

    Winston Smith Auditioning

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    I'd recommend the entire Art of Buster Keaton boxed set. I've been sharing them with my girlfriend's five year old. He's liked every one he's seen. It tickles me to hear him actually request Buster Keaton over Disney.

    Man, i wish somebody had shown me Keaton when i was a kid.
     
  16. Brenton

    Brenton Screenwriter

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  17. Robert Spalding

    Robert Spalding Second Unit

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    i guess you don't understand sarcasm. I was joking.
     
  18. Enrique B Chamorro

    Enrique B Chamorro Supporting Actor

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    It may not be silent, but there is a collection
    of the Little Rascals that is OOP, but can be
    had on EBay for a nice price. It is a 6 DVD set
    with 48 episodes. The set typically sells for $40
    and is a lot of fun. The picture and sound are just
    OK, but for hours of simple fun, it is a good deal.
    The episodes are from the 1936-1938 era, with Spankey
    very young and no Alfalfa yet.
     
  19. Peter M Fitzgerald

    Peter M Fitzgerald Screenwriter

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    Keaton's SEVEN CHANCES would be another good choice, and, like SHERLOCK JR., is another feature that is under an hour in length. Keaton's short films are tops too, particularly COPS, THE GOAT, THE HIGH SIGN and THE SCARECROW.
    If you get TCM (Turner Classic Movies) via cable tv or satellite, they've been running some of Harold Lloyd's silent features lately. Your son might enjoy some of his comedy films, like SAFETY LAST, THE KID BROTHER, GIRL SHY and SPEEDY.
    Perhaps he's too young, but he might also find the silent melodrama SPARROWS (on DVD from Image) engrossing, as it features a large group of orphaned kids escaping from their mean step-father, who lives in a shack in the middle of a lake of quicksand in a gator-infested swamp.
    Then, there's always Max Fleischer's terrific silent Koko the Clown cartoons (none are on DVD yet, but might still be found on tape and LD).
     
  20. Tim Fleming

    Tim Fleming Stunt Coordinator

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    Not completely silent (for the most part so), but I would heartily recommend the Mr Bean series (are you able to play non-R1 DVDs?)... I would also recommend any of the early Betty Boop cartooons as well as the Cartoons That Time Forgot series.. my three and a half year old heartily endorses my recommendation of all of the above [​IMG]
    regards, Tim...
     

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