Recommend Some Silent Movie DVDs For Me Please

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Roger_S, Sep 26, 2005.

  1. Roger_S

    Roger_S Stunt Coordinator

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    I seem to go into different kinds of moods regarding the kinds of movies I get and have recently decided I don't have nearly enough silent films in my library. I'd like to get some recommendations of good films in the best possible quality discs. I like a variety of genres from comedies to westerns to epics. I have about 5 Keaton discs (plus I just ordered Buster Keaton Collection), a couple Chaplin films and have recently ordered some short collections and It. Western wise, I mainly have some William S. Hart films. I have a few horror films, Nosferatu and The Phantom of the Opera. I have The Golem but just a cheapie from Alpha. I guess I'm looking more for films that entertain than ones known only for historical significance.
     
  2. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    Fritz Lang's Metropolis ("Restored Authorized Version" from Kino) is an obvious one, if you don't have it already.

    If you have five hours to spare, you may want to check out Lang's "Die Nibelungen", too.

    The Fox DVD of Murnau's "Sunrise" is an excellent presentation of a first-rate silent melodrama.

    Image has a box set of Chaplin's Essanay and Mutual films, which has lots of good stuff, also available in individual volumes.

    The forthcoming Harold Lloyd collections from New Line will have several very funny films as well.

    There are also a number of very entertainig Douglas Fairbanks films on DVD such as "The Thief of Bagdad", "The Gaucho", "The Mark of Zorro", and "Robin Hood".

    Regards,
     
  3. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    Can't go wrong with...

    The Lon Chaney Collection

    Phantom of the Opera (Milestone 2-disc)

    The Thief of Bagdad (Kino SE)

    Griffith Masterworks box set (from Kino: The Birth of a Nation 2-disc SE, Intolerance, Broken Blossoms, Orphans of the Storm, and 2-disc set of Biograph shorts)

    Sunrise (Fox Studio Classics, look for it on eBay)

    The Forgotten Films of Fatty Arbuckle (Over 30 films, with commentaries and excellent remasters. 4-disc set)

    The Best Arbuckle/Keaton Collection (2-disc set of all but two of the 2-reel shorts Arbuckle and Buster Keaton appeared in together) [The missing short, The Cook, is on DVD from Milestone]

    Charley Bowers (2-disc set of most of his surviving films... terrific surrealist comedy mixed with excellent stop-motion animation)

    Metropolis (Kino edition, official restored version with wonderful orchestral score. The commentary is fairly awful, but the documentary is great)

    The Passion of Joan of Arc (Excellent Criterion release with lots of extras)

    Ben-Hur: 4-disc edition (The 1925 version is included... looks great and has an orchestral Carl Davis score)

    Also, the upcoming 7-disc set of Harold Lloyd films from New Line looks great. I saw Safety Last and The Freshman via 35mm on the big screen, so I think the DVD's should look flawless)


    There's a good box set of all the Mutual and Essanay Chaplin shorts, but the transfers could be better. The "Mutual" music is horrible, but the Robert Israel scores on the Essanays are first-rate.

    Kino's "Art of Buster Keaton" box set is good, but the transfers range from so-so to excellent. The double-feature DVD from Image with The General and Steamboat Bill Jr. (with music from Alloy Orchestra) looks incredible compared to Kino's. However, Seven Chances looks almost brand new... and if you get Kino's box set of Keaton films, you basically get all of his silents other than the Arbuckles and two MGM's (on Warner's 2-disc Keaton set).
     
  4. Roger_S

    Roger_S Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the recommendations. I do have some of these but will jot down the others as possible future purchases.
     
  5. Jeff_HR

    Jeff_HR Producer

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    Doin't over look Lang's other silents.
     
  6. Brian PB

    Brian PB Supporting Actor

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    Sticking with Region 1:

    The Last Laugh (a German Expressionist masterpiece by F.W. Murnau) [Kino] (though the R2 PAL release from Eureka in the UK is superior)

    Tabu (Murnau's last film, a beautiful tropical love story) [Image]

    Foolish Wives (a little seen masterwork of the great Erich von Stroheim) [Kino]

    Las Vampires (a great French serial from 1915 by Louis Feuillade) [Image] (unfortunately, it's way overpriced)

    Man with the Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov's stunning experimental use of montage is breathtaking in this 1929 Soviet film) [Image] (this release was restored by silent film guru David Shepard, and has a wonderful score by the Alloy Orchestra)

    Kino's Griffith Masterworks box set contains many of D.W. Griffith's greatest films (Intolerance, Broken Blossoms, and the controversial Birth of a Nation).

    I'll echo others by recommending:

    The Passion of Joan of Arc [Criterion]
    Sunrise [Fox]
    TCM Archives: Lon Chaney Collection [Warner]
    The Art of Buster Keaton [Kino]
    The Chaplin Collection [Warner--or the OOP Image releases]--here, I would especially recommend The Kid, The Gold Rush, City Lights and Modern Times.
     
  7. Roger_S

    Roger_S Stunt Coordinator

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    Sunrise is one I have coming as is Chaplin's The Circus. I nearly bought The Passion of Joan of Arc this time so it'll likely be among my next purchases along with Metropolis. I have 5 of the Kino Keatons so any others I buy would probably be individually rather than a set or I'd have lots of duplicates.

    Any other recommendations of movies with female leads? Are there good Pickford movies available? What about Mabel Normand? I do have Mickey on order. I probably do want those D.W. Griffith films. And what are the best silent westerns available that star actors other than William S. Hart (of whom I have 4)?
     
  8. Danny Burk

    Danny Burk Second Unit

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    Milestone has some great Pickford titles...my favorites include MY BEST GIRL, SPARROWS, and STELLA MARIS.

    A few excellent female-starring silents include:

    SADIE THOMPSON (Kino/Gloria Swanson)
    IT (Clara Bow; I think Kino and Milestone both have this)
    QUEEN KELLY (Kino/G. Swanson dir. by E. von Stroheim)
    3 silents in Warners' new Garbo collection, available as a set or as part of the full box set

    There aren't a lot of Normand or Hart films around, sad to say.
     
  9. Roger_S

    Roger_S Stunt Coordinator

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    More good titles, thanks. Yes, "It" is available from both Kino and Milestone...I've ordered the Milestone edition. I wasn't aware of the availability of the Swanson films so I may see about getting those and I may also order the Garbo set.

    As I may have said earlier, I do have 4 Hart films or will when Wagon Tracks arrives. I also have The Toll Gate, Tumbleweeds and Hell's Hinges (the latter via the "Treasures From American Film Archives" box set).
     
  10. Brian PB

    Brian PB Supporting Actor

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    Of the dozen or so Mary Pickford films on DVD, I would recommend two of her best: Sparrows (1926) and Tess of the Storm Country (1922).

    For Mabel Normand, you'll want the recent release by Mackinac Media, The Forgotten Films of Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, which contains quite a few "Fatty & Mabel" shorts. Also available is Tillie's Punctured Romance.

    For non-Hart westerns (I assume you've seen Tumbleweeds), try The Vanishing American. We can hope that Warner will eventually release such classics as Trail of '98 or Victor Seastrom's near-Western, The Wind.

    Also, I highly recommend Queen Kelly.
     
  11. BrianRi

    BrianRi Stunt Coordinator

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    Lost Films of Laurel and Hardy--9 Volumes. Has some of their most classic films: Big Business, Two Tars, Liberty, etc.

    Also The Slaphappy Collection is a 10 volume set that shows clips of all the major and lesser-known silent clowns.
     
  12. Jeff Swearingen

    Jeff Swearingen Second Unit

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    Get the 4 disc Ben-Hur for the silent version of this film.

    Also, as mentioned before, Murnau, Fritz Lang, and D.W. Griffith are all excellent.

    It's too bad TCM's 4 hour restoration of Greed isn't out on DVD yet [​IMG]
     
  13. Jeffrey Nelson

    Jeffrey Nelson Screenwriter

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    And don't forget Kino's excellent release of THE MAN WHO LAUGHS (1928), one of the greatest silent melodramas.
     
  14. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    It looks like there will be a huge 12-disc box set with all of the surviving L&H silents newly remastered in the near future. Lots of other related Hal Roach silent shorts will be included, too.

    Jeffrey: I can't believe I forgot to mention that. The Man Who Laughs is one of the best silents, period. The Kino/Universal DVD is excellent, too.
     
  15. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp

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    I'd second this. I watched it for the first time last night, a staggeringly great film! You could argue over which chariot race was better, but in my mind, there is no question that the galley slave sequences are far supperior in the silent. Actually, the pacing and story is better in the silent as well. A great film, and a good deal, seeing as the Chuck Heston version is not exactly cinema slumming.

    Great thread!
     
  16. Peter M Fitzgerald

    Peter M Fitzgerald Screenwriter

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    Also consider the amazing documentary/adventure-drama, CHANG, by the producer/director team of Merian C. Cooper and Ernest Schoedsack, who would later make THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME and KING KONG (both likely inspired by their experiences filming CHANG). And their earlier film, GRASS, for that matter.
     
  17. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    Cannot wait to see the Silent BH

    Must see Sunrise
     
  18. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp

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    It's a real shame that Sunrise isn't more readily available. It's easilly one of the best films I've ever seen, period. When I got it in the mail on the fox promo and watched it for the first time, I was so taken aback by it I watched it again. Powerful movie, the best love story ever commited to film.
     
  19. Lars Vermundsberget

    Lars Vermundsberget Supporting Actor

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    Watching "The Man With The Movie Camera" for the first time was one of my very greatest home video experiences, particularly because of the score.
     
  20. PaulaJ

    PaulaJ Supporting Actor

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    Tol'able David starring Richard Barthelmess.

    Fabulous film and the inspiration for Lloyd's The Kid Brother.
     

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