Silent Films

"Our invention can be exploited for a certain time as a scientific curiosity, but apart from that, it has no commercial future whatsoever." - Auguste Lumiere, early film maker who, with his brother Louis, organized the first public performance of motion pictures in December 1895. A silent film is a film which has no accompanying soundtrack. The idea of combining motion pictures with recorded sound is nearly as old as the motion picture itself, but before the late 1920s, most films were silent. The years before sound came to the movies are known as the "silent era" among film scholars and historians. The art of motion pictures grew into full maturity before silent films were replaced by "talking pictures" or "talkies", and a number of film buffs believe the quality of the cinema actually decreased for a few years, before the new medium of sound was adapted to the movies. The glorious early days of cinema are represented here in this collection with many titles still acknowledged as classics of the cinema to this day. "Slapstick Comedy" found as a subhead of "Comedy" may also be worth a browse... Right: Scene from Fritz Lang's 1927 "Metropolis"

The Holy Mountain (1926)

Director: Arnold Fanck
Starring: Leni Riefenstahl, Luis Trenker, Ernst Petersen

In director Arnold Fanck's breathtaking silent drama, considered by many to be the epitome of the German "mountain film" genre, Leni Riefenstahl plays... Read more

The Last Laugh (1924)

Director: F W Murnau
Starring: Emil Jannings, Kurt Hiller

The crowning achievement of the German expressionist movement and one of the most notable artworks to arise from the Weimar Republic is Friedrich Wilh... Read more

The Lodger (Blu-ray) (1927)

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Starring: Marie Ault, Ivor Novello

2012 restoration. Aesthetically influenced by German Expressionism, and based on the story of Jack the Ripper, 'The Lodger' was the film in which Hitc... Read more

The Lodger / Downhill (1927)

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Starring: Marie Ault, Ivor Novello

Aesthetically influenced by German Expressionism, and based on the story of Jack the Ripper, 'The Lodger' was the film in which Hitchcock first demons... Read more

The Lost World (1925)

Director: Harry Hoyt
Starring: Bessie Love, Wallace Beery, Lewis Stone

The original silent film version of Arthur Conan Doyle's classic adventure story about a group of travellers who are transported to a world populated... Read more

The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)

Director: Carl Theodor Dreyer
Starring: Renee Falconetti, Eugene Silvain, Andre Berley, Maurice Schutz, Antonin Artaud

With it's stunning camerawork and striking compositions, Dreyer's film convinced the world that movies could be art. Renee Falconetti (in her only rol... Read more

The Phantom Of The Opera (Chaney) (1925)

Director: Rupert Julian
Starring: Lon Chaney, Mary Philbin, Norman Kerry

Rupert Julian's 1925 silent masterpiece has Lon Chaney in the great role of his career as Erik, the vengeful composer who lives in the catacombs under... Read more

The Silent Films of Alfred Hitchcock: The Manxman / The Ring (1927)

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Starring: Anny Ondra, Lillian Hall-Davis, Carl Brisson, Malcolm Keen

"The Ring" (1927) One of Hitchcock's best silent films, about boxer "Round One" Stander, a circus attraction who fights all comers. When he marries th... Read more

The Story of the Kelly Gang (1906)

Director: Charles Tait

In 1906, Australia produced what was arguably the first ever feature-length film. Shot just outside Melbourne, it recounts the exploits of legendary... Read more

The Ten Commandments (1956 and 1923 versions) (1956)

Director: Cecil B DeMille
Starring: Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner, Anne Baxter, Edward G Robinson, Yvonne De Carlo, D...

For sheer pageantry and spectacle, few motion pictures can claim to equal the splendor of Cecil B. DeMille's 1956 remake of his epic "The Ten Commandm... Read more