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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"

A Home Of Your Own (1964)

6.8/10
Starring: Ronnie Barker, Richard Briers, Peter Butterworth, Bernard Cribbins, Bill Fraser

This wordless, though noisy comedy is a satire on Britain's building industry and stars Ronnie Barker as the put-upon cement mixer, Peter Butterworth... Read more

Asphalt (1929)

7.6/10
Director: Joe May
Starring: Betty Amann, Gustav Frohlich, Else Heller

One of the last great German Expressionist films of the silent era from acclaimed director Joe May. A by-the-book traffic cop (Gustav Frohlich) catche... Read more

Avant-Garde: Experimental Cinema of the 1920s and 30s (2005)

5.7/10

Culled from the collection of noted movie archivist Raymond Rohauer, this two-disc set features more than 20 artistically diverse experimental short f... Read more

Battleship Potemkin (1925)

8/10
Director: Sergei Eisenstein
Starring: Alexander Antonov, Vladimir Barsky

This landmark film was planned by the Soviet Central Committee to coincide with the celebrations for the 20th anniversary of the unsuccessful 1905 Rus... Read more

Ben-Hur: A Tale Of The Christ (1925)

8/10
Director: Fred Niblo
Starring: Ramon Novarro, May McAvoy, Francis X Bushman

Plagued by production problems during it's three-year filming, this silent rendition of Lew Wallacer's Imperial Rome saga is one of the most spectacul... Read more

Blancanieves (2012)

Director: Pablo Berger
Starring: Angela Molina, Daniel Gimenez Cacho, Maribel Verdu, Pere Ponce, Jose Maria Pou,...

Once upon a time there was a girl named Carmen, who never knew her mother. She learned the art of her father, a famous bullfighter, but was hated by h... Read more

Blood and Sand (1922)

7.2/10
Director: Fred Niblo
Starring: Rudolph Valentino

The mesmerizing Rudolph Valentino stars as a peasant youth who grows to become Spain's most famous matador, but along the way is fatally seduced by a... Read more

Broken Blossoms (1919)

7.6/10
Director: D W Griffith
Starring: Lillian Gish, Richard Barthelmess, Donald Crisp

Silent melodrama set in London's Limehouse district where a young Chinese man falls in love with a street waif and is devastated when she is killed by... Read more

Buster Keaton: 3 Hours of Shorts (1923)

8.9/10
Director: Buster Keaton, Eddie Cline
Starring: Buster Keaton

Buster Keaton's acting trademark was physical comedy with a stoic, deadpan expression on his face, earning him the nickname "The Great Stoneface". His... Read more

Chaplin - The Legend Lives On (1914)

Starring: Charlie Chaplin

This definitive five-disc collection from the legendary Charlie Chaplin includes: "Caught in a Cabaret", "Mabel's Busy Day", "By the Sea", "His New Jo... Read more