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The Popularity of Silent Movies

The Popularity of Silent Movies

Watching silent movies may be a more common activity than you would think. People who are true movie buffs love to catch up on these classic films. There are some great silent movies you can watch from archives, some of them more popular than others and some more significant than others.

A few years ago, less than a dozen silent features were available for DVD hire or purchase. The super-popular star, Lon Chaney, headed the list with his Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) and Phantom of the Opera (1925). Other titles, in order of popularity, were the 1925 version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World, Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1927), Alfred Hitchcock’s The Lodger (1926), Charlie Chaplin’s Easy Street (1917), Harold Lloyd’s Safety Last, Douglas Fairbanks’ Thief of Bagdad (1924), and three movies starring the one and only Rudolph Valentino: The Sheik (1921) and its sequel, The Son of the Sheik (1926), and The Eagle (1925). By the end of 2008, this list has expanded from eleven to more than 500 DVDs. Of course, they are not all feature films. Some are collections of comedy shorts or cartoons; and some titles have been duplicated. Thief of Bagdad, for example, is available on no less than eight different labels.

Nonetheless, it is safe to say that more than 400 silent features are now represented in DVD formats, and are available for purchase or hire. Some DVDs are on offer for as low as $5. Others cost as much as nine times this amount! Unfortunately, quality varies as widely as the purchase prices, but not in the same proportions. Indeed, some cheap versions are actually of far better quality than some of the more expensive. It was to be expected that some of the silent era’s major stars would be the first to benefit from the public’s suddenly awakened interest in pre-sound movies. This has certainly been the case with Greta Garbo, Mary Pickford, Louise Brooks, Buster Keaton, Colleen Moore, Janet Gaynor, Charles Farrell, Clara Bow, Bessie Love, Conrad Veidt, Ronald Colman, Harry Langdon, Ramon Novarro, Lillian Gish and Pola Negri.

At the middle of 19th century, silent movies are so popular to watch. It was a kind of movie where you don’t have any sound. Silent movies did not have any talking or music in them. As the movies were mute, silent movie projector live music was played in sync with the action on the screen, by pianos, organs, and other instruments to provide drama and excitement to these movies. Some silent films had live actors or narrators to give the excitement to the audience.

A few of the biggest silent stars like Greta Garbo, Ronald Colman and Joan Crawford, successfully made the transition to sound and became even bigger box office draws in the 1930s and 1940s. Some, of course, fell by the wayside, and either took the opportunity to retire or continued their careers in minor roles or bit parts. Now, thanks to DVD, many of the hidden glories and triumphs of Hollywood’s past are now available to entertain and enthral today’s generation of movie lovers.