Top Ten: Silent Films

by Christopher Misch

Some people refuse to watch silent films, but what they neglect to comprehend is that the birth of movies began in the silent era. Movies are a visual medium, and shouldn’t necessarily need dialogue or sound to get their point across. This week’s Top Ten Tuesday looks at Silent Films.

>> My Selections

1. The Passion of Joan of Arc (Dreyer, 1928)

2. A Story of Floating Weeds (Ozu, 1934)

3. Battleship Potemkin (Eisenstein, 1925)

4. Metropolis (Lang, 1927)

5. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (Murnau, 1927)

6. Earth (Dovzhenko, 1930)

7. Broken Blossoms (Griffith, 1919)

8. The Birth of a Nation (Griffith 1915)

9. City Lights (Chaplin, 1931)

10. Un Chien Andalou (Buñuel, 1929)

>>Your Selections

1. Metropolis (Lang, 1927) 86%

2. The Passion of Joan of Arc (Dreyer, 1928) 71%

3. Nosferatu (Murnau, 1922) 71%

4. Battleship Potemkin (Eisenstein, 1925) 57%

5. The General (Keaton, 1926) 50%

6. Un Chien Andalou (Buñuel, 1929) 43%

7. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (Murnau, 1927) 43%

8. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Wiene, 1920) 36%

9. The Gold Rush (Chaplin, 1925) 36%

10. Sherlock Jr. (Keaton, 1924) 29%

Christopher Misch

I've always loved movies, but it wasn't until under the tutelage of Professor Garry Leonard at the University of Toronto that my passion for the industry became an understanding of an art form. With a specific fascination in both the western genre and Asian cinema in general, I am of the view that good movies are either enlightening or entertaining, and if you are truly lucky they are both.
  • Reid LePage

    Wow - I’m surprised about Un Chien Andalou’s appearance. You must have some open-minded and/or academic readers.

  • Christopher Misch

    Me too. Pleasantly surprised, but Un Chien Andalou definitely deserves a spot.

  • Adam K

    I love “Metropolis,” but could its #1 placing have anything to do with its recent restoration?

    Hard to argue with any of the consensus choices, even if the list is a bit safe.

    For Misch’s list, I love the inclusions of “Story of Floating Weeds” (even if I barely prefer “I Was Born, But…” amongst Ozu’s silents) and “Broken Blossoms” (I’m surprised no Griffith made an appearance on the consensus).

  • Christopher Misch

    That’s an interesting observation, I personally haven’t seen the Metropolis restoration, though I can imagine. I actually preferred ‘Story of Floating Weeds’ to ‘Floating Weeds’, not sure what the general consensus is between those two films.

  • Christopher Misch

    My weakness with silents, is in comedies. I’ve only seen one Buster Keaton film!

  • Trevor Reznick

    I saw Un Chien Andalou when I was about 10. It went by the English title “The Andalousion Dog”. My Dad took us to some art house here in Dallas and of course my mind was warped forever.

  • Christopher Misch

    Your dad took you to see Un Chien Andalou when you were ten? That’s one really cool dad!

  • Franchesca

    The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is a great silent film, surprised it’s not on your list, Misch.

    there’s also a fantastic modern silent short film by Guy Maddin called The Heart of the World, probably worth at least a little shout out. :) check it out on YouTube if you’ve never seen it before.

  • Christopher Misch

    The Dr. Caligari is an incredibly influential film in terms of its visuals, but I do find that it’s ending drags on and isn’t nearly as effective as the rest of the film.

  • Christopher Misch

    Oh and I have seen Madden’s #TheHeartOfTheWorld. It’s wonderful! What else have you seen from Madden?

  • Franchesca

    I’m glad you’ve seen it!

    other films i’ve watched by him are Careful, The Saddest Music in the World, and My Winnipeg.
    how about yourself?

  • Franchesca

    i’m glad you’ve seen it!

    other films i’ve seen by him are Careful, The Saddest Music in the World, and My Winnipeg.
    how about yourself?

  • Christopher Misch

    You have me beat. When it comes to Maddin, I’ve only seen My Winnipeg and the aforementioned The Heart of the World.

  • Franchesca

    ah, still great films though! the only reason have seen the movie Careful is because of a Canadian Cinema class i took last year. give it a watch, it’s quite a good film, though maybe a little too long. perhaps a little underrated too..

  • Christopher Misch

    I can handle long movies. My favourite film is 6 1/2 hours in length, so length isn’t an issue. What is important is how well it uses those minutes.

  • Franchesca

    but that is what i mean. it is unnecessarily long.

  • Franchesca

    though that was my reaction the first time (reference to it being unnecessarily long). might have to refresh and watch it again; it’s been a while since last saw it.

  • Christopher Misch

    Oh ok, well ‘unnecessarily long’ doesn’t work for me haha.

  • Christopher Misch

    Oh ok, well ‘unnecessarily long’ doesn’t work for me haha.

  • Baron Ronan

    Man With a Movie Camera, anyone?

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