If you could do any one thing to promote silent film

Open, general discussion of silent films, personalities and history.
  • Author
  • Message
Offline
User avatar

telical

  • Posts: 938
  • Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2011 10:46 pm

If you could do any one thing to promote silent film

PostWed Aug 16, 2017 12:53 pm

If you could do any one thing to promote silent film, what would it be? Saying that there is a $50,000 cap on the amount of money being spent, at least as an initial investment. If that investment then produced income resulting in more money coming in to fund the project, that's fine.
Offline

silentmovies742

  • Posts: 513
  • Joined: Sat Jul 02, 2011 4:42 am

Re: If you could do any one thing to promote silent film

PostWed Aug 16, 2017 2:56 pm

The best thing to promote silent film would be to stop silent film fans telling people interested in this era of film making to watch Birth of a Nation, Battleship Potemkin, and The Passion of Joan of Arc. If anything turns people away from silent film at an early stage its that. If someone came up to us and said "I'm interested in 1950s films, what you would you recommend?" we would be unlikely to say "go see Carl Dreyer's Odet and Bergman's Seventh Seal. You'll have a ball!" But that's exactly the sort of films many (including the "best of" lists) would suggest for the silent era. Instead, to give people a way in, the Chaplins, Chaneys, Keatons and so on need to be promoted to newbies. After that, lead people on to more arty stuff if they're interested. And that costs nothing. That's up to us.

The other important thing is to try to change the perception that silent film is a genre. It's not. It's an era. Again, this does nothing to help the popularity of these movies.
Offline
User avatar

Mike Gebert

Site Admin

  • Posts: 5645
  • Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2007 3:23 pm
  • Location: Chicago

Re: If you could do any one thing to promote silent film

PostWed Aug 16, 2017 2:59 pm

I'd start a discussion si—
“Sentimentality is when it doesn't come off—when it does, you get a true expression of life's sorrows.” —Alain-Fournier
Offline
User avatar

Donald Binks

  • Posts: 2822
  • Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2011 10:08 am
  • Location: Somewhere, over the rainbow

Re: If you could do any one thing to promote silent film

PostWed Aug 16, 2017 4:28 pm

I have been promoting silent pictures for as long as I can remember. I have in my memory a whole string of astonished and incredulous faces staring at me as I have brought up the subject. Still, it does create a talking point as those people have told others "I was talking to that crackpot Binks the other day. You'll never guess - he was on about silent pictures!" And, so the message gets through - with the possibility that someone might actually find out more. :D

When silent pictures can get to be shown in a proper setting - such as an old picture palace, and played to by a full orchestra - with perhaps an organ interlude beforehand or a stage prologue - that's where you get the punters in! I have seen silent pictures in this environment - something I never ever envisaged I would see in my lifetime - and it has always proved a winner. The comments by audience members afterwards would indicate that they found the whole experience "absolutely stunning".

If I had the where-with-all, I would love to show silent pictures this way myself. (Oh, why, oh why can't I win the lottery?" :D )
Regards from
Donald Binks

"So, she said: "Elly, it's no use letting Lou have the sherry glasses..."She won't appreciate them,
she won't polish them..."You know what she's like." So I said:..."
Offline
User avatar

2 Reel

  • Posts: 66
  • Joined: Wed May 17, 2017 10:34 am
  • Location: Earth, for the time being

Re: If you could do any one thing to promote silent film

PostWed Aug 16, 2017 4:49 pm

Create a new 3D IMAX feature film that is entirely visual and without dialogue, enhanced by one of the world's greatest themes, a Pulitzer-worthy script, awe-inspiring cinematography, memorable performances, and a haunting music score that resonates long after leaving the theater, and ensure that press releases account for the use of the classic art form that dates back to the invention of film. Nothing like a fresh smell wafting from a bakery to draw in customers for the old favorites.
They call me "Dangerous Dal"
Offline
User avatar

Donald Binks

  • Posts: 2822
  • Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2011 10:08 am
  • Location: Somewhere, over the rainbow

Re: If you could do any one thing to promote silent film

PostWed Aug 16, 2017 4:52 pm

2 Reel wrote:Create a new 3D IMAX feature film that is entirely visual and without dialogue, enhanced by one of the world's greatest themes, a Pulitzer-worthy script, awe-inspiring cinematography, memorable performances, and a haunting music score that resonates long after leaving the theater, and ensure that press releases account for the use of the classic art form that dates back to the invention of film. Nothing like a fresh smell wafting from a bakery to draw in customers for the old favorites.


I thought they did something like that with "The Artist" (2011). Even though it won an Academy Award for Best Picture it was still trashed by a lot of people who supposedly like silent pictures.
Regards from
Donald Binks

"So, she said: "Elly, it's no use letting Lou have the sherry glasses..."She won't appreciate them,
she won't polish them..."You know what she's like." So I said:..."
Offline

Battra92

  • Posts: 335
  • Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2011 12:02 pm
  • Location: Capital Region of NY

Re: If you could do any one thing to promote silent film

PostThu Aug 17, 2017 8:40 am

silentmovies742 wrote:The best thing to promote silent film would be to stop silent film fans telling people interested in this era of film making to watch Birth of a Nation, Battleship Potemkin, and The Passion of Joan of Arc.


I don't understand why people here trash Joan so much. It's an amazing film! I get that most people like comedies or lighter fare but there's no shortage of those in any time period. To me I like to seek out the stuff unique to the silent era.

Donald Binks wrote:I thought they did something like that with "The Artist" (2011). Even though it won an Academy Award for Best Picture it was still trashed by a lot of people who supposedly like silent pictures.


I still don't get the hate that the Artist received. It was a fun movie. My wife and I saw it twice in the theater (something I never, EVER do.) I actually found my Blu Ray copy the other day and I plan on watching it again.
Offline
User avatar

maliejandra

  • Posts: 395
  • Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2009 5:32 pm

Re: If you could do any one thing to promote silent film

PostThu Aug 17, 2017 11:21 am

2 Reel wrote:Create a new 3D IMAX feature film that is entirely visual and without dialogue, enhanced by one of the world's greatest themes, a Pulitzer-worthy script, awe-inspiring cinematography, memorable performances, and a haunting music score that resonates long after leaving the theater, and ensure that press releases account for the use of the classic art form that dates back to the invention of film. Nothing like a fresh smell wafting from a bakery to draw in customers for the old favorites.


With only $50,000? Good luck.

I think I'd rent a film or two and a theater and bus inner-city elementary school kids to see them for a field trip. Gotta get 'em when they're young.
Offline

WaverBoy

  • Posts: 1598
  • Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2008 12:50 am
  • Location: Seattle, WA

Re: If you could do any one thing to promote silent film

PostThu Aug 17, 2017 10:23 pm

Donald Binks wrote:
2 Reel wrote:Create a new 3D IMAX feature film that is entirely visual and without dialogue, enhanced by one of the world's greatest themes, a Pulitzer-worthy script, awe-inspiring cinematography, memorable performances, and a haunting music score that resonates long after leaving the theater, and ensure that press releases account for the use of the classic art form that dates back to the invention of film. Nothing like a fresh smell wafting from a bakery to draw in customers for the old favorites.


I thought they did something like that with "The Artist" (2011). Even though it won an Academy Award for Best Picture it was still trashed by a lot of people who supposedly like silent pictures.


Yeah, amazing how many silent film fans trashed The Artist. Not your average multiplex moviegoers, but SILENT FILM FANS. So sad. It was a heartfelt love letter to the era, reverent to its conventions, but more than a gimmick -- it was an extremely charming, enjoyable film in its own right. I think at least a chunk of the bile was due to pretentious cynical backlash because it was actually popular with critics and won a well-deserved Best Picture Oscar. I'm not sure what those naysaying fans were expecting or wanting. I can't imagine a neo-silent being better than The Artist, though I'd certainly love to see one.
Offline

WaverBoy

  • Posts: 1598
  • Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2008 12:50 am
  • Location: Seattle, WA

Re: If you could do any one thing to promote silent film

PostThu Aug 17, 2017 10:30 pm

Battra92 wrote:
silentmovies742 wrote:The best thing to promote silent film would be to stop silent film fans telling people interested in this era of film making to watch Birth of a Nation, Battleship Potemkin, and The Passion of Joan of Arc.


I don't understand why people here trash Joan so much. It's an amazing film! I get that most people like comedies or lighter fare but there's no shortage of those in any time period. To me I like to seek out the stuff unique to the silent era.


He's not trashing Joan; he's emphasizing (correctly in my opinion) that Joan is a horrible (HORRIBLE) choice for a silent film neophyte, as are the other two. Get 'em started with a rollicking comedy. That's how I was initiated, by my dad sitting down with me and watching the Chaplin Mutuals and Harold Lloyd's World Of Comedy on PBS in the late '70s. I branched out from silent comedies to silent horror films, and then the floodgates were open.
Offline

Dave Pitts

  • Posts: 156
  • Joined: Sat Nov 30, 2013 9:55 am

Re: If you could do any one thing to promote silent film

PostFri Aug 18, 2017 8:28 am

Get a good print of The Kid Brother and run it on the Times Square news board (or whatever that big screen is called.)

Send a gift bag to Oprah with DVDs of The Kid Brother, The Wind, The Ten Commandments (because ya gotta have a full, blown-out comedy), Wings, The Big Parade, The Student Prince in Old Heidelburg, City Lights, Cops & The Scarecrow (with Buster K.), The Strong Man, Variete, Chaney's Hunchback, Underworld...etc. etc. Stroke her ego to the point where she knows that she'll be a cultural trend setter by establishing Oprah's Silent Film Club.

See if Baby Peggy will do a cameo in the next Star Wars prequel.
Offline
User avatar

bobfells

  • Posts: 2905
  • Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2010 2:03 pm
  • Location: Old Virginny

Re: If you could do any one thing to promote silent film

PostFri Aug 18, 2017 9:40 am

College film courses have done more to alienate people from silent films by showing the "classics" such as BIRTH OF A NATION, POTEMKIN, JOAN OF ARC (sorry to its admirers), and a few others that have rarely made silent film fans out of anybody. The PBS series "The Silent Years" is likely the last project that really promoted silents to the general public, and that was in the 70s. The best hope today is found with Youtube and its huge number of silent films available for free. Sure, many are in dreadful quality and have lousy music or none at all. But there are a number of gems among the trash, such as Paramount posting the full-length WINGS in HD on YT. (They have since moved it to rental at $2.99) There are other high quality silents on YT, if not HD (780i and above) they look pretty good at 480i. Go below that and the image suffers. I wonder if it's worthwhile compiling a list of great looking silents on YT?

There is the question of watching these films on a monitor, laptop, ipad, or heaven forbid, iphone. But to those who demand the big screen experience, there's Chromecast - a nifty plug-in on your flat screen TV that shows anything found on YT (and many other sources). Admittedly, the image quality can be challenging if not in HD, but it's no worse than watching TCM in many cases. Better yet, where those films are in 480i or higher, they look great on those screens. So the homework for anybody here who is serious about promoting silent films: circulate a list of good-looking silents on YT, mention Chromecast, and perhaps suggest a few surefire silents among them, and you've done your bit to save western civilization from further decline.
Offline

IA

  • Posts: 109
  • Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2009 3:09 pm

Re: If you could do any one thing to promote silent film

PostFri Aug 18, 2017 1:49 pm

All Quiet On the Western Front is regularly taught in high school, and I think it would be a great idea to encourage teachers to screen the silent version of the film after they've finished teaching the book. Students will have some interest in how the film deviates from the book, which might overcome their hostility to black-and-white and silence (the early talkie sound of the other version might be more off-putting). $50,000 should buy enough Blu-Rays and projectors (students should not watch films on small TVs!) for at least one school district, and if the policy is a success, more would follow suit.

History teachers should also be encouraged to contextualize their teaching with clips from films like The General, October, Battleship Potemkin, Birth of a Nation (if they're brave), Wings, The Big Parade, and so on.
Offline

silentmovies742

  • Posts: 513
  • Joined: Sat Jul 02, 2011 4:42 am

Re: If you could do any one thing to promote silent film

PostFri Aug 18, 2017 2:16 pm

bobfells wrote:College film courses have done more to alienate people from silent films by showing the "classics" such as BIRTH OF A NATION, POTEMKIN, JOAN OF ARC (sorry to its admirers), and a few others that have rarely made silent film fans out of anybody...


I totally agree, and was lucky enough to have a group of mostly of extremely accessible films during the first year of my BA: The Crowd, The Unknown, The Cheat, Shooting Stars, The Kid, The Lodger, The Last Laugh (not for me, but accessible enough), Man With a Movie Camera (probably the most accessible of the "classics"). A significant proportion of the group went and bought The Unknown after watching it. I have no objection to the "arty" movies, but they are not the way to draw anyone in to silent film, any more than Goddard is a way to draw people into 1960s filmmaking.
Offline
User avatar

Saint-Just

  • Posts: 121
  • Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2016 3:15 pm

Re: If you could do any one thing to promote silent film

PostFri Aug 18, 2017 5:50 pm

bobfells wrote:College film courses have done more to alienate people from silent films by showing the "classics" such as BIRTH OF A NATION, POTEMKIN, JOAN OF ARC


My nephew graduated from college last year and part of his major was film studies; when they were studying the silent era his professor gave the class a choice of several films to view in class on a particular day and the class chose The Passion of Joan of Arc and were blown away by it. I'm choosing to just leave it at that. Other than to add that BOAN is noxious, and I never appreciated Potemkin until I saw the Kino Blu-ray from excellent source materials supported by an extremely brilliant and well tailored score.
Offline
User avatar

syd

  • Posts: 612
  • Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2010 11:55 am

Re: If you could do any one thing to promote silent film

PostFri Aug 18, 2017 6:33 pm

A channel, perhaps.
Not a youtube channel
but an an actual broadcast
bandwidth channel. Since
digital transmission has begun
local stations in the U.S. have
expanded. What was one station
can be 3 or 4 now. Most of the channels
may have
glossy promotion graphics but a close
examination of programs reveal same-old,
same-old content. I had high hopes for get-tv.
It started by raiding Columbia Pictures vault
for some real gems (Did Tim McCoy have
the tallest cowboy hat in Hollywood?). Now it is
reruns of low-key cop drama tv shows (most with
Tom Selleck) and unrestored westerns tv shows from
the 1950's and 60's.

Why not give a silent movie channel a shot? If it is a
matter of economics, show movies made before 1923
that are in public domain. If advertising is needed,
break at an appropriate time (not when Donald Crisp
is about to break down the door to get at Lillian Gish).
Offline

IA

  • Posts: 109
  • Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2009 3:09 pm

Re: If you could do any one thing to promote silent film

PostFri Aug 18, 2017 7:08 pm

Saint-Just wrote:Other than to add that BOAN is noxious, and I never appreciated Potemkin until I saw the Kino Blu-ray from excellent source materials supported by an extremely brilliant and well tailored score.


I doubt BOAN is widely shown on college campuses nowadays, not only for obvious reasons, but because it's three hours long. When I was in school (late 90s/early 00s) we were shown clips, but not the whole film. I don't think students would be bored by the entire thing--the content is too horrifying to look away from, thanks to the excellence of the film-making--but a professor could show two great silents in that time.
Your experience with Potemkin is a salutary reminder that many silents cannot come alive on home video without top-notch visual quality and sympathetic accompaniment. They are vital.
Offline
User avatar

2 Reel

  • Posts: 66
  • Joined: Wed May 17, 2017 10:34 am
  • Location: Earth, for the time being

Re: If you could do any one thing to promote silent film

PostMon Aug 21, 2017 4:20 pm

My husband suggested, "Why not run some silent films on radio so kids can listen to them on their phones?"
They call me "Dangerous Dal"
Offline

R Michael Pyle

  • Posts: 1502
  • Joined: Wed May 27, 2009 1:10 pm

Re: If you could do any one thing to promote silent film

PostMon Aug 21, 2017 4:47 pm

2 Reel wrote:My husband suggested, "Why not run some silent films on radio so kids can listen to them on their phones?"

That might be the equivalent of trying to watch Metallica.
Offline

Gary Newman

  • Posts: 151
  • Joined: Sat Mar 21, 2009 12:36 pm
  • Location: White Plains, NY

Re: If you could do any one thing to promote silent film

PostMon Aug 21, 2017 6:21 pm

silentmovies742 wrote:The best thing to promote silent film would be to stop silent film fans telling people interested in this era of film making to watch Birth of a Nation, Battleship Potemkin, and The Passion of Joan of Arc.


Here are two stories from my work as a public librarian.

I was screening Potemkin in the library as part of a classics series. About twelve students from the English-As-a Second- Language class next door—mostly middle aged Hispanics—wandered in as the film was starting and quickly became hooked. They stayed for the entire film, helped each other in translating the intertitles, and left talking about the baby.

A woman asked me if I could recommend a spiritual movie. I told her that the mostly intensely spiritual movie I knew of was the Passion of Joan of Arc. After some hesitation she borrowed a DVD, and later told me that her children came home as she and her husband were watching it, asked what was that shit, and watched the rest of the film with their mouths open.

Don’t underestimate people. Silent film is a hard sell even for film buffs. Few are going to be interested no matter what you do, but if you want people to understand that there are great things to be discovered in silent film, show them masterpieces.
Offline
User avatar

Saint-Just

  • Posts: 121
  • Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2016 3:15 pm

Re: If you could do any one thing to promote silent film

PostMon Aug 21, 2017 7:48 pm

Gary Newman wrote:
Don’t underestimate people. Silent film is a hard sell even for film buffs. Few are going to be interested no matter what you do, but if you want people to understand that there are great things to be discovered in silent film, show them masterpieces.


Bravo.

Honestly I don't get what's supposed to be so 'inaccessible' about The Passion of Joan of Arc or Potemkin.
Offline
User avatar

telical

  • Posts: 938
  • Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2011 10:46 pm

Re: If you could do any one thing to promote silent film

PostTue Aug 22, 2017 4:06 pm

Check out my post in Silent News: SilentFilm Token -- A Digital Way to Promote Silent Films.

Today there are over 1000 active digital "currencies" that people trade back and forth in a little ecosystem of creating value.
Offline

Big Silent Fan

  • Posts: 854
  • Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2009 8:54 pm

Re: If you could do any one thing to promote silent film

PostSun Aug 27, 2017 7:57 am

Saint-Just wrote:My nephew graduated from college last year and part of his major was film studies; when they were studying the silent era his professor gave the class a choice of several films to view in class on a particular day and the class chose The Passion of Joan of Arc and were blown away by it.

[I never appreciated Potemkin until I saw the Kino Blu-ray from excellent source materials supported by an extremely brilliant and well tailored score.

I can understand that since "The Passion..." is an extremely well done 'Art Film' and not a typical movie. It's in a class by itself.

Like you, I found the earlier Potemkin dull and boring but was excited by the very same film when TCM aired the restored version. I wanted to know what happened since except for the coloring of the red flag and improved image, they were the very same film. Perhaps this will be of interest.
I watched both versions together and discovered the newer print had a shorter run time than the original. If watched carefully, this can clearly be noticeable.
It was running faster, resulting in a faster paced music score to match the faster film.

Return to Talking About Silents

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 9 guests