Why You Should Watch Silent Movies With Your Kid

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

NotSoSilent

  • Posts: 243
  • Joined: Tue Dec 06, 2011 7:56 am

Why You Should Watch Silent Movies With Your Kid

PostTue May 15, 2018 8:05 am

I don't think this has been posted here yet (I've been on vacation and haven't checked in much lately), but below is a link to a short article about watching silent films with your child. We often discuss how to get younger people into silent films, and this is certainly a good start.

Here is what I found to be the most powerful and exciting paragraph in the article:

With my five-year-old daughter, we started with Modern Times, Charlie Chaplin’s 1936 silent-talkie hybrid about a factory worker who subjected to being a cog in the grinding wheels of the Industrial Revolution. It’s absurd fun—I figured the kid might check out because the film is in black and white, but she didn’t. She couldn’t take her eyes off of Chaplin, and chuckled at his antics for a good 45 minutes. Throughout the show, I read the written words that would appear, and it kind of felt like we were moving through an interactive book. At one point, she astutely noted: “Mom, this movie isn’t silent at all—there’s music.” She was right. It was neat to notice together how music can make things feel more exciting. When it was finally time to turn off the TV, she asked, “Can we watch more of that show later?” We can and we will.

https://offspring.lifehacker.com/why-yo ... 1825826161" target="_blank" target="_blank
Offline
User avatar

maliejandra

  • Posts: 461
  • Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2009 5:32 pm

Re: Why You Should Watch Silent Movies With Your Kid

PostTue May 15, 2018 10:26 am

In my experience, people who reject old movies on the whole never watched them as kids so they feel unfamiliar and uncomfortable, almost like putting a classic tome in front of a non-reader. It is intimidating.

My almost-2-year-old has been exposed to old movies since birth. I used to pop silent movies on during feedings when he was a newborn because his cries didn't interrupt my viewing. Sometimes he yells "No! Elmo!" at the screen when I put something on, but he's also requested to watch my Little Rascals VHS tapes and sat enthralled at the kids antics even though they're in black and white. (He especially liked Feed 'Em and Weep and Night N Gales since they've got music.)

I think it is important to keep trying as well. Just because they aren't into something right away doesn't mean it won't grow on them or that their tastes won't change. Most kids don't realize how old some of the classic Disney movies are. The first movie I ever saw in the theater was 101 Dalmatians and I had idea it was already decades old at that point.
Online
User avatar

mwalls

  • Posts: 532
  • Joined: Sun Jun 19, 2011 10:02 am
  • Location: Greensboro, NC

Re: Why You Should Watch Silent Movies With Your Kid

PostTue May 15, 2018 1:17 pm

I have gotten a couple of silent films in for my kids, who are teenagers now. They have not been bitten by the silent movie bug, nor do they likely share with their friends that they have watched anything as nerdy as a silent film. But they enjoyed what they saw. What I hope that I have done is to plant a seed so that when they reach a point later in life (certainly after high school), something will trigger a memory and they just might then get into appreciating them.

Matthew
Offline
User avatar

Brooksie

  • Posts: 2793
  • Joined: Wed Jun 30, 2010 6:41 pm
  • Location: Portland, Oregon via Sydney, Australia

Re: Why You Should Watch Silent Movies With Your Kid

PostWed May 16, 2018 2:17 pm

When I was very young, there was a television program called Laff-A-Bits, which was broadcast as a stopgap between shows that ran a little short of the half hour. They were five-minute sequences from various silent comedies. Some episodes have been posted on YouTube, and just hearing the theme song and strange stylised accompaniment takes me right back to being a preschooler:



Without even knowing it, I was exposed to some real classics. Look at the title sequence alone, you'll see Snub Pollard, Chaplin, Keaton, Laurel and Hardy. The prints and projection speeds aren't half bad, either.

I could say "This is merely a coincidence and had no bearing on my subsequent interest in silent film," but then again, I remember them after all these years, so who knows? I also remember watching the Moroder cut of Metropolis with my parents.
Offline
User avatar

Donald Binks

  • Posts: 3100
  • Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2011 10:08 am
  • Location: Somewhere, over the rainbow

Re: Why You Should Watch Silent Movies With Your Kid

PostWed May 16, 2018 10:12 pm

Brooksie wrote:When I was very young, there was a television program called Laff-A-Bits, which was broadcast as a stopgap between shows that ran a little short of the half hour. They were five-minute sequences from various silent comedies. ........ I also remember watching the Moroder cut of Metropolis with my parents.


My experience when young was being able to view "Silents Please" which presented narrated cutdowns from features - which got me really interested in wanting to see the actual film. Then there was "Fractured Flickers" which was more of a send-up than anything - but apart from "Silents Please" was the only way one saw anything of silent pictures. My father would watch with me, indicating which films were "absolute rubbish" whilst my mother of course would never admit that she was around when silent pictures were shown. :D

My son has watched silent pictures with me on occasion - the very odd occasion. He doesn't have much of an interest in them, seeing them only as a quaint relic from the past and nothing as good as anything that is in colour, widescreen with a thunderous soundtrack.
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

Gary Newman

  • Posts: 160
  • Joined: Sat Mar 21, 2009 12:36 pm
  • Location: White Plains, NY

Re: Why You Should Watch Silent Movies With Your Kid

PostThu May 17, 2018 10:15 am

I’ve posted this elsewhere on Nitrateville, but it seems particularly appropriate for this string. I got both my children reading at a young age by putting them in my lap and watching Chaplin and Keaton shorts. I’d stop the videos on the intertitles and had them read them out loud. At first they needed a lot of help, and then, surprisingly quickly, not so much help. They’re both in their thirties now, and continue to love silent film. My daughter got her husband interested in silents with Metropolis.
Offline

Battra92

  • Posts: 380
  • Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2011 12:02 pm
  • Location: Massachusetts

Re: Why You Should Watch Silent Movies With Your Kid

PostThu May 17, 2018 1:53 pm

maliejandra wrote:In my experience, people who reject old movies on the whole never watched them as kids so they feel unfamiliar and uncomfortable, almost like putting a classic tome in front of a non-reader. It is intimidating.


Could not agree more!

My almost-2-year-old has been exposed to old movies since birth. I used to pop silent movies on during feedings when he was a newborn because his cries didn't interrupt my viewing. Sometimes he yells "No! Elmo!" at the screen when I put something on, but he's also requested to watch my Little Rascals VHS tapes and sat enthralled at the kids antics even though they're in black and white. (He especially liked Feed 'Em and Weep and Night N Gales since they've got music.)

I think it is important to keep trying as well. Just because they aren't into something right away doesn't mean it won't grow on them or that their tastes won't change. Most kids don't realize how old some of the classic Disney movies are. The first movie I ever saw in the theater was 101 Dalmatians and I had idea it was already decades old at that point.


My daughter (2 and a half) is okay with older movies though she generally doesn't seek them out. I'm hoping she will someday be really into them because my wife doesn't want to watch them with me very often (though in fairness I have no interest watching her investigative murder porn with her.)

The coolest thing about growing up watching old movies and silents was, for me, it gave me some perspective on how there was a lot before me.
Offline
User avatar

NotSoSilent

  • Posts: 243
  • Joined: Tue Dec 06, 2011 7:56 am

Re: Why You Should Watch Silent Movies With Your Kid

PostThu May 17, 2018 2:49 pm

Gary Newman wrote:I’ve posted this elsewhere on Nitrateville, but it seems particularly appropriate for this string. I got both my children reading at a young age by putting them in my lap and watching Chaplin and Keaton shorts. I’d stop the videos on the intertitles and had them read them out loud. At first they needed a lot of help, and then, surprisingly quickly, not so much help. They’re both in their thirties now, and continue to love silent film. My daughter got her husband interested in silents with Metropolis.

One of my fondest memories was reading silent film intertitles to my daughter. It was a lot like reading a book with moving pictures. Charley Chase's DOG SHY was a favorite. It's a perfect comedy short for reading to a small child. Like others have noted, I really think it helped her read at a very young age. Additionally, it helped her appreciate old films. She used to ask other little kids if they liked Buster, and of course they didn't know who/what she was talking about. I had to explain that most little kids didn't know about Buster, L&H, etc.

Now, at almost 10 years of age, it's hard to get her excited about these films, but at least she doesn't put up much of a fight. In fact, she's kind of into silent dramas now. It's always great to hear, "That was great, Dad!" Sigh...
Offline

earlytalkiebuffRob

  • Posts: 3261
  • Joined: Tue Oct 15, 2013 11:53 am

Re: Why You Should Watch Silent Movies With Your Kid

PostFri May 18, 2018 2:51 pm

Donald Binks wrote:
Brooksie wrote:When I was very young, there was a television program called Laff-A-Bits, which was broadcast as a stopgap between shows that ran a little short of the half hour. They were five-minute sequences from various silent comedies. ........ I also remember watching the Moroder cut of Metropolis with my parents.


My experience when young was being able to view "Silents Please" which presented narrated cutdowns from features - which got me really interested in wanting to see the actual film. Then there was "Fractured Flickers" which was more of a send-up than anything - but apart from "Silents Please" was the only way one saw anything of silent pictures. My father would watch with me, indicating which films were "absolute rubbish" whilst my mother of course would never admit that she was around when silent pictures were shown. :D

My son has watched silent pictures with me on occasion - the very odd occasion. He doesn't have much of an interest in them, seeing them only as a quaint relic from the past and nothing as good as anything that is in colour, widescreen with a thunderous soundtrack.


Over here in England, we had Michael Bentine's 'The Golden Silents' (which once ran THE GENERAL complete) recorded at the National Film Theatre, and Bob Monkhouse with 'Mad Movies'. Although it is easy to criticise such programmes, they introduced people of my generation and got us onto the real thing. And of course one can say the same for the Youngson compilations.

And I, too have a friend who 'cannot watch' 'old' films, but can't seem to twig that THE GODFATHER and THE LADYKILLERS (Ealing) are now older than ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT and FRANKENSTEIN were when I first watched them. She's a lovely person, but a hopeless case in that respect...
Offline

earlytalkiebuffRob

  • Posts: 3261
  • Joined: Tue Oct 15, 2013 11:53 am

Re: Why You Should Watch Silent Movies With Your Kid

PostFri May 18, 2018 2:52 pm

If you haven't a kid, does the cat count? I suspect mine is VERY particular...

Return to Talking About Silents

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 13 guests