I was going to leave this blank, and only post with the title, but I figured only my dad would get the joke, and he doesn't read my blog. So on with the (non-silent--quite wordy, actually) post....
I think I'm pretty safe in assuming that none of you in my general audience are old enough to have experienced silent movies first-hand--none save one. I know my Grandpa reads this, and he just might have been old enough to remember them. Anyway, I certainly had never seen a silent movie until a few weeks ago. I pulled a movie from our shelves that I had never watched. It was a dollar movie I picked up over a year ago at the grocery store. The blurb said it was "The Ring" by Alfred Hitchcock, a 1952 movie about a man who gets out of the slums by boxing, and has to work to regain respect from his dad. Sounded fine to me, so I stuck the DVD in the player.
My first impression was of the quality of the movie, and how it reminded me of a VERY old film. It was black and white, lots of dust and things coming across the screen, and the motions were really jerky, like those "0ld-timey" movies that didn't get the film speed right. I kept expecting Alfred Hitchcock to make his traditional appearance, and things to return to 1952 normal, but they never did! After being quite confused for several minutes, I finally realized the blurb on the DVD was for the wrong movie. This was "The Ring" by Alfred Hitchcock, a 1927 silent film where a man rises in celebrity as a boxer, and has to fight to keep the love of his wife.
All in all, it was a great film! Alfred Hitchcock did not make his appearance, and it wasn't even a mystery. I'm not sure when he began directing, but I would assume this was one of his first films. However, the shots were excellent, and the angles very well thought-out, just as in his later films. The characters mouthed lots of conversation to each other, very little of which was "subtitled" for the viewer. But I was surprised that I was able to follow the plot all the way through. I didn't realize how little conversation I actually needed to hear to know what's going on.
It was more tedious to watch this film than modern films, but it was neat to imagine that, until recently, this film had probably never been seen outside of the big screen. This was a movie about the 20s, for people from the 20s to watch. The depiction of the roaring 20s was a little different from what I've seen in my history books. The Charleston was a lot more lively than I've ever known it to be!
Somehow I felt a little of that realization that the "here and now" is not all there has ever been. It was a neat experience, and I would recommend anyone who hasn't seen a silent film to see one. And if you're at a loss of where to start, try "The Ring" by Alfred Hitchcock.
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