A Quote on Thursday

Singing in the Rain

Quote from Singing in the Rain:

Talkies will never last…..”

That’s what they said about the automobile….”

Sunset Boulevard

Quote from Sunset Boulevard:

You’re Norma Desmond. You used to be in silent pictures. You used to be big.”
I am big. It’s the pictures that got small.

W. C. Fields

W. C. Fields:

The movie people would have nothing to do with me until they heard me speak in a Broadway play, then they all wanted to sign me for the silent movies.


James D’Arc:

Sunrise was one of the last silent films. And as much is proof of why so many filmmakers lamented the coming of sound. It is a lovely and very powerful picture and the power of fidelity in marriage.

Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert:
“The wonderment is that we still have the silent clowns, many now available in restored versions. Almost all of Keaton, of Lloyd, of Chaplin. They were artists who depended on silence, and sound was powerless to add a thing. They live in their time, and we must be willing to visit it. An inability to admire silent films, like a dislike of black and white, is a sad inadequacy. Those who dismiss such pleasures must have deficient imaginations.”

Gerald Mast

Gerald Mast:

The great silent movies revolve around the body and the personality of its owner; the great sound comedies revolve about structure and style–what happens, how it happens, and the way those happenings are depicted. Film comedy, as well as film art in general, was born from delight in physical movement. The essence of early filmmaking was to take some object (animate or inanimate) and simply watch it move…. The sound comedy is far more literary. Given the opportunity to use the essential tool of literature, words, as an intrinsic part of the film’s conception, the filmmaker did not hesitate to do so. In silent films, the use of words in titles was intrusive, a deliberate interruption of the cinematic medium and a substitution of the literary one. We stop looking and start reading. But the sound film provided the means to watch the action and listen to the words at the same time. Whereas the silent performer was a physical being,… the sound performer was both physical and intellectual at once.”

Posted by Michael ‘Charlie’ McGee


Friday Facts

Silent Film Villian Death

More facts of the silent-era taken from the 1947 article: Hollywoods Green Years! A regular practice at the start of a production was  for a hunt, whereby a spectacular place to kill a villain was found. This was usually a high cliff. Fifty feet of the heroine in the heroes arms was shot and then a 20 foot walk into the sunset. At this point the whole production company sat down and figured out  the first part of the production which resulted them in getting to the finished point. The universal motto was “Do and Die First; Reason why Later!”

Silent Film StuntsAnother report from this article was that $1.50 was paid daily to extra players. It was also reported that good extra players were contracted to $10 a week. And there were bonuses of $1 if they performed stunts like jumping over a cliff, wrestling a berserk steer, or swimming a river that is in flood.

harold llyod

There was no such thing as doubles in the silent film era. Seemingly if the script called for the hero to fall from a precipice, the actor would would fall personally. Acorroding to the article this would usually be into a haystack or into the sea. The article goes onto say that in one saga the leading man was strung up by the neck and then to be rescued in the nick of time by a posse, however the horse that he was on bolted. He was then literally hung for a few moments. Talk about really getting into the part. The report says that he got a sore neck for his trouble and asked for a raise.