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Top Ten Silent Films

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Written by A J Wagner

What an endeavour this was!

What started out as a simple journey through some of the greatest silent films ever made turned into a mission of biblical proportions. At one point I had 47 films on the list and couldn’t decide what to leave out and what to keep. In the end I made it a rule that I could only include one film from a particular director. This is why Nosferatu (which up until that point had always been present in the top ten) had to slip back down so I could keep Sunrise. Both films of course directed by the incredible F.W. Murnau. Intolerance also had to be dropped due to Griffith directing both this and Birth Of A Nation. I also decided that the films in question had to qualify as features. Which meant that early landmark works such as The Great Train Robbery (1903) and Georges Melies seminal A Trip To The Moon (1902) couldn’t be included, even though both films are hugely important in the history of cinema. So what follows is my top ten. As always bring on the discussion and disagreements. Even if you just want to shout at me for not including any Cecil B.DeMille.

 

iron_horse1

The Iron Horse (1924)

The Iron Horse (1924) dir: John Ford

John Ford made his name with this grand scale western and it most certainly paved the way for his illustrious career. This was epic, bold and fearless filmmaking as we witness a young son fulfil his fathers dream of binding the east and west coasts of America with a mighty railway named The Iron Horse. The action is impeccable as Ford directs his massive cast with acute precision. Still impressive to this day.

 

The General (1927) dir: Buster Keaton, Clyde Bruckman

Still on the railroads here and arguably Buster Keaton’s finest screen performance. Here the legendary comic plays a young railroad engineer who dreams of fighting in the civil war. After he is turned down it seems that he will never fulfil his destiny. That is until his beloved steam train (The General of the title) is stolen by pesky union soldiers. It’s now up to Buster himself to save the day and prove he has what it takes to be a soldier. This film features impressive stunts using real steam trains and a spectacular moment where a bridge collapses.

 

Phantom of the Opera (1925)

Phantom of the Opera (1925)

The Phantom Of The Opera (1925) dir: Rupert Julian

Starring Lon Chaney, the man of 1,000 faces this atmospheric adaptation of the famous novel still has the intensity and power to shock. The film is well known for Lon Chaney’s approach to the role. He endured weeks and weeks of discomfort to achieve the perfect performance including pinning his nose up with wire and painting his eye sockets black. His ghastly transformation for this film and his many others took their toll on his body and he suffered major physical problems later in life.

 

The Birth Of A Nation (1915) dir: D.W. Griffith

Often hailed as equally racist and technically brilliant D.W. Griffith invented movies the way we know them today. There is no doubting the incredible achievement this film signifies. Close-ups and tracking shots were used for the first time in this 3-hour epic set during the civil war. Unfortunately it is also quite a potent piece of racist propaganda and is credited with inspiring the reformation of the Ku Klux Klan. Controversial and awe-inspiring, even today.

 

 

The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari (1920) dir: Robert Weine

The defining film of the German expressionism era this fantastic horror film sees mad doctor Caligari unleash a series of ghastly murders… or does he?

Worth watching for the sublime set design alone this film also features one of the very first twist endings. It’s phenomenal in every way possible and any person that calls himself or herself a true film fan should own it. Quite simply, you don’t know cinema unless you have seen it.

Read our review here

 

Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927)

Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927)

Sunrise: A Song Of Two Humans (1927) dir: F.W. Murnau

When William Fox invited German director F.W. Murnau to make an expressionist film in Hollywood this masterpiece was the result. Telling the story of a marriage on the cusp of breaking down and how the couple learn exactly how much they mean to each other during a dream like journey through a big city. Wonderfully made with a core message so important and lovely that it still resonates with people today.

 

Battleship Potemkin (1925) dir: Sergei M. Eisenstein

An enthralling dramatisation of the 1905 mutiny which occurred on the Russian battleship potemkin. Maverick director Sergei Eisenstein assaults the viewers with stark, strong images of violence. Essentially it is an angry communist propaganda movie and it has influenced cinema since. The Untouchables by Brian DePalma references potemkin’s most famous sequence on the Odessa steps. This film will leave its mark on your subconscious for years to come.

 

City Lights (1931) dir: Charles Chaplin

You could probably fill an entire top ten silent films list by using only Chaplin films but this one is my personal favourite. A very simple love story told through some of the most heart-rending images ever committed to the screen. Chaplin’s tramp falls in love with a blind flower girl who believes him to be a man of extraordinary wealth. Desperate to not lose her he sets out raising the money to pay for an operation that will restore her sight. Known by film-buffs all over the world has having the greatest ending of all time. If you haven’t seen it watch it and decide for yourself.

 

Battleship Potemkin (1925)

Battleship Potemkin (1925)

The Passion Of Joan Of Arc (1928) dir: Carl Theodor Dreyer

Considered lost for years until a complete print was found in a mental institution in Norway this is a master-class in screen realism. Depicting the final moments of Joan of Arcs life it is well known for its extreme close-ups and use of natural light. Director Carl Dreyer also insisted his actors didn’t wear make-up which was unheard of during the silent era. This is all about the strength of the acting and is often said to possess the greatest screen performance of all time by actress Renée Jeanne Falconetti.

 

Metropolis (1927) dir: Fritz Lang

What can you say about Metropolis that hasn’t been said before? The most influential Science Fiction film of all time. The most expensive silent film ever made. The closest thing we will ever come to perfection in cinema. Fritz Lang’s dystopian masterpiece is exquisite. Telling the story of social unrest in a future capitalist society it remains a tour-de-force of set design and special effects. The film was butchered upon it’s original release by Paramount and the cut footage was thought lost forever until a complete print surfaced in July 2008 in a film museum in Argentina. This restored 150min cut is even better and film fans rejoiced when it premiered in early 2010. The yardstick everyone aims for but never reach.

 

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Editor-in-Chief of Movie Marker. Likes: Scorsese, Spielberg and Tarantino Dislikes: The film 'Open Water' I mean, what was that all about?

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Everything Amazon Prime, Netflix, MUBI, and Now TV’s got coming for October 2018

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Between the increasing number of streaming platforms in our lives, there’s far too much great entertainment being released day after day for any sane person to keep track of. 

There’s streaming giant Netflix, the curated offerings of MUBI, all the latest releases on NOW TV, and online video emporium Amazon Prime. There’s something for everyone, on demand, just waiting to be selected. What a time to be alive!

But that doesn’t help when you’re looking for something to wile away the evening with, so let us lighten the load and make your viewing choice that little bit easier with our weekly updated round-up of everything being added to your favourite platform.

Monday, October 1st

  • The Elf
  • Four Christmases
  • Halloween: Resurrection
  • Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers
  • Halloweeen H20: 20 Years Later
  • Lights Out
  • Runaway Jury
  • Scream 2
  • Scream 3
  • Shaun the Sheep Movie

Thursday, October 4th

  • The Mercy
  • Runner Runner

Friday, October 5th

  • 16 Blocks
  • Alexander
  • Black Beauty
  • Every Which Way But Loose
  • Final Destination
  • Get Carter
  • The Man in the High Castle: Season 3
  • Seven Bridges for Seven Brothers

Monday, October 8th

  • Attack the Block
  • Chloe
  • Dog Pound
  • Donkey Punch
  • The Ghost Writer
  • The Hurt Locker
  • Kill List
  • Larry Crowne
  • Last Night
  • The Losers
  • Spread
  • Submarine
  • Tyrannosaur
  • Vicky Christina Barcelona
  • War Dogs

Wednesday, October 10th

  • Status Update

Friday, October 12th

  • The Conjuring  
  • Cool Hand Luke
  • Project X
  • The Romanoffs: Season 1
  • What Ever Happened to Baby Jane
  • The Witches 
  • Wrath of the Titans

Tuesday, October 16th

  • Crowhurst

Wednesday, October 17th

  • Notting Hill

Friday, October 19th

  • The Blind Side
  • Clash of the Titans
  • Dolphin Tale
  • The Great Gatsby
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
  • Lore: Season 2

Tuesday, October 23rd

  • Midnight Sun

Friday, October 26th

  • All the President’s Men
  • Best in Show
  • The Campaign
  • Crazy Stupid Love
  • Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot
  • Fool’s Gold
  • Gravity
  • The Hangover Part III

 

Tuesday, October 2nd

  • 1428
  • Manhunter

Wednesday, October 3rd

  • Mothers

Thursday, October 4th

  • Quality Control

Friday, October 5th

  • Inspector Bellamy

Saturday, October 6th

  • A Girl Cut in Two

Sunday, October 7th

  • Pontypool

Wednesday, October 10th

  • Tape

Thursday, October 11th

  • Cinnamon

Friday, October 12th

  • The Bridesmaid

Saturday, October 13th

  • The Swindle

Sunday, October 14th

  • Line of Demarcation

Monday, October 15th

  • Season of the Witch

Wednesday, October 17th

  • Ears, Nose and Throat

Thursday, October 18th

  • Three Quarters

Saturday, October 20th

  • ’Til Madness Do Us Part

Sunday, October 21st

  • Shivers

Monday, October 22nd

  • Episode of the Sea

Wednesday, October 24th

Outcast of the Islands (1952)
Directed by Carol Reed
Shown from left: Ralph Richardson, Trevor Howard

  • Outcast of the Islands

Thursday, October 25th

  • Spicebush

Saturday, October 27th

  • Kill List

 

Monday, October 1st

  • The Big Bang Theory: Season 11
  • Brad’s Status
  • Fishtail
  • Four Weddings and a Funeral
  • I Spit on Your Grave
  • Paranormal: White Noise
  • Platoon
  • Fiddler on the Roof
  • La Doña: Season 1
  • Life as We Know it
  • The Mask You Live In
  • Thelma & Louise
  • The Titan
  • Trash
  • A Witches’ Ball

Tuesday, October 2nd

  • Better Call Saul: Season 4 (new episode)
  • Joe Rogan: Strange Times
  • MeatEater: Season 7
  • RED 2

Wednesday, October 3rd

  • Angela’s Christmas
  • Operation Finale

Friday, October 5th

  • Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman
  • Big Mouth: Season 2
  • Cheech & Chong’s Next Movie
  • Dancing Queen: Season 1
  • Elite: Season 1
  • The Good Place: Season 3 (new episode)
  • Hannibal
  • The Land Before Time
  • Little Things: Season 2
  • Malevolent
  • Priest
  • Private Life
  • Red Dragon
  • The Rise of the Phoenixes: Season 1 (new episode)
  • Sixteen Candles
  • Super Monsters: Season 2
  • YG Future Strategy Office

Sunday, October 7th

  • The Girl on the Train

Monday, October 8th

  • Chesapeake Shores: Season 3 (new episode)
  • Mo Amer: The Vagabond
  • Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Tuesday, October 9th

  • Better Call Saul: Season 4 (new episode)
  • Hickok
  • Ronald
  • Terrace House: Opening New Doors: Part 4
  • Twilight
  • The Twilight Saga: New Moon
  • The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
  • The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1
  • The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2

Wednesday, October 10th

  • 22 July

Thursday, October 11th

  • Riverdale: Season 3 (new episode)
  • Salt Fat Acid Heat
  • Saw: The Final Chapter

Friday, October 12th

  • Apostle
  • The Boss Baby: Back in Business: Season 2
  • The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell
  • Errementari: The Blacksmith and the Devil
  • Feminists: What Were They Thinking?
  • Fightworld: Season 1
  • The Good Place: Season 3 (new episode)
  • The Haunting of Hill House: Season 1
  • ReMastered: Season 1 (new episode)
  • The Rise of the Phoenixes: Season 1 (new episode)
  • Tarzan and Jane: Season 2

Saturday, October 13th

  • Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Season 4 (new episode)
  • Dynasty: Season 2 (new episode)
  • Nocturnal Animals

Sunday, October 14th

  • A Taiwanese Tale of Two Cities: Season 1 (new episode)

Monday, October 15th

  • Chesapeake Shores: Season 3 (new episode)
  • Contagion
  • The Goonies
  • Octonauts: Season 1
  • Octonauts: Season 2
  • The Seven Deadly Sins: Revival of the Commandments

Tuesday, October 16th

  • Black Lightning: Season 2 (new episode)
  • Looking Glass
  • The Prince & Me
  • Ron White: If You Quit Listening, I’ll Shut Up

Wednesday, October 17th

  • Along Came Polly
  • American Pie Presents: Beta House

Thursday, October 18th

  • The Last Days of Mars
  • Riverdale: Season 3 (new episode)

Friday, October 19th

  • Accidentally in Love: Season 1
  • Ask the Doctor: Season 1
  • Best.Worst.Weekend.Ever.
  • Daredevil: Season 3
  • Derren Brown: Sacrifice
  • Gnome Alone
  • The Good Place: Season 3 (new episode)
  • Haunted: Season 1
  • Hip-Hop Evolution: Season 2
  • Illang: The Wolf Brigade
  • Making a Murderer: Part 2
  • Miss Representation
  • The Night Comes for Us
  • The Rise of Phoenixes: Season 1 (new episode)

Saturday, October 20th

  • Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Season 4 (new episode)

Sunday, October 21st

  • Superbad
  • A Taiwanese Tale of Two Cities: Season 1 (new episode)

Monday, October 22nd

  • Chesapeake Shores: Season 3 (new episode)
  • Louis Theroux: Dark States – Murder in Milwaukee

Tuesday, October 23rd

  • Adam Sandler: 100% Fresh
  • Black Lightning: Season 2 (new episode)

Thursday, October 25th

  • Den of Thieves
  • Great News: Season 2
  • Riverdale: Season 3 (new episode)
  • Ronnie Coleman: The King

Friday, October 26th

THE GOOD PLACE — “The Snowplow” Episode 304 — Pictured: (l-r) Manny Jacinto as Jason Mendoza, William Jackson Harper as Chidi — (Photo by: Colleen Hayes/NBC)

  • Been So Long
  • Castlevania: Season 2
  • Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Season 1
  • Dovlatov
  • The Good Place: Season 3 (new episode)
  • Jefe
  • The Rise of Phoenixes: Season 1 (new episode)
  • Shirkers
  • Terrorism Close Calls: Season 1

 

 Monday, October 1st

  • Lowlife

Tuesday, October 2nd

  • Social Animals

Wednesday, October 3rd

  • April’s Daughter

Thursday, October 4th

  • House of Willow Street

Friday, October 5th

  • Downsizing

Saturday, October 6th

  • Dear Dictator

Sunday, October 7th

  • Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Monday, October 8th

  • Permission

Tuesday, October 9th

  • Screamers

Wednesday, October 10th

  • Two Lottery Tickets

Thursday, October 11th

  • Habit

Friday, October 12th

  • Black Panther

Saturday, October 13th

  • Zombillénium

Sunday, October 14th

  • A Little Something for Your Birthday

Monday, October 15th

  • Room for Rent

That’s it for this week, but don’t forget to check back each week for a fresh round of new releases for the UK on streaming platforms Amazon Prime, MUBI, NOW TV, and Netflix.

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Venice, Cannes, London, Wherever: Film Festival Tips

A film festival veteran, Rehna Azim gives her tips on how to survive at film festivals wherever you are in the world.

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Film Festival Tips Movie Marker

I suppose I can be called a film festival veteran now. I’ve covered enough of them over the best part of a decade to be able to pass some, hopefully, useful tips on to those who might find themselves at one of the many film festivals that seem to spring up every 15 minutes. There’s a festival for everyone and pretty much everything. A fan of Korean cinema? You’ll find a festival in London. Sci-fi freak? Horror fanboy/girl? Gay, lesbian? Woman over 40? Someone somewhere will be running a festival of films you’ll love. Even towns you weren’t sure had a cinema seem to have a festival going on.

The biggies in Europe of course are Cannes and Berlin with London coming up in recent years. San Sebastien is growing in stature and there’s Ghent, Locarno, Edinburgh and many more. Wherever it is and whatever crowd it’s for, festivals are big business and popular. So here’s how to make the most of them:

Make sure your stomach is full and your bladder empty. The bigger the festival, the longer the queues and the more uncomfortable you’ll feel as you line up with a cast of hundreds to watch the latest gem from that Bulgarian auteur you thought only you loved. A film festival will draw a cine literate crowd that will fight you to the death for the last seat in the house. (At Cannes earlier this year, journalists almost came to fisticuffs in the huge, sprawling line that waited to catch the pearls of wisdom that fell from Christopher Nolan’s lips). A couple of years ago there was an angry stamping of feet as La La Land was, inexplicably, put on a small screen that couldn’t possibly accommodate all those who wanted to see it. At Venice earlier this month the lines stretched out perilously close to the canals. So you see, if you’re serious about festivaling, like a Boy Scout, you always have to be prepared. You simply can’t take the chance of popping away for 10 minutes to grab a quick burger or spend a penny. Go before you come, as it were. Carry a snack with you in your bag (trust me, even that festering flapjack at the bottom will seem enticing when you’re starving during a 3 hour long Ingmaar Bergman retrospective. Keep a small bottle of water with you at all times, not least to avoid the headaches that dehydration can cause.

Sacrifice glamour for comfort. Unless you’re going to a red carpet premiere, wear sensible shoes you can run between venues in. Layer your clothing. It doesn’t matter which city or country you’re in, you will either be too hot or too cold in whatever you wear. Taking something off or putting it on will be the best way to deal with whatever weather comes your way. I speak as someone who has been caught in sudden, monsoon level thunderstorms in both Venice and Cannes on brilliantly hot days when I was swanning around in skimpy summer dresses.

Film Festival Movie Marker

Plan your festival days. Screening times often overlap or just outright clash. Check the programme in advance, decide what you absolutely must see and what is a ‘if I have the time’ choice. Once you’ve made your choices, schedule your days accordingly. Those covering the festival for media outlets have to factor in interviews, talks and red carpet coverage as well as time to do the write-ups. It may seem like teaching your grandmother to suck eggs (did anyone’s grandmother actually ever do that) but sometimes the simplest, most obvious tips are the most helpful. I’ve known the super organised to create elaborate flow charts for their daily schedule but a simple list in a notebook will suffice.

Always keep a note pad and camera with you. Whether both are on your latest model phone or you have the old fashioned type, you will need them. Film festivals are exciting. Celebrities are swanning around everywhere, funny, interesting, record-able things are happening all the time and you will invariably meet people you want to stay in touch with. Writing a number or email address on the back of a receipt may seem a good idea at the time but you’ll never copy it out ‘properly’ into an address book. Most likely you’ll throw the receipt away when you’re next cleaning out your bag then spend hours rummaging through it later looking for the number of that nice agent/producer/actor/attractive person you met over drinks and really want to meet again. Network, make contacts, make friends. Festivals are fun!

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New entertainment platform CHILI launches in the UK

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Are you scrolling through the TV guide, trying to decide what to watch on your first night in for weeks, only to change your mind for the fourth time? Sounds tragically familiar, which is why I am very pleased to announce that European entertainment company CHILI have big plans for film and TV fans in the UK.

CHILI is a subscription-free entertainment platform that has launched in the UK after it’s recent success in Italy, racking up 1.6 million registered users since launching in 2012. Backed by the studios we all know and love, Warner Bros, Paramount Pictures, Viacom, Sony Pictures, and 20th Century Fox, the on-demand service offers an array of content available at the click of the button.

What makes this different from say, Netflix or Amazon? The website offers a huge range of films and TV shows, from foreign art house to big screen blockbusters – as well as being a one-stop show for cinema; there is a newshub to give you the low-down on all film and TV news, you can purchase physical movies, merchandise and tickets to the cinema all in one place. Founder and chief executive Giorgio Tacchia describes CHILI as an entertainment hub; with customers discovering a new movie or TV show that they love and then browsing the merchandise to see what’s in store. From Star Wars Lego sets to beautiful concept art books, there really is something for everyone.

The platform is also filled with new premieres, including Amy Schumer’s I Feel Pretty, Marvel Studios’ Avengers Infinity War and Greg Berlanti’s Love, Simon. Customers can choose the quality they want their digital purchase, or choose to order a Blu-Ray or DVD instead.

My favourite section is the ‘highlights’ page which tailors content around your preferences and also offers flash sales and offers of the week. And with your first film on them? That’s an offer I can’t refuse.

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