Friday, March 27, 2009

Career Achievement Awards For The Silent Era (films released prior to August 1, 1927)


PICTURE: The General

ACTOR: Charles Chaplin

ACTRESS: Lillian Gish

DIRECTOR: D.W. Griffith

Maybe this is what the Academy should have done to honor the three decades of movies that preceded the Oscars, instead of what they did do, which was to allow thousands of movies to molder away in the vaults as if they had never existed, until many of them did in fact no longer exist, having turned to liquified film and ashes long ago.

With the exception of
The General, which I consider to be the best movie made before Charles Chaplin's City Lights in 1931, the Katie-Bar-The-Door career achievement awards are for a body of work accomplished prior to August 1, 1927 (the cutoff date for the first Oscars) rather than for a specific film. I'll explain my choices—next week—along with a brief essay on the problem of watching silent movies and finally a selection of "must-see" films from the Silent Era.

Enjoy your weekend. See a movie.

7 comments:

Mister Parker said...

Hmm. I'm not sure the first sentence of the second paragraph makes any sense. In case you can't decipher it, all I'm really trying to say is that the award for Picture is for one movie only and the awards for Actor, Actress and Director are for a bunch of movies.

Sometimes I like to borrow from the Mouth O' The Mule's book, How To Baffle Through Strange Syntax.

He's my hero in that regard ...

The Jestaplero said...

until many of them did in fact no longer exist, having turned to liquified film and ashes long ago.

Actually, when the the old nitrate-based film stock decomposed it turned to gunpowder, or an equally-combustible goo. (Hence, the invention of Kodak safety film.)

I only know this because my dad worked at the AFI in the 70's on their preservation project.

Mister Parker said...

Hey, now this is what I'm talking about! A two-way flow of information. I did not know that about nitrates, gunpowder or Kodak safety film.

Welcome Jestaplero!

The Jestaplero said...

Thank you and good luck with this blog! I shall be reading frequently and with interest, with all the time I save by never updating my blog.

Jesus H Christ said...

I'm glad someone addressed the issue of the exploding filmstock; my weekend was lost, and I didn't read this until this AM.
And immediately leapt to add my two cents.


btw, Bryan Garner informs in his Modern American Usage that "Leapt" and "leaped" are both acceptable past-tense and past-participial forms for the verb "leap." In frequency of use, the two are now neck-and-neck in modern print sources. Traditonalists prefer leapt . . . .

L. F. Chaney said...

Jesus Christ follows your blog???

And I thought I was AWOL!

L. C.

Mister Parker said...

Yeah, what can I tell you -- the Lord loves his silent movies.