“Blancanieves” is a Spanish retelling of Snow White. It isn’t surprising that there is yet another movie about Snow White and/or a retelling of Brother’s Grimm fairy tale. What is surprising is that “Blancanieves” is a black-and-white silent film. Are foreign films going back to their roots? French film “The Artist” won tons of awards for going back to the basics of silent film, and “Blancanieves” has done pretty well, too. To celebrate the return of silent film, why not watch some silent films of the past? These foreign silent films helped to influence movies today.
“L’inferno” is one of the most important films ever made. It not only was Italy’s first feature length film, but also the first film adaptation of Dante’s “Inferno.” It contained special effects new to film, graphic torture scenes, and nudity. This was in 1911. This film will still surprise some viewers today, because few realize that some movies back in the day were quite shocking, even by today’s movie standards. The film is available on DVD with a new film score.
“Raja Harishchandra” was another movie first. The opposite of Hollywood is Bollywood, where much of Indian cinema comes from. “Raja Harishchandra” helped to begin the movie craze in India. It was India’s first feature length film. It is the story of a king who sacrifices everything he loves for the gods. Movies were considering against religion at the time of the film’s making, and women were afraid to have roles in the film because of social taboos. The film stars an all male cast. Sadly, most of this film is lost.
“Les Vampires” was a despised film during its time. It was considered terrible. Today, it is considered one of the greatest films ever made. “Les Vampires” was simply a film before its time. It created the crime thriller genre and influenced Alfred Hitchcock. Musidora, in her black body suit, is still famous today. Technically, “Les Vampires” is a mini-series. It released in ten segments, but that was normal during the time. The entire film is available on DVD and to download online.
‘People on Sunday’
German film “People on Sunday” is important for a few reasons. It was a silent film that released right at the time that talkies were becoming popular. It starred nobodies, just regular people in regular jobs, filming them as they went about their normal routine. What is most important about the film is that is was written by Billy Wilder. Film buffs will recognize that name for sure. He would later become quite famous in Hollywood for directing films such as “Sunset Boulevard,” “The Apartment,” “Some like it Hot,” and “The Seven Year Itch.”
“The Goddess” is one of the most famous films of China’s early movie days. It is a great movie with an interesting story, but it also stands out because of the sad life of the main actress. “The Goddess” was one of the Ruan Lingyu’s last films. She as a young, and beloved, actress who committed suicide when she was 24 years old. It is believed that intense hounding from tabloid journalists because of a failed marriage caused her breakdown and death.