ENJOY THE SILENTS: 10 GREAT SILENT FILMS ON NETFLIX INSTANT
When the Library of Congress released a study last December finding that only 25 percent of all silent films made by major American studios still exist (and nearly half of those not on their original 35mm prints), the results were at once unsurprising and stomach-wrenching. The idea that so much of the foundation of cinema should be, barring the occasional discovery of long-forgotten film cans, lost forever is hard to take, and it makes preservation (and simple appreciation) of the movies that remain all the more imperative.
With that in mind, Film.com is launching a monthly column dedicated to silent cinema, from artist profiles to artistic movements to spotlights on pivotal and neglected films. To start things off, let’s go over some silent films you can watch right now, provided you have a Netflix subscription. The 10 films below were made by some familiar names, but they might not be the film one first thinks when approaching the director.
These movies cannot hope to give even a general overview of classic silent cinema (Netflix has allowed the streaming rights for far too many movies from the era lapse), but they nonetheless help illuminate what a fertile, uninhibited time it was as filmmakers effectively wrote the rules of their craft. These films aren’t just great examples of silent movies, they are crucial insights into the remarkable speed of artistic and technical growth and international cross-pollination that occurred as a gimmick matured into an artform. Happy streaming.
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