Earlier this month, Paramount Pictures celebrated it’s 100th year and I brought you a Top Ten list of my Paramount favorites. With the recent succes of The Artist during awards season, I was inspired to bring you my second Top Ten…silent films that were made when sound was an option!
The year 1929 is considered the official beginning of the sound era in films. With The Artist winning the Oscar for Best Picture it became the first silent film since the first Academy Awards to do so. Made me think about other well-received silent films made during the sound era. Some of these films were made silent due to artistic resistance, while others wanted to recapture yesteryear. So just for fun, here are my Top Ten:
10. Sidewalk Stories (1989) – Great homage to Chaplin’s The Kid
9. Juha (1999)- Finnish film by acclaimed director Aki Kaurismaki (Le Havre)
8. A Story of Floating Weeds (1934) – By the great Yasujiro Ozu. Remade with sound in 1959.
7. Un Chien Andalou (1929) – Disturbing short by Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali. If you have Netflix it is available for instant streaming. Totally worth the fifteen minutes.
6. Silent Movie (1976) – The only person with dialogue is the famed mime Marcel Marceau. Love Mel Brooks.
5. Brand Upon the Brain! (2006) – Feverishly strange, but very well done, I recommend the Criterion version.
4. The Artist (2011) – Best cinema experience in a long time. Check our the Press Pass LA review here.
3. City Lights (1931) – Wonderful film, Chaplin’s second finest, with an ending that would melt Darth Vader.
2. Fantasia (1940) – This was a forehead slapping moment, the last film I thought of but the second best of this list. I’m now listening to ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’ while writing this.
1. Modern Times (1936) – Chaplin’s finest for my part. When the Tramp innocently picks up that red flag that falls off the truck and in his attempt to chase it down, starts to lead a communist march, you are seeing the plight of the poor depression era immigrant fully, comically realized.