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Cleveland Independent Movie Goers Message Board › TMC Celebrates The Artist with 10 Best Silent Films List and Cable Specials

TMC Celebrates The Artist with 10 Best Silent Films List and Cable Specials

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Post #: 172
TCM Celebrates The Artist with List of 10 Most Influential Silent Films

Turner Classic Movies has unveiled its list of 10 Most Influential Silent Films in celebration of Michel Hazanavicius' ode to the silent era, The Artist, which won three Golden Globes Sunday night, including Best Picture - Musical or Comedy, Best Actor - Musical or Comedy for Jean Dujardin and Best Original Score. Artist also picked up 12 British Academy Film Award nominations. The Weinstein Company will expand its release of Artist nationwide on Friday.

TCM's list of 10 Most Influential Silent Films spans from the years 1915 to 1928 and features such remarkable films as D.W. Griffith's groundbreaking (and controversial) The Birth of a Nation (1915), which revolutionized filmmaking techniques; Nanook of the North (1922), a film frequently cited as the first feature-length documentary; Cecil B. DeMille's epic silent version of The Ten Commandments (1923); Sergei Eisenstein's oft-imitated Battleship Potemkin (1925), which took montage techniques to an entirely new level; and Fritz Lang's Metropolis (1927), a film that broke new ground in visual effects and production design. The complete list is posted on the File section under "More" in the main menu.

In addition to compiling its own list of Most Influential Silent Films, TCM asked The Artist director Hazanavicius for his thoughts on silent cinema and a few of his personal favorites from the era. While he greatly admires Charlie Chaplin's The Gold Rush (1925, which appears on TCM's list, he considers Chaplin's City Lights (1931) a masterpiece. "No need to explain it," Hazanavicius says. "Just watch it."

In response to TCM's choice of The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923), with its virtuoso performance by Lon Chaney, Hazanavicius cites The Unknown (1927), which he calls, "a sexy, perverse film that takes place in a gypsy circus. It has one the best performances by Lon Chaney as a knife thrower with no arms who falls in love with a young Joan Crawford."

Although TCM's list includes the beautifully filmed drama Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927), Hazanavicius considers F.W. Murnau's City Girl (1930), a late-era silent film (shot simultaneously as a now-lost sound version), to be every bit as good. He also points out that John Ford's Four Sons (1928), one of the few surviving silent films made by the director, "shows the influence Murnau had on Ford's work after he observed the maestro shooting Sunrise.

Hazanavicius also praises silent films by two directors whose work did not make TCM's list. He points to Josef von Sternberg's Underworld (1927), a hugely popular gangster film written by Ben Hecht. "You will see a lot of Scarface in it," he says, referring to the 1932 thriller also written by Hecht. And Hazanavicius considers King Vidor's powerful domestic drama The Crowd (1928) to be "a great epic American classic story about one man's life struggle. It has brilliant performances."

Michel Hazanavicius' The Artist is a heartfelt and entertaining valentine to classic American cinema. Set during the twilight of Hollywood's silent era and shot on location in Los Angeles, the film tells the story of a charismatic movie star unhappily confronting the new world of talking pictures. Mixing comedy, romance and melodrama, The Artist is itself an example of the form it celebrates: a black-and-white silent film that relies on images, actors and music to weave its singular spell.

The Artist was written and directed by Michel Hazanavicius and produced by Thomas Langmann. The movie stars Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, John Goodman, James Cromwell, Penelope Ann Miller, Malcolm McDowell, Missi Pyle, Beth Grant, Ed Lauter, Joel Murray and Ken Davitian, with Uggie as The Dog.

TCM's List of 10 Most Influential Silent Films is posted in the FILE section under "More" in the main menu.

TCM has celebrated the art of silent films since the network's very beginnings. Each week, the network's Silent Sunday Nights showcase presents classic silent films from all over the world. It's an excellent opportunity for movie lovers to experience the joy of silent cinema, where image is everything. Upcoming highlights include Haxan (1922), a fascinating Danish documentary on witchcraft airing Jan. 22, and Exit Smiling (1926), a delightful backstage comedy starring Beatrice Lillie and airing Jan. 29. During TCM's annual 31 Days of Oscar, which runs Feb. 1 - March 2, silent offerings include the adventure White Shadows in the South Seas (1928 - Feb. 23 at 6:30 a.m. ET), which won Clyde De Vinna an Oscar for Best Cinematography, and Two Arabian Knights (1927 - Feb. 29 at 8 a.m. ET), which earned Lewis Milestone an Oscar for Best Comedy Direction. And in March, TCM will present one of the films on its 10 Most Influential Silent Films list; F.W. Murnau's Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927) will air as part of TCM's The Essentials showcase on Saturday, March 31, at 8 p.m. (ET).

TCM's 10 Most Influential Silent Films is the network's latest list highlighting the history of the movie industry. TCM's previous lists have included 10 Favorite Marilyn Monroe Moments, 10 Great Low-Budget Science Fiction Movies, 10 Great Overlooked Performances, 10 Favorite Baseball Films, 10 Great Comedy Lines and 15 Influential Soundtracks.
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