Large Association of Movie Blogs
Large Association of Movie Blogs

Thursday, September 29, 2022

September 29 is National Silent Movie Day!

One of the rotating topics of this blog, along with animation, film noir, music and comedy, has been silent movies - and, lo and behold, it's National Silent Movie Day.

First learned that September 29 was the day to annually celebrate and pay tribute to silent cinema via last year's terrific Silent Movie Day Livestream with animator and animation historian Mark Kausler.

That Silent Movie Day Livestream whetted this film buff's appetite for more silent era animation, so the credo of today's post is, not surprisingly, let's bring on the silents, especially cartoons and short subjects, and lots of 'em, starting with Felix the Cat!

Otto Messmer actually made a series of Charlie Chaplin cartoons back in the teens, so it's fitting that we follow Felix with Chaplin's A DAY'S PLEASURE.

Continuing this annual celebration of silent films, courtesy of the heroes at EYE Film Museum, are classic comedies starring Marcel Perez a.k.a. "the international mirth maker." These are prime examples of the Robinet series produced by Ambrosio in 1911-1914. Many Robinet comedies co-star the excellent actress and comedienne Nilde Baracchi as Robinette.

Perez, who starred in and directed movies in both Europe and America under more names than those of a fiction author who creates a gazillion novels using more than one nom-de-plume - Marcel Fabre, Michel Fabre, Fernandea Perez and Manuel Fernández Pérez, for starters - is quite brilliant.

From the YouTube channel of the fabulous EYE Film Museum are superb Perez comedies.

Whether starring as Robinet, Tweedy, Tweedledum or Twede-Dan, Marcel Perez successfully blended the European and American approaches to slapstick. There is also a futuristic fantasy element which sets him apart from other comedians.

Have devoted posts on this very blog to the comedic and cinematic exploits of Marcel Perez, who moved around like an MLB relief pitcher who gets traded or signs with a new team as a free agent every year! Strongly recommend following this by checking out Andy Galaxy's Marcel Perez playlist.

That National Silent Movie Day livestream sent this blogger, uncharacteristically powered with turbo jets, both to Mark's superlative blog and, of course, MORE silent Fleischer classics.

A motherlode of silent era cartoons can be found on the Craig's Cartoon Capers YouTube channel: LOTS of excellent, pretty good and just plain bizarre cartoons from the silent era! KO-KO'S BIG SALE must be seen to be believed. Notably, there are playlists for both the Fleischer Studio's Out Of The Inkwell series and the subsequent Inkwell Imps.

Those Ko-Ko cartoons, for some reason, bring to mind the way-out and ingenious stop-motion animation of the great Charley Bowers.

On the topic of early cartoons, for National Silent Movie Day, must go back to the sources, the guys who started it all, Émile Cohl and Winsor McCay!

Won't be getting into silent features in today's post (THE GENERAL, SUNRISE and THE LAST COMMAND are three great ones), as there are scribes - just two are Fritzi Kramer at Movies Silently and Lea Stans at Silent-ology, currently doing a blogathon for the 2022 National Silent Movie Day - who write much more eloquently about them than the gang here does, but am posting a bunch of favorite short subjects.

Buster Keaton in COPS is the movie that made me a silent film fan for life.

Since all amazing silent comedies invariably lead to more amazing silent comedies, here's Buster Keaton in ONE WEEK.

When asked to identify the single silent 2-reeler that makes me laugh the most, I may not be able to answer the question, and shall struggle to get the list of the funniest silent comedy short subjects down to less than five or six films, but certainly one of them would be Laurel & Hardy in PUTTING PANTS ON PHILIP (1927).

With the possible exception of Laurel & Hardy, none of the silent film comedians gets bigger, louder and more frequent belly laughs from this writer and comedy fan than Charley Chase. Here is a hilarious bit from ACCIDENTAL ACCIDENTS.

From Dave Glass, who has posted an outstanding silent comedy playlist on his YouTube channel and, with Dave Wyatt, produced excellent classic comedy DVDS and Blu-rays, here's a very funny clip from Charley in NEVER THE DAMES SHALL MEET.

No matter how many times the gang here sees WHAT PRICE GOOFY, MIGHTY LIKE A MOOSE and HIS WOODEN WEDDING, never fail to end up ROFL. These are up there with the silent Laurel & Hardies (many also directed by Leo McCarey) among the funniest films ever made.

There's good news for screenings of silent movies at long last.

Tommy Stathes, who will be on Turner Classic Movies tonight presenting vintage silent era animation, has resumed his Cartoon Carnival series, featuring both silent and sound cartoons, in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

The San Francisco Silent Film Festival will be doing its winter events on December 3.

The KFJC Psychotronix Film Festival, which periodically incorporates silent films into the extremely and wildly varied celluloid mix, shall return, after a three year hiatus caused by COVID, to Foothill College in Los Altos, CA for its 30th anniversary shindig on December 10.

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