Silent Movies


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Silent films (or called a "silent"), without voice, music, or spoken dialogue. Performers use a lot of body language and facial expressions to express their main content.

Famous performer---Charlie Chaplin

Charlie Chaplin ,he was an English comic actor,filmmaker, and he became a famous person all around the world through " the Tramp " and is considered one of the most important figures in the history of the film industry .
Chaplin's silent films typically follow the Tramp's efforts to survive in a hostile world.The character lives in poverty and is frequently treated badly, but remains kind and upbeat; defying his social position, he strives to be seen as a gentleman.

Typical example

Charlie Chaplin, The Gold Rush (1926), Thanksgiving dinner,


For entertainment, the dialogue in silent films is transmitted through muted gestures, pantomime and title cards. It is consisted of five elements, they are intertitles, live music and sound, acting techniques, projection speed and tinting.

Firstly, silent film must has the intertitle: since silent films had no synchronized sound for dialogue, onscreen intertitles were used to narrate story points, present key dialogue and sometimes even comment on the action for the cinema audience, there was a need of a person to translate parts of the movies. The in-house interpreter is the person who would explain parts of the film. Because the title writer became a key professional in silent film and was often separate from the scenario writer who created the story, the intertitle often became graphic elements themselves, featuring illustrations or abstract decoration that commented on the action.

Secondly, it needs some live music and sound, the showings of silent films featured live music, starting with the pianist at the first public projection of movies by the Lumière Brothers on December 28, 1895 in Paris. The music was recognized as essential, contributing to the atmosphere and giving the audience vital emotional cues. (Musicians sometimes played on film sets during shooting for similar reasons.)

Thirdly, it is in need of the acting techniques. As is known to all, silent film actors were emphasized on body language and facial expression so that the audience could better understand what an actor was feeling and portraying on screen. In any case, the large image size and unprecedented intimacy the actor enjoyed with the audience began to affect acting style, making for more subtlety of expression. Just as today, a film's success depended upon the setting, the mood, the script, the skills of the director, and the overall talent of the cast.
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Birth of a Nation (Clip 4) (History 110)

Background & Technological development

At the beginning of the 20th century, the United States' industry developed and the number of lower-middle-class residents increased rapidly, the film turned to the city civilians ' public entertainment. The period of 1825 to 1920 was the developing time of the silent films, at this time, the film only focus on pictures, so it did not make the sound, and the characters showed their performance through action, gesture.Under the background of war chaos, silent films inspired people to fight against the war, searching for peace.

At the first appearance of the silent film, those artists had been strongly against it. Because they thought that the early silent film was immature in the art form and technique. And it was told that the montage art produced adverse effect, but along with the development in the technique and art form, maturation, an irresistible momentum, many silent film masters began to experiment with sound film creation. At the end of the 1920s,as the invention of the sound film, some movies used the sound techniques shocked the audience.

In conclusion, focus on the backgrounds, features, development state and the influence of silent film, which has a pioneering effect on the research of film theory. Although, from the technical development perspective. At the beginning of twentieth century, the silent film is a combination use of the technical inventions, including mechanical recording equipment, effective film shaft device, lamp, electric motor, electronic tube. All of these techniques have improved. However, in the history of sound silent and sound film, the filed is always connected with the sound of these technical inventions, ignoring that both of them are pursuing the aesthetic beauty. Thus, the silent film has never been absent from the history of films.

Influence on industries

Firstly, it stimulated the movie art development of that age. During the First World War, the movie autocratic patent company disappeared gradually.

Secondly, it promoted the economy development. Since there were more people liked to spend time and money in watching movie, producers were trying to make a lot movies to earn money, thus, it would produces economy profits, and at the same time, it brought lots of famous artists.

Thirdly, it provided people the information of the previous life, most of the movie in that age presented people the reality. Fourthly, silent films had a significant influence on people's social and cultural.

At the same time,it stimulated the development of economy,most businessmen made profits from silent films,more and more film stars and cinema were produced.From a broader view,silent films first came out from western countries,in some points,it strengthen the communication between the two coastlands, promoted the film industries development.
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