Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Movie Alphabet: Silent Films, A to Z

Fletch at Blog Cabins tagged Adam at Movie Chunks, who then tagged Rab at Estoreal with a meme asking people to list their favorite movies, A to Z. Rab posted his list and then sent out a plea for meme-tag volunteers -- so I decided, what the heck, I'll join in the fun. My list is posted at the end of this article. If anyone else would like to volunteer and post their own lists on their blogs, here are Fletch's rules:

"Pick your favorite film for each letter of the alphabet. Some will be tough because there are too many choices (R, S, T, L, N, E...), and others will be tough because there are so few choices that you have trouble finding much of anything (Q, anyone?). I'm sure I missed some great ones and I'm hoping that you find them.

1. Pick one film to represent each letter of the alphabet.

2. The letter 'A' and the word 'The' do not count as the beginning of a film's title, unless the film is simply titled A or The, and I don't know of any films with those titles.

3. Return of the Jedi belongs under 'R,' not 'S,' as in Star Wars Episode IV: Return of the Jedi. This rule applies to all films in the original Star Wars trilogy; all that followed start with 'S.' Similarly, Raiders of the Lost Ark belongs under 'R,' not 'I,' as in Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. Conversely, all films in the Lord of the Rings series belong under 'L,' and all films in the Chronicles of Narnia series belong under 'C,' as that's what those filmmakers called their films from the start. In other words, movies are stuck with the titles their owners gave them at the time of their theatrical release. Use your better judgment to apply the above rule to any series/films not mentioned.

4. Films that start with a number are filed under the first letter of their number's word. So, 12 Monkeys would be filed under 'T.'

5. Link back to Blog Cabins in your post so that [Fletch] can eventually type 'alphabet meme' into Google and come up #1, then make a post where [Fletch] declares that [he is] the King of Google.

6. If you're selected, you have to then select 5 more people."

So, there you have it.

Now, it seems that most of the people responding to the meme have trouble listing movies that are more than thirty years old -- despite the fact that film history is over 100 years old. SO, I'm going to add my own twist to the proceedings by posting favorite movies from the SILENT ERA that fit within the alphabet. Here they are:

Across to Singapore
Big Business
Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, The
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Barrymore version)
Extra Girl, The
Faust (Murnau version)
General, The
Hunchback of Notre Dame, The (Chaney version)
Jack-Knife Man, The
Kid, The (Chaplin version)
Last of the Mohicans (Beery version)
Our Hospitality
Phantom of the Opera, The
Queen Kelly
Road to Mandalay
Safety Last!
Tillie’s Punctured Romance
Xiao Wanyi
You’re Darn Tootin’
Zander the Great

And, NO, you smart alecks -- this list is NOT indicative of my age. It's indicative of a lifetime of exploring movies from any and all genres. So there. :-)

My favorite movie from this list? It's THIS one:


SallyP said...

Oooohhhhh! Silent Movies! I have to admit to loving comedies the most, and Harold Lloyd in Safety Last is a hoot and a half. I also think that the Pawnshop is one of my favorites for Charlie Chaplin.

But Buster Keaton's The General is one of the best movies EVER made.

Sea_of_Green said...

I love The General, too, but I always find myself watching Metropolis far more than I watch The General -- though The General is probably my second-favorite silent movie.

I thought about listing City Lights for "C," but I confess to preferring the oh-so-creepy Caligari a bit more.

I just saw Wings for the first time this year -- the first movie to win the Oscar for best picture, and the ONLY silent film to do so. It's still a remarkably good movie. It's aged well, all things considered, and it's really amazing what they do with the planes in that film.

Dwayne "the canoe guy" said...

Years ago Games magazine had apuzzle where you had to list movies that fit each letter of the alphabet BUT it had to be one word, no A or THE or hyphens.

Sea_of_Green said...

Egad, that sounds hard!

Dwayne, I hope you're not disappointed with me for not listing Battleship Potemkin. ;-)

TF said...

Has anyone heard of the french silent film 'J'ACCUSE' filed during the first world war?

Sea_of_Green said...

Yes! In the USA, it was originally released under the English title "I Accuse." It was directed by Abel Gance of "Napoleon" fame. Flicker Alley released a pretty good restoration of it on DVD just a couple of months ago. :-)

ComicsAllTooReal's Chris said...

Wow! Metropolis! I can't believe I still haven't seen it. I should get it sometime, you know.

plok said...

A terrific list, Sea! You're my new favourite.

RAB said...

That's dead clever, that is! And some great films. I'm a bit jealous you getting to be plok's new favorite, but there's no denying you earned it.

Sea_of_Green said...

*Blush!* :-)

Anonymous said...

I'm delighted to see that somebody besides me appreciates that Jekyll & Hyde film. The first transformation scene makes my muscles hurt just watching it.

Sea_of_Green said...

I agree, Aridawnia! I really think John Barrymore's version is STILL the best version. :-) Spencer Tracy's version is just ... well ... boring to me, sad to say. :-(

Anonymous said...

Me too. Apparently you're supposed to recognize how eeevil Tracy's Hyde is based solely on his messy hair. :-/

Whereas the Barrymore Hyde...aaiiee!

(I also like it because it's as close as I'll ever get to seeing how he played Richard III.)

Pat said...

Hi, Sea of Green - This is a great list. I found the link to your list from Blog Cabins, and I had to check it out, since I'm a former Hoosier myself. (IU grad, lived in Indianapolis for 13 years.) I'll be stopping by more often.