As I watched the new film The Artist at the Michigan Theater on January 5, 2012, I wondered what I was watching. Was this a tribute to the silent film era, a satire or parody, or an attempt to work within the conventions of that era?
Archive for the ‘Silent Movies’ Category
Many movie buffs consider 1939 to be Hollywood’s greatest year, with releases like Gone with the Wind, Stagecoach, and Wizard of Oz. But 1940 wasn’t too bad either, and in 2011, visitors to the Detroit Movie Palaces enjoyed some of the highlights of that release year.
Popular culture is an important part of our lives. Something in an old movie or TV show might connect you with someone of your generation or maybe another. It might take you back to when you were younger. It might relate to something ordinary, like a funny event in your family that reminds you of The Brady Bunch.
The Michigan Theater and the Redford Theatre recently hosted personal appearances that demonstrated the emotional power of pop culture.
I admit that it was hard to motivate myself to go see the 1926 German silent film Faust at the Detroit Film Theatre on Saturday, July 9, 2011. After all, it was a beautiful summer afternoon—not the ideal time to spend two hours watching a serious movie about a man struggling with the temptations of the Devil.
But I knew that attending the DFT is more than just watching a motion picture on a screen. There’s always added value, both in the regular activities of the theater and in the different special events that it presents.
Movie stars often look bigger than life, but like the rest of us, each day they wake up with the challenge to manage their career and survive the competitive rigors of our economy. Recent movies at the three Detroit Movie Palaces showed significant career moves by some very famous stars of the screen.
How is this for a solid and varied lineup of old movies for your local art/repertory film theater:
Each of these films was shown at more than one Detroit Movie Palace in 2010.
Introductions to silent films at the Detroit Movie Palaces often include the comment that silent movies weren’t really meant to be silent. That fact came through loud and clear in two recent showings of the restored 1927 Fritz Lang epic Metropolis at the Detroit Film Theatre and the Michigan Theater.
If you showed up early for the Redford Theatre’s Laurel and Hardy Film Festival on Friday, August 27, 2010, you might have found yourself dodging a flying creme pie. The theater enlisted the help of two local L&H groups to re-enact a famous scene from The Battle of the Century (1927).
On March 20, 2010, I had the privilege and pleasure to attend the opening session of the Detroit Film Theatre’s new series on significant films in the long history of that art form—DFT 101. This Saturday afternoon series premiered with a screening of the famous 1924 German silent film, The Last Laugh. It included opening remarks by Elliott Wilhelm, the curator of film for the Detroit Institute of Arts who also gives commentary on classic films for public television.