Silent Romances (Romantic Comedy)

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The cinemas were full of women who had bought their tickets to enjoy a night filled with passion, longing and charisma — a date with a dream lover.

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The template of beautiful lovers, luxurious locations and deep, swelling emotions is very familiar, even if the setting of that film, the 17th-century Mughal empire, is among the most exotic. As these examples show, love films made the most of the unique pleasure of silent cinema: the wordless connection between the viewer in the dark and the star, shown in intimate close-up on the big screen. For D. Griffith , and many of his fellow directors in the s, Victorian values held sway over romance. Heroines were virtuous and often passive and frail , and love outside marriage was chaste.

Over in France, a more realistic, not to say cynical, take on romance. While their hearts remain faithful, their lives are scarred by brutality and violence — and more blood must be spilled before they can be together again. His patterns of rhythmic edits and poetic superimpositions betray the influence of Abel Gance, and he often shoots his actors looking directly at the camera.


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The result of his sophisticated approach is a film that appears emotionally raw — love in the rough. This Hollywood adaptation of a popular operetta is an apparently light romantic confection, but one with a dash of spice. Renowned on-set tyrant and bane of the front office Erich von Stroheim directs, which means that this film is not just incredibly lavish, but also a little seedy. It also means that Murray, under his strict orders, turns in her best performance — more subtlety than shimmy, for once.

While it may seem tame now, The Merry Widow reflects a growing appetite for racier fare in the early s: films that were a little more candid about sex and marriage. It was a demand provoked by the more adult films coming over from Europe, and Austrian-born actor-director Von Stroheim was happy to supply it. In the mids, Italian dancer-turned-actor Rudolph Valentino was the number one male pinup.

Valentino, decked out in distractingly large sideburns, reveals his playful, charming side, in this plush costume drama, now as celebrated for an extended tracking shot of a heaped banquet table as for the chemistry between the two leads. Clarence Brown also directed this classic romance , which places another imported European star, Greta Garbo , at the centre of a love triangle.

Garbo plays a mysterious woman, ironically named Felicitas. First she has an affair with Leo John Gilbert , and then, when they are separated, she transfers her affection to his best friend, Ulrich played by her fellow Swede Lars Hanson. Will their friendship survive their mutual love for the same, dangerous woman? Could such a temptress be allowed to prosper?

Needless to say, MGM had to shoot two endings to please everyone. As Gilbert and Garbo get to know each other in the dark, his match suddenly illuminates her otherwise inscrutable face, as if his ardour has brought her to life, or at least inflamed her passion. Their romance, and dream of domestic bliss, is interrupted by the war, but the two share a mystical, telepathic connection throughout their separation.

In this beautifully sincere film, and especially in its remarkable conclusion, love is presented as nothing short of a miracle. Janet Gaynor won the first best actress Oscar for her performance in 7th Heaven, another Borzage film, Street Angel, and this masterpiece by German director F.

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Fox had lured the filmmaker to Hollywood with the promise of extravagant budgets and creative freedom. His first American film tells a small story on a very big scale. The seductress outlines her plan: the farmer should kill his wife so they can sell the farm and make a new life together in the city. Sunrise offers a story not about sweethearts but about a married couple falling back in love with each other, even if they have to face disaster and travel far from home to do so.

Mary Pickford is best remembered for playing youngsters in the s, but this romcom, made late in the decade, offers her a more grown-up love story. Directed by comedy specialist Sam Taylor , this delightful film is set in a department store and details a romance between hapless stock girl Maggie Pickford and new employee Joe Rogers. Another tale of love in the big city, this New York romance brings two lonely urban singletons together for a day of pleasure at Coney Island.

Paradoxically, in the thronged streets, busy workplaces and cheek-by-jowl living quarters of an early 20th century, Lonesome argues that it can be harder than ever before to meet the love of your life. Fate throws Mary and Jim together, but can they ever find each other again? This is an epic love story, set in early 19th-century Switzerland. Barrymore plays Marcus, a hunter living on the outskirts of a village occupied by the French. Faith and creation: Anoushka Shankar on her score for Shiraz. What the silent censor saw Fairy Tales: writing music for silent fantasies.

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10 great silent romances

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  • Main navigation for mobiles. Have we picked the cream of the crop, or are we missing some forgotten romantic masterpieces? City Lights Another important element to the film is the importance of timing. On top of all of this, he leaves us with one of the most famous, and most important final shots in the history of cinema.


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    • Sunrise: The Song of Two Humans The other reason is more serious…. It is a true, tough and raw love story about real difficulties and guilty temptations of long-term love that people still face today. The title captures this perfectly! Flesh and the Devil There is no argument about it Garbo and Gilbert were made for each other.

      There is still a part of me that loves the idea of meeting the man of my dreams without knowing it. That we will hate each other to start with read: boy pulling girls pigtails because he secretly likes her , but one day we will suddenly realise we love each other. And with all the turmoil that eschews it will all work out in the end. Oh and he will also be wildly rich again going against my true views on love.

      This IS The Sheik inside out. If you can forget about twenty first century values for a couple of hours and just indulge this is Valentines Day after all , this is a classic love story and a worthy watch. A Throw of Dice The entire film is a visual masterpiece! Something that David Lean would later pick up on in his later epics. Osten also ended up making a wide range of German produced films in India from until the beginning of the Second World War; this included three films in which A Throw of Dice is the final of a silent film trilogy.

      I do hope that in the coming years we can commercial releases in the UK for both Light of Asia and Shiraz so we can complete this beautiful trilogy.

      Top 10+1 Best Romance Movies of the Silent Era - Tales of Silent Lovers | FrameTrek Blog

      Un Chien Andalou What is this thing we call love? Is it all a dream, or is it just a horrible nightmare? What are the romantic bonds which tie us mortal beings together?