10 Great Silent Film Performances That Have Stayed With Me

This is my own post for the Silent Movie Day Blogathon 2022. Hope you enjoy!

I think we can agree that there are too many great silent film performances to count. Just try making a list sometime–from Emil Jannings in The Last Laugh to Lillian Gish in The Wind to Buster Keaton in The General, picking out the cream of the crop is surprisingly difficult. So for this post I decided: why not write about some performances that were particularly moving to me, personally? Performances that really struck a chord? 

So that’s exactly what I decided to do. In no particular order, here are ten wonderful silent era performances that made a deep impression on me. In no particular order, that is, except for the final three.

10. Buster Keaton in The Cameraman (1928)

Yes, I know it was technically an MGM feature (gasp!) but oh what a sweet and very funny comedy The Cameraman is, and how equally sweet and funny Buster is in it. Buster is wonderful in everything, of course, but he’s extra endearing here, even letting himself be surprisingly vulnerable in the seaside scene near the end. I for one certainly think his time at MGM had a honeymoon period.

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The Silent Movie Day Blogathon 2022

It’s here!! Welcome, everyone, to the Silent Movie Day Blogathon–back for a second year in the row!

We’ve have another great lineup of posts on a wide variety of silent film subjects–just how I like it! I’ll be adding the new posts periodically throughout the day, so be sure and check back to see what’s new!

Sound good? I agree! Let’s get today’s celebration of non-talkies started.

The Roster

Silent-ology | “10 Great Silent Film Performances That Have Stayed With Me.”

Realweegiemidgetreviews | Sunset Boulevard (1950)

The Thoughts of One Truly Loved | My Best Girl (1927)

Silver Screenings | Mickey (1918)

Nitrateglow | The greatest hit films of 1922

Taking Up Room | White Tiger (1923)

Brooksie at the Movies | “Cherie Rich, Australia’s Only Mack Sennett Bathing Beauty.”

The Everyday Cinephile | “12 Genres, 24 Must-See Silent Movies.”

LaurelandHardyBlog | Liberty (1929)

That William Powell Site | The Great Gatsby (1926)

Critica Retro | The Finances of the Grand Duke (1924)

Silver Screenings | “Why Audiences (Still) Fall in Love With Mabel Normand.”

Whimsically Classic | The Freshman (1925)

L.A. Daily Mirror | “Hollywood Heights: Mabel Normand Studio Leads the Way.”

UPDATE: Less Than A Week Until The Silent Movie Day Blogathon!

It’s coming closer! The Silent Movie Day Blogathon hosted by myself and In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood is a mere six days away!

Silent Movie Day–destined to be one of your favorite holidays, behind Thanksgiving and Christmas–is an official yearly celebration of the silent era. Anyone can participate in any way they choose: by watching silent films, sharing the love of them on social media, hosting a screening, donating to an archive…whatever works for you! We decided to host a silent film blogathon for the second year in a row, and happily quite a few people have signed up. (If you’re interested, there’s still time–no pressure!) We’re almost there, folks!

Hooray!

I did want to add that goodness, I’ve been a bit AWOL this month, haven’t I? Probably the most since Silent-ology started, surprisingly enough. But it’s for a good reason–on top of a couple other non-blog-related writing projects, I’ve been asked to contribute a program essay to one of my favorite film festivals. So happily, my writing time and attention has been well occupied lately! So never fear, Silent-ology is rarely far from my mind, and if I’m ever AWOL it’s probably because it lead me to an exciting opportunity (and I can’t get by without sleep, ha ha).

Also, a reminder: October is coming.

“Excellent.”

Without further ado, a copy of le roster:

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ANNOUNCEMENT: The Return Of The Silent Movie Day Blogathon!

Hear ye, hear ye! Me and Crystal of In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood are happy to announce that we’re bringing back the popular Silent Movie Day Blogathon for another year! And why not? After all, it is an annual holiday, much like Christmas and Easter, and should be celebrated with just as much enthusiasm am I right?

The precise manner of celebrating is up to you.

As you might recall if you were around for the blogathon last year, in 2021 Chad Hunter, executive director of Video Trust and director of the Pittsburgh Silent Film Society, archivist Brandee B. Cox of the Academy Film Archive, and archivist Steven K. Hill of the UCLA Film & Television Archive all put their heads together and decided to create a National Silent Movie Day. Described simply as “a day to celebrate and enjoy silent movies,” they chose September 29 as the official celebration date and made it an annual event. As they wrote:

Anyone can participate! Ask your local cinema to show a silent picture with live music; watch a silent movie on a streaming platform or on disc; write a blog or an article for your local newspaper; read a book about your favorite silent movie star; or create a podcast. Use your imagination and post on your social media on September 29 to show how you celebrate the day. This is our moment as silent movie fans, academics, programmers, and newcomers to share our mutual love and appreciation for this unique period in motion picture history. It is also an opportunity to rally around surviving silent pictures that are still in need of preservation.

Don’t forget the swell logo!

So once again Crystal and I are hosting a one-day Silent Movie Day Blogathon–and all bloggers are invited!

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Many Thanks, Fellow Film Bloggers!!

It’s a wrap! On behalf of myself and Crystal at In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood, I wanted to say:

to everyone who participated in our Silent Movie Day blogathon!

The First King of Hollywood: The Life of Douglas Fairbanks | Hometowns to  Hollywood
Mary and Doug are elated too!

And I know lots of people will still reading through them in the next few days, too–plenty of folks have been stopping by and that’s pretty darn exciting!

I wanted to alert everyone that some exciting things have been happening this Silent Movie Day–a commemorative plaque for the Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd Alley was dedicated yesterday, thanks to the efforts of historian John Bengtson and all the fans who donated to his campaign. Isn’t it beautiful? I can’t wait to see it in person!

May be an image of 3 people and text that says 'Chaplin Keaton- Lloyd Alley Charlie Chaplin "The Kid" (1921) Buster Keaton "Cops" (1922) Harold Lloyd "Safety Last!" (1923) Three of the greatest comedies of all time were filmed in part along this east-west alley from Cahuenga to Cosmo. Each of these landmark movies has been inducted into the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress, cinema's highest honor. Three Iconic Stars Three Timeless Films One Hollywood Alley Hollywood Heritage, Inc. EaCa Alley Property Owners'

Also, Hollywood FINALLY has a proper film museum, the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, which officially opened today. It only took a few decades, but it’s finally here, folks! Historian Mary Mallory talks about this longtime work in the making in her new post here.

Academy Museum Of Motion Pictures Announces Inaugural Programming And  Screenings Opening With 'The Wizard Of Oz' – Deadline

And one final thing, on a more sober note. I just heard that Steve of MovieMovieBlogBlogII, who contributed to our blogathon, has passed away. I’ve known Steve through Facebook for quite a few years, we shared a love of old movies and especially our great comedians. He was always very supportive of my silent film blogging and I could always count on him to be the first to sign up for a blogathon! He and his jokes and his many well-written classic movie posts will be greatly missed. Please check out his site here, and maybe bookmark it to visit now and then–I’m sure he’d appreciate it:

https://moviemovieblogblogii.wordpress.com/

And once again, thank you for all your hard work making this event a success. And Happy Silent Movie Day!

ANNOUNCEMENT: The Silent Movie Day Blogathon!

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Not too long ago my fellow blogger Crystal, who runs the fine site In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood, contacted me with an idea: How about we cohost a blogathon in honor of Silent Movie Day? Well well well, that sure sounds right up my alley.

Beautiful Lady on Wicker Chair Reading Letter. Pre-1920. “I loved reading,  and had a great desire of attaining knowledge; but w… | History articles,  Wicker, Vintage
“Why yes, I do believe I’d be on board.”

“Wait, ‘Silent Movie Day’? Is that a real thing>” you ask. Why yes, it certainly IS a real thing! Just this past January, Chad Hunter, executive director of Video Trust and director of the Pittsburgh Silent Film Society, archivist Brandee B. Cox of the Academy Film Archive, and archivist Steven K. Hill of the UCLA Film & Television Archive all put their heads together and decided to create a National Silent Movie Day. Described simply as “a day to celebrate and enjoy silent movies,” it will be held on September 29. And it won’t be celebrated just this year, but every year! As its founders wrote:

Anyone can participate! Ask your local cinema to show a silent picture with live music; watch a silent movie on a streaming platform or on disc; write a blog or an article for your local newspaper; read a book about your favorite silent movie star; or create a podcast. Use your imagination and post on your social media on September 29 to show how you celebrate the day. This is our moment as silent movie fans, academics, programmers, and newcomers to share our mutual love and appreciation for this unique period in motion picture history. It is also an opportunity to rally around surviving silent pictures that are still in need of preservation.

There’s even a logo!

So in honor of this brand-new rival of Easter and Christmas, Crystal and I are hosting a one-day Silent Movie Day Blogathon–and all bloggers are invited!

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