TCM’s regular Silent Film Sunday feature went on hiatus for 31 Days of Oscar. And although that is now over, it does not return until March 16, the second Sunday in the month (March 9 is honoring Shirley Temple). But there’s great news for silent film fans, even with the shortened schedule. Through the latter half of the month, TCM will air 11 different silent films. There are some truly great films being shown, so here’s the full rundown:
The Scar of Shame: This film carries quite a lot of historical significance. It’s one of the earliest examples of a race film out there, and features an all African-American. The film was the final work of the Colored Players Film Corporation. The company produced only four films, and only this and one other survive to this day.
Beau Brummel: This historical drama starring John Barrymore and Mary Astor took place during their affair. The film survives in varying lengths, and based on the TCM website, it looks like they’re airing the full version.
Two Arabian Knights: Another Mary Astor film, this won Best Comic Direction at the first Academy Awards, the only time comic direction had it’s own category.
The Gold Rush was only Charlie Chaplin’s third full length feature, and his second comedic feature. It is also reportedly the highest grossing silent comedy of all time. If you haven’t seen this one yet, make sure you do. It’s Chaplin operating at the height of his abilities, and is one of the best silent comedies you’ll ever see.
Girl Shy: Another great silent comedy is featured here, this one starring Harold Lloyd. After having worked alongside Hal Roach for nearly his entire career, this was his first independent production. It was the latest in a series of big hits for Lloyd.
West of Zanzibar: This is a film made special by both the director and the cast. Those familiar with the director Tod Browning know that he was a master a creating creepy and unsettling environments. This film is no different. Making it even better are the two leading men: Lon Chaney and Lionel Barrymore. Chaney and Browning were always a great combination, and this time is no different.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: This 1920 version is one of the more well known adaptations of the story. With a great performance by John Barrymore, it is certainly worthy of viewing.
One of DW Griffith’s greatest epics, it’s also the last time he worked with his frequent collaborators Lillian and Dorothy Gish. Following this film, the commercial decline of Griffith’s career began.
Sherlock Holmes: This 1922 Holmes film stars John Barrymore, and is also notable for having the debut of William Powell and Roland Young. The film was lost until the 1970s, at which point it was partially restored. The complete version is still not available.
The Racket: This great crime picture was one of the films nominated for the top prize at the first Academy Awards. Dark and gritty, it’s filled with realistic characters and great character actors.
The First Auto: This comedy about the transition of people traveling from horses to cars is mostly silent. There are, however, a few lines of dialogue due to the Vitaphone system, the same technology that made The Jazz Singer possible.