July is a great month for silent film fans through TCM. In total, there are 22 films (some shorts) this month, including some all time classics and a whole night of comedy shorts. Here’s the massive lineup:
Wings: Notable historically for being the first film to win Best Picture, Wings is a spectacular war film. Even to this day, the war scenes look incredibly realistic. In addition to Clara Bow as the star, it features an early prominent role for Gary Cooper.
Kiki: This comedy stars two actors you wouldn’t normally associate with this type of film–Norma Talmadge and Ronald Colman. It’s also directed by Clarence Brown, who would go to direct National Velvet and Anna Karenina.
Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: This film was not only the most popular film of 1921, it went on to being one of the top ten highest grossing silent films. Even more notably, this was the film that launched Rudolph Valentino to superstardom.
The Big Parade: Another World War I film, this film focuses on more of the horrors of war. One of the biggest films of the decade, some even estimate it’s one of the most successful silent films of all time. Helping the audience’s interest was the star combo of John Gilbert and Reneé Adoreé. King Vidor directed.
The Trail of ’98: This gold rush film was also directed by Clarence Brown and stars Harry Carey. MGM experimented with a widescreen process called Fanthom Screen for this film only, before trying slightly different technologies afterwards.
A Modern Musketeer: Douglas Fairbanks produced and starred in this comedy/adventure film. It fits in with the Fairbanks swashbuckling action style, along with some comedy. For decades, only a partial print was available, but TCM will be showing the full recovered Danish print.
J’Accuse: This is yet another World War I film. Probably more realistic than most, some scenes were filmed on actual battlefields. The pacifist tone film was a huge hit in France, but had problems getting US distribution because of it’s tone.
The Immigrant: This very famous Charlie Chaplin comedy features his regular partner, Edna Purviance. One of the more brilliant scenes to watch out for is Chaplin attempting to eat at a restaurant.
Coney Island: One of many shorts starring both Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle and Buster Keaton, was shot on location at the actual Coney Island.
Never Weaken: This was the final short Harold Lloyd made before moving to features. It’s also a precursor to his later films– thrilling sequences, including another scene involving climbing a building.
Two Tars: Oliver and Hardy had numerous silent shorts, and this was one of them. Directing is James Parrott, a very prolific silent comedian in his own right.
The Gold Rush: Chaplin produced many features that are now considered all time classics, including this one. The highest grossing silent comedy of all time, Chaplin also considered it one of his favorites. It won an Oscar upon it’s re-release in 1942.
Court House Crooks: Ford Sterling is the star of this Mack Sennett comedy, but it also features Harold Lloyd very early in his career.
A Submarine Pirate: Syd Chaplin, Charlie’s half-brother, appeared in a lot of comedies (including his brother’s). Here he is both the star and the director.
Look Pleasant, Please: This short not only stars Harold Lloyd, but allows gives the opportunity to see little mentioned silent star Snub Pollard.
Captain Kidd’s Kids: Another Lloyd/Pollard short.
Take A Chance: Yet another Lloyd/Pollard film.
The Kiss: The Kiss has a few notable first and lasts: the last silent film for Greta Garbo and Conrad Nagel, while it was the feature film debut for Lew Ayres.
The Better ‘Ole: This was the second adaptation of a very popular British musical comedy. Starring Syd Chaplin, it’s notable as being an early Vitaphone film.
Shoulder Arms: Yes, this is yet another World War I film, although this one is a little different. It’s a comedy, the second Charlie Chaplin made for First National.
Metropolis: It goes without saying that this is one of the most notable silent films ever made. In the sci-fi genre alone, it’s a landmark film, and is a must see for anyone.
Pandora’s Box: Louise Brooks stars in this film, one of her more memorable performances. This was the second adaptation of a German play.