Today there are various formats of entertainment, and sound has been an integral part of entertainment. We have background sound, songs in films, theme music etc. It is hard to believe that there was a time, when films were made without any background sound, which we fondly call the films of “Silent Era” – typically the films made and released between the year 1895 to 1927 was popularly known as silent era. There was no background score nor were any synchronized spoken dialogues in those movies, Sequences written and displayed before each scene. Something hard to imagine, but when we look back to those Silent era films today, it gives us a different kind of entertainment.
Three top grossing silent films that earned highest revenue in the year 1932 are as follows :
1) The Birth of a Nation
2) The Big Parade
Though now it looks funny, it was hard to work in a silent film, where one needs to say it all through his / her expressions. While today just one dialogue can do wonders, silent films would need hundreds of expressions to capture and convey the same to the audiences.
Some of the popular silent actors of yesteryears are as below :
1) Rudolph Valentino
2) Buster Keaton
3) Harold Llyod
4) Emil Jannings
5) Charlie Chaplin
Sheer acting skills have taken these silent movie stars to the peak of career success and today they are icons in their own field. Another challenge of silent films was the standardisation of projection speed. There was lack of standardisation and hence the movies were shot at variable speeds anywhere from 12 to 40 frames per second, depending on the year and studio. Edison Studio was the first one to produce such films way back in 1890s – it was in West Orange, New Jersey and then later moved on to the Bronx, NY.
Today when we look back, it suggests how the film industry worldwide has come of its own shadow with modern technology in photography and music.