Wednesday, September 2, 2009

1928 - Top 10 List and Year in Review

It sure took me a long time to get through 1928, partly because of real life stuff that kept taking up my time, but also because I took on too much for this year. It was a very interesting year for cinema, and there were lots of movies I wanted to see, but I probably should have limited myself somewhat. The good news is that while it was taking me so long to finish the year, TCM decided to do a Marion Davies marathon and I was able to capture basically her entire filmography on DVR. That allowed me to add her two 1928 films to the list, and I'll be prepared for her stuff in future years.

I ended up seeing 31 films overall, and it was a generally strong year overall. The technical aspects of filmmaking had reached their highest point ever, but some of the films had issues as directors got a little too busy experimenting and forgot to tell the audience a story. William Wellman had his second straight mediocre output and I'll be careful in selecting any of his future films for inclusion in the project.

It was an especially strong year for leading actors. Not only did we have terrific comic performances from the three comic legends (Chaplin, Lloyd, Keaton) but we also had some outstanding dramatic performances from Lon Chaney, James Murray, Conrad Veidt, Emil Jannings, and George Bancroft.

1927 saw the first feature length sound film in The Jazz Singer. It was a huge hit, and studios began transitioning to sound by 1928. However, the early talkies were apaprently not very good and none of them made it on my radar to watch this year (if they were even available). So this will be the actual last full year of silents.

And finally, here is the top 10 list for 1928


10. The Docks of New York (Josef Von Sternberg)



The mature and complex romance between George Bancroft and Betty Compson.


9. A Girl in Every Port (Howard Hawks)


Robert Armstrong and Victor MacLaglen make for winning protagonists.


8. Berlin: Symphony of a Great City (Walter Ruttman)


One of just many fascinating shots of Berlin.


7. The Last Command (Josef Von Sternberg)


Jannings (2nd from right) and Brent, before it all goes to hell.



6. Steamboat Bill Jr. (Charles Reisner)


One of just many obstacles Buster has to avoid.


5. The Passion of Joan of Arc (Carl Dreyer)


Falconetti's passionate performance among the best in film history.


4. Laugh, Clown, Laugh (Herbert Brenon)


Chaney proves once again that he is the best actor of his era.


3. Speedy (Ted Wilde)


A shot from the fantastic Coney Island sequence.


2. The Circus (Charles Chaplin)


The Tramp in a precarious situation.


1. The Crowd (King Vidor)


This fascinating shot of Johnny's soul sucking work place would later inspire Billy Wilder in "The Apartment".





Best Picture

The Circus
*The Crowd
Laugh, Clown, Laugh
The Passion of Joan of Arc
Speedy

Best Director

Charles Chaplin, The Circus
Carl Dreyer, The Passion of Joan of Arc
Walter Ruttman, Berlin: Symphony of a Great City
*King Vidor, The Crowd
Ted Wilde, Speedy

Best Lead Actor

George Bancroft, The Docks of New York
*Lon Chaney, Laugh Clown Laugh
Charlie Chaplin, The Circus
Harold Lloyd, Speedy
Emil Jannings, The Last Command

Best Lead Actress

Eleanor Boardman, The Crowd
Betty Compson, Docks of New York
Marion Davies, The Patsy
*Maria Falconetti, The Passion of Joan of Arc
Greta Garbo, A Woman of Affairs

Best Supporting Actor

Nils Asther, Laugh Clown Laugh
William Haines, Show People
Ivor Novello, The Lodger
Bernard Siegel, Laugh Clown Laugh
*Ernest Torrence, Steamboat Bill Jr.

Supporting Actress

Olga Baclanova, The Docks of New York
Evelyn Brent, The Last Command
*Louise Brooks, A Girl in Every Port
Marie Dressler, The Patsy
Loretta Young, Laugh Clown Laugh

Best Screenplay

A Girl in Every Port (Malcolm Stuart Boylan, Howard Hawks)
The Circus (Charles Chaplin)
*The Crowd (King Vidor, John VA Weaver)
Laugh, Clown, Laugh (Joseph Farnham, Elizabeth Meehan)
Speedy (Albert DeMond, John Grey)

2 comments:

phantasma said...

Your review of 1928 was terrific. The Circus, Speedy and The Crowd are three of my favorite silent films. That's pretty perceptive of you to notice the parallel between that office wide shot in The Crowd and the one in The Apartment. Do you think there are other elements of Wilder's film that was influenced by the Crowd?

phantasma said...

Your review of 1928 was terrific. The Circus, Speedy and The Crowd are three of my favorite silent films. That's pretty perceptive of you to notice the parallel between that office wide shot in The Crowd and the one in The Apartment. Do you think there are other elements of Wilder's film that was influenced by the Crowd?