30 Days of Silent Films: Day 1

A few years ago, I did a month of art study which I really enjoyed. Granted, it took me way more than a month to finish but I really enjoyed looking through and studying art pieces. I believe we can learn so much about people through studying art; their history, religion, philosophy, virtues and overall state of being.

So today I wanted to start something new! I want to study silent film and really help more people know about great films overlooked by time. I love Charlie Chaplin classics like The Kid (1921) and City Lights (1927), German masterpieces like Metropolis (1927) and Nosferatu  (1922) and especially Buster Keaton films like Sherlock Jr. (1924) and Our Hospitality (1923). 

Though I will include shorts from some of my favorite directors and actors, I really want to discover new films and in the process help others find them as well! So let’s get started. 

For today we have The Scarecrow (1920), a short 20 minute short directed by Buster Keaton and Edward F. Cline about two bachelors played by Keaton and Joe Roberts living in a highly ingenuitive home, designed to be as convenient and space saving as possible. 

Both men are smitten with the farmer’s daughter, played by Sybil Seely, and fight for her love. As the story goes, misunderstandings arise including my favorite when Buster Keaton, while tying his shoe, makes the daughter assume he has proposed. They run off, snatch up a minister while riding in a motor bike and are married when they fall into a stream. 

This is an altogether charming short and evidence of Keaton’s knack for using practical and clever gags and situations to fuel the story. I love his dead pan face and how precisely he performs his stunts. As an actor, he certainly carried the short but he still gave room for other actors as actresses to have screen time of their own. He never used stunt doubles and really performed every stunt shone in his films. 

Watch this short and others made by him! They are innocent and endearing and represent a much simpler time. 

{Fun Fact! The gags used in their home were done in what is called The Rube Goldberg style where a highly complicated mechanism or invention is used to do simple everyday tasks. This term adheres to the famous caroonist Rube Goldberg, who drew throughout the early Twentieth Century. }

Here are some examples of his work. 


Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s