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General discussion about what's out for the couch.
274

Silent talkies
Topic by: MHam
Posted: May 20, 2005 - 8:46 AM PDT
Last Reply: May 24, 2005 - 8:51 PM PDT

author topic: Silent talkies
MHam
post #1  on May 20, 2005 - 8:46 AM PDT  
Some talking movies revert to silent-film techniques for long stretches. Rififi is a good example, or David Lean's Summertime (with Katharine Hepburn). I recall another long silent sequence in a Hepburn movie with Spencer Tracy, but can't recall the title.

Do you know the title of the Hepburn-Tracy movie? And can you think of other movies that (lovingly) use silent-movie techniques even though they have sound?
hamano
post #2  on May 20, 2005 - 12:17 PM PDT  
What do you mean by "silent film technique"?? Pantomime? Ragtime piano or moody organ music? Hand cranking?
Cinenaut
post #3  on May 20, 2005 - 2:14 PM PDT  
Hey, why isn't Silent Movie on DVD?
MHam
post #4  on May 20, 2005 - 4:41 PM PDT  
> On May 20, 2005 - 12:17 PM PDT hamano wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> What do you mean by "silent film technique"?? Pantomime? Ragtime piano or moody organ music? Hand cranking?
> ---------------------------------

I mean long stretches of action without dialogue. Background music was often provided with silent films, so action sans dialogue is what I meant. Another example, in a way: the opening of "Richard III" before the first speech: all "business", no dialogue. So you have three examples of what I mean.
Cinenaut
post #5  on May 20, 2005 - 4:44 PM PDT  

Jacques Tati
!
MHam
post #6  on May 20, 2005 - 5:00 PM PDT  
> Jacques Tati!
> ---------------------------------

Excellent call. And, to refine the definition somewhat, I mean long action sequences sans dialogue that develop or reveal characters and their ideas and motivation using only body language. I.e., a long car chase is NOT what I mean, even if there are many explosions along the way.
woozy
post #7  on May 20, 2005 - 5:55 PM PDT  
> Excellent call. And, to refine the definition somewhat, I mean long action sequences sans dialogue that develop or reveal characters and their ideas and motivation using only body language. I.e., a long car chase is NOT what I mean, even if there are many explosions along the way.
> ---------------------------------

The first 20 minutes of "The Hudsucker Proxy". The was a trailer I saw more than 20 years ago for a movie called "Sidewalk Stories" or something like that that looked like it was silent. There are often movies were dialogue is absolutely unimportant (like Jacques) Tati but the only ones I can think of off the top of my head is "A Barbarian Nympho in Dinosaur Hell" and a weird french film whose title I can't remember ("Le dernier guerre"???) about a ping-pong table, fish raining from the sky, and other wierd stuff).

Eoliano
post #8  on May 20, 2005 - 6:09 PM PDT  
2001: A Space Odyssey
Eoliano
post #9  on May 20, 2005 - 8:08 PM PDT  
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring
hamano
post #10  on May 22, 2005 - 7:06 AM PDT  
Don't forget the omrice cooking scene from Tampopo which gets the full silent film treatment, from overcranking to ragtime piano music...
ahogue
post #11  on May 22, 2005 - 10:36 AM PDT  
Well, I would suggest some Tarkovsky (I just can't seem to stop talking about him lately). Most of his movies alternate between wordy, philosophical discussions and silence. (Actually, I wonder if Mamoru Oshii is somehow influenced by Tarkovsky's dialogue...)

A few others:

The Conversation (strangely enough)

Most of Rebert Bresson's films, except maybe Lancelot of the Lake which is composed largely of talking heads (only Bresson could pull that off). Particularly A Man Escaped and Une femme douce. Then of course there's this film with a donkey as a main character. Not a lot of talking in that one, though I think it is by far Bresson's weakest film so I'm not sure I'd actually recommend it.

There's a Bergman film with a young couple on a raft that I seem to recall has very little dialogue...what's that one called again?

Certainly you could probably include some Antonioni films. Oh, and Death in Venice, I think.

Hm. This might not be quite what we're talking about, but I always thought that Accident made great use of silences.
ALittlefield
post #12  on May 24, 2005 - 8:51 PM PDT  
In the movie BAND OF OUTSIDERS there's a moment where one character suggests that no one say anything for a minute, and the entire film goes silent! Gimmicky, but clever.
Also, it should be pointed out that Chaplin made CITY LIGHTS and MODERN TIMES in the days of sound, and that the latter film had some dialogue spoken.

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