In my teens and twenties, I rarely saw any footage of silent pictures and when I did it was painful to watch. The flickering, herky-jerky movement of the film made me physically flinch and filled me with pity for my grandparents who would have had to watch these abominations. Because of those flickering images, I doubt if I ever watched more than two minutes of any silent film until I was in my fifties. How was I to know that what I was seeing was not correct?
I owe Turner Classic Movies for so much. Maybe the greatest debt is for giving me silent films at the correct speed.
I watched The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, a 1921 epic (no sarcasm here – epic is accurate) directed by Rex Ingram and starring Rudolf Valentino and featuring the father of Gilligan’s Skipper Alan Hale in a major role. Yes, it’s necessary to wade through some acting styles that are not of our time (hoo boy!), but this is a powerful and well-told story of the horror and ultimate folly of war. I wonder if the final scene of Saving Private Ryan wasn’t inspired by the final scene in Four Horsemen.
Thank you again TCM.