Given that at least two-thirds of the silent films ever made no longer exist, how fortunate that director Erich von Stroheim’s “Greed” has survived. Though its running time of two hours twenty minutes seems long even by today’s standards, in fact von Stroheim envisioned an eight-hour extravaganza, painstakingly shooting over 85 hours of film.
Impressively executed and immensely entertaining, The Artist charts the fading career of silent film star George Valentin juxtaposed with the rise of new discovery Peppy Miller. In a strong supporting role native St. Louisan John Goodman plays director Al Zimmer. This gorgeous black-and-white homage to silent film takes place in Hollywood from 1927 to 1931, the transition to talkies.
Initially released in 1927, Metropolis is among the most iconic and influential films ever. Way ahead of his time, Viennese-born director Fritz Lang presented a socially powerful critique of the exploitation of masses of workers by the hedonistic upper class. With astonishing contrasts between Gothic and futuristic architecture, a dichotomous world exists. Within the depths of the title city, masses sweat and toil in long shifts that literally sap their life's blood. Above ground, in Edenic gardens, the elite play and party. There Freder, son of the heartless capitalist ruler, accidentally encounters and is stunned by an angelic Maria.