Film History – Week 5

Buster Keaton, one of the great stars and filmmakers of the silent area.

1. Read The Young Oxford Book of the Movies p. 24 (from Enter the Genre) – p. 27. In your notebook answer the following questions:

a. What were the most popular genres of the time? Are these genres still around today? (If you are interested in the different genres or a specific genre see pages 72 – 129).

b. Who founded United Artists?

c. What was the Hay’s Office? Do we have anything today that is equivalent to this?

d. Explain the star system? Who were some of the major stars of the silent era?

e. “The sudden decline of silent filmmaking has no parallel in any other art  form.” (p. 27) Explain.

Optional: Continue working on your film history timeline for your wall. Add in important dates and figures and films from your reading. You can get some ideas here.

2. Visit Britannica for kids and read more about this time period in cinema. Also watch this short on Buster Keaton at Britannica.

3. Read a short history of the MPAA here.

There are so many great films to watch from this time period. I encourage you to explore YouTube, Netflix, and other sources to find some full length classic silent films to watch with your children. Here is a great list of the top 100 silent films for your reference.

In the meantime here are some clips to watch from a few of my favorite silent films:

Harold Llyod in Safety Last

Buster Keaton in The General

Charlie Chaplin eating a boot in a famous scene from The Gold Rush

And here is one of my favorite clips from the Thief of Bagdad

Next up in film history sound comes to the movies!

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