What follows is twenty movies chosen by Mubi forum board members over about three months of voting, strategy, and no lack of controversy. Users were asked to submit a top 20 list of silent films (not necessarily silent era films) of their own, at which point the movies were collected and organized by amount submitted with a point valuation; the users were then compelled to vote titles up and down while titles dropped from the bottom. The original list had 361 titles; this list reflects what survived the devastation.
It is in the nature of lists such as these that someone not involved with the process comes along and sez, “BUT HEY WHAT ABOUT HOW COULD YOU FORGET IS THIS REALLY BETTER THAN WHAT THE HECK?!” So for those critics, here’s a wall of text of the movies that dropped. Please peruse at your pleasure (cmd-f for OSX and ctrl-f for Windows helps) to find if your movie is really missing, and if it’s really missing, then be sure to keep an eye out if we do something like this again to submit some more titles for next time!
The Fall of the House of Usher (Epstein), Docks of Hamburg, At Land, The Sixth Sense (Ardavin), Suspense, Until They Get Me, The Dance of the Paroxysms, The Crowd, The Godless Girl, Fantomas, Voyage au Congo, Mother, The Adventures of Prince Achmed, Lemon, Lady Windermere’s Fan, Sadie Thompson, The Haunted House (de Chomon), Berlin: Symphony of a Great City, A Page of Madness, Felix in Hollywood, The Navigator, Faces of Children, Vibracion de Granada, Stark Love, The Wonderful Lies of Nina Petrovna, The Great White Silence, Ballet mecanique, Chant d’amour, Grass: A Nation’s Battle for Life, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Menilmontant, The Goddess, Die Puppe (The Doll), Maldone, The Boat, Sherlock Jr., Lucky Star, The Gypsy Charmer, Light is Calling, An Inn in Tokyo, Foolish Wives, Happiness (1935), The Passion of Joan of Arc, Pandora’s Box, Japanese Girls at the Harbor, Miss Lulu Bett, Mother Krause’s Journey to Happiness, Broken Blossoms, The Cameraman, Tabu, Mauprat, Faust, Film, L’Argent (L’Herbier), Daddy-Long-Legs, Study of a River, Master of the House, Man with A Movie Camera, Greed, I Was Born, But…, L’inhumaine, Die Nibelungen, Laugh, Clown, Laugh, Bed and Sofa, Ned Med Vaabnene, Impatience, Herr Arnes Treasures, Our Hospitality, Modern Times, The Unknown, The Seashell and the Clergyman, Seven Chances, Apart from You, Steamboat Bill, Jr., The Circus, The Last Laugh, He Who Gets Slapped, Safety Last!, The Hands of Orlac, The Gold Rush, The Ten Commandments (1923), Mysterious X, Coeur fidele (Faithful Heart), Warning Shadows, The Goat, Ingmarsarvet, The General, Sunrise, City Lights, Nosferatu, The Oyster Princess, The Wildcat, Intolerance, Hotel Monterey, The Last Command, The Eagle, El hussar de la muerte, L’etoile de mer, The Kid, The Golem, Twilight of a Woman’s Soul, One Week, Rhythmus 21, A Cottage on Dartmoor, The Big Parade, A Story of Floating Weeds, Hindle’s Wake, At Sea, Go West, La Roue (The Wheel), City Girl, The Life and Death of 9413, A Hollywood Extra, Untitled (for Marilyn), 3 Bad Men, The Cat and the Canary, Decasia: The State of Decay, Strike, Lodz Symphony, Entr’acte, Judex, Meshes of the Afternoon, J’accuse (I Accuse), The Man who Laughs, Regeneration, Shoulder Arms, The End of St. Petersburg, Serene Velocity, Lovesong, Norrtullsligan, The Marriage Circle, A Trip to the Moon, The Lodger, Underworld (1927), Cowards Bend the Knee; or, The Blue Hands, The Freshman, An Interesting Story, West of Zanzibar, The Wedding March, Way Down East, Cabiria, Fragment of an Empire, The White Hell of Piz Palu, La aldea maldita, A Very Fine Lady, The Blackbird, The Overcoat, Flunky Work Hard, Braza Dormida, Zvenigora, The Phantom of the Opera, Earth, Haxan, The Ring, Assunta Spina, Hapax Legomena II: Poetic Justice, The Little Match Girl, The Iron Horse, New Babylon, Sparrows, Un chien andalou, Orphans of the Storm, The Girl with the Hat Box, L’age d’or, The Bride of Glomdal, Mikael (Michael), Maniac Chase, Queen Kelly, A Woman of Paris, The Lady and the Beard, Storm over Asia, The Automatic Moving Company, The Unholy Three, The Farmer’s Wife, No Blood Relation, New York Portrait, Chapter I, What Price Glory, Rotaie, Maria do Mar, The General Line/Old and New, Where are the Dreams of Youth, For Heaven’s Sake, So This is Paris?, The Tempest, Woman in the Moon, Tih Minh, The Phantom, Tol’able David, The Love Chariot, Passing Fancy, The Great Train Robbery, Philips-Radio, The Silent Enemy, Finis Terrae, Salome, Westinghouse Works, Listopad, The Tantalizing Fly, Metamorphoses, The Child of Paris, The Penalty, Isn’t Life Wonderful, I Don’t Want to be a Man, Jirokichi the Rat, Idle Class, The Impossible Voyage, Noidan Kirot, The Arrival from Darkness, Lisboa, Curro Vargas, The Queen of Death, Santa, Days of Youth, Raja Harishchandra, Why Change Your Wife? Impeng Negro, Blood and Sand, Waxworks, Maciste in Hell, The Student of Prague, The Shrinking Lover, Dementia, Our Heavenly Bodies, White Shadows in the South Seas, Odna (Alone), Four Sons, Kohlhiesel’s Daughters, The River, Two Girls From Zeeland in Zandvort, Kino Eye, L’homme du Large, Tilly and the Fire Engines, Hintertreppe, ‘A Santanotte, Le Braiser Ardent, By The Law, When Moscow Laughs, L’arpete, Keisatsukan (Police 911), Silent Movie, From Morning to Midnight, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Flying House, Battleship Potemkin, Diary of a Lost Girl, The Poor Little Rich Girl, Gertie on Tour, Dragnet Girl, Wings, Destiny, Spies, Nanook of the North, A Corner in Wheat, Miss Mend, South, The Fire, Carmen, Napule…e nient chhiu, My Grandmother, Mocny czlowiek (Strong Man), L’inferno, Flesh and the Devil, A Sixth Part of the World, The Smiling Madame Beudet, A Woman of Affairs, Wally of the Vultures, The Extraordinary Adventures of Mr.West in the Land of the Bolsheviks, The Docks of New York, Le Monstre, Within Our Gates, Emak-Bakia, Variety, Princess Nicotine, or the Smoke Fairy, Street Angel, La Folie du Docteur Tube, Casanova, Train of Shadows, The Water Magician, Tiny Tim and the Adventures of His Elephant, Window WaterBaby Moving, The Abyss (Gad), Mothlight, True Heart Susie, The Unchanging Sea, Big Business, Dog Star Man, Wild Oranges, Straight Shooting, In Titan’s Goblet, My Best Girl, The President, Le Reveleteur, Victory, Crainquebille, Metropolis, Fantasmagorie, Dream of a Rarebit Fiend, Les fiancés du pont Mac Donald ou, Daybreak, Running Wild, The Last Man, The Holy Mountain, The Eleventh Film, Thief of Baghdad, Alice in Wonderland, Heart of the World, The Pilgrim, Le Papillon Fantastique, Brand upon the Brain!, Tartuffe, La Antena, Film ist. 7-12, The Birth of a Nation, King of Dollars, Vampyr, Parson’s Widow, The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg, Workers Leaving the Factory, Leaves from Satan’s Book, The Scarlet Letter (Sjostrom), Les hautes solitudes, Ben-Hur, The Sheik, Lorna Doone, Dracula: Pages from a Virgin’s Diary, The Cameraman’s Revenge, Begotten, Mr. Hulot’s Holiday, Love One Another, Arsenal, The Artist
These movies are organized in the order they dropped off; the top titles are the ones that held on to the bitter end, the bottom ones were eliminated rather quickly. From here you can sort of recreate a sense of what a “top 25”, “top 50”, “top 100” and so on may have looked like. However, don’t think that just because it’s lower it was hated more: some movies stuck around because not enough people had seen them to vote them off, and some movies were targeted specifically to make the list more interesting than a typical Sight and Sound or Metacritic or They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They? list.
But enough of all that. The winners are below.