National Silent Movie Day takes place on September 29 each year. National Silent Movie Day is a day to celebrate and enjoy silent movies. But, what is a silent movie? A silent movie is a film with no accompanying, synchronized, recorded spoken dialogue. Watching a movie combining motion pictures with recorded sound seems obvious, but movies did not have any sound at first. It was mainly because of the technical challenges involved. Combining motion pictures with recorded sound is nearly as old as the motion picture itself.
History of National Silent Movie Day
Silent movie technology was developed around 1860. Silent film technology remained a novelty until 1880 and 1900 when films on a single reel were widely available. Film experts and historians refer to these years as the silent era or “Age of the Silver Screen” since they occurred before sound was invented. Before the late 1920s, most films were silent. On the other hand, silent films were a universal language through their messages.
Live music was almost always present at silent film screenings. They began with the pianist at the Lumière Brothers’ first public showing of films on December 28, 1895, in Paris (Cook, 1990). Music was recognized as essential from the beginning, contributed to the atmosphere, and gave the audience vital emotional cues. Movie theaters in small towns and neighborhoods usually had pianists, while large city theaters tended to have organists or entire orchestras.
Silent movies emphasize body language and facial expression so the audience can understand better what an actor or actress is feeling and portraying on screen. Modern audiences will likely find the gestures used in silent film acting unsophisticated or campy. That is why, in the current period, silent comedies are more popular than drama, partially because overacting is more natural in comedy. Overacting was a practice that actors carried over from the theater to silent films, and directors who grasped the intimacy of the new medium opposed it.
National Silent Movie Day timeline
The technology for silent movies is invented.
The first commercially made motion picture film is produced.
The idea of including a pre-recorded soundtrack becomes popular.
This day is established in January by Chad Hunter, Executive Director of Video Trust and Director of the Pittsburgh Silent Film Society.
National Silent Movie Day FAQs
Are silent movies silent?
Silent movies were never silent because they were accompanied by some form of music–typically a piano.
What is the most famous silent movie?
The most famous silent movie is called “The General,” whose directors are Buster Keaton and Clyde Bruckman.
Does Netflix have silent movies?
Unfortunately, Netflix does not have silent movies.
National Silent Movie Day Activities
Watch a silent movie at home
Watching a silent movie at home is the ideal way to commemorate this day. You can invite friends and watch the film together.
Go to the cinema
You can search on the Internet if a silent movie is available in a nearby cinema. Going to the movies to see a silent film is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Read a book
Another good option to celebrate this day is reading a book about your favorite silent movie star. There are a lot of biographies available to read.
5 Facts About Silent Movies
No body doubles
Stunt doubles didn't exist in most silent movie productions.
During the 1920s, Hollywood produced over 800 feature films every year.
No record of some movies
Early film reels were made using nitrate films, and some of the classics have been lost forever due to decomposition.
Breaking the silence
In 1927, "The Jazz Singer" was the first commercially successful sound film or 'talkie.'
The most famous actor
Charlie Chaplin is the most famous silent film star of all time.
Why We Love National Silent Movie Day
Silent movies show the beginning of the movie era
Silent films can be traced all the way back to the dawn of cinema. The silent era was a pioneering time for motion pictures.
Watching a silent movie is considered an art
To understand an actor's message, you must pay close attention, especially in a silent film. The talented actors could convey a world of emotion with a single look or a slight hand movement.
Silent films will pull you in
Many people experience a learning curve when they start watching silent movies. Everything is visual, and a viewer cannot look away and listen. It's a mistake to think silent movies are sound with title cards thrown in.
National Silent Movie Day dates