The Duck Kind of Goes Back in Time

The duck can be pretty old-fashioned.  I stay fairly current on video games, but on little else.  I don’t use Facebook.  I don’t Twitter or whatever (obviously, since I’m a duck, not a song bird).  I don’t have a tablet or a MePod or a UPad or whatever they’re called.  I don’t play “Irate Birds”, and I never saw “Twilight” or “Hunger Games” (or were they thirsty?).  In fact, when it comes to movies and TV, I don’t watch a lot of the new stuff.  The TV shows I watch nowadays are either cooking shows (I like to watch other people eat, I guess) or old shows like “Star Trek” (the original and maybe “The Next Generation”), “Mary Tyler Moore”, and “Dick Van Dyke”.  And lately, I’ve been going farther and farther back in time when I watch movies.

            Some time ago, I got caught up on the “Terminator” movies and the original “Star Trek” movies.  And rewatched the “Alien” movies because they’re awesome like that.  I also went farther back and watched a lot of old black and white movies.  I mainly like the old, corny monster movies.  I’ve gotten into the habit of making fun of them as I watch them (likely influenced by “Mystery Science Theatre 3000”…).  Even more recently, I went even farther back.  To movies made over 80 years ago.  Silent movies!  Yes, I did just go there.

            My first silent movie was “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”, which was fine.  Not thrilling, but fine.  After that, I watched the original “Nosferatu”.  It’s basically a version of “Dracula”, but they couldn’t get the rights, so they had to change some things.  I liked it better than any “Dracula” movie I’ve seen.  The vampire in this, Count Orlok, was way scarier than Dracula.  And I think it helps that you never hear his voice.  More mysterious that way.  I still can’t figure out why no one can get away from him, though.  He usually moves so darn slow.  Except when he’s carrying heavy objects.  Somehow then he can walk faster.  Opposite of what I expect, but okay.

            Then I heard silent movie-watchers must watch “The Gold Rush”.  You probably already know, but since I didn’t, I’ll tell you that this is a movie with Charlie Chaplin in it.  It was quite funny at times, but it didn’t feel so much like my type of movie, so next I watched “The Phantom of the Opera”.  I’ve actually never seen any version of this before.  Now I have.  I liked it, but I would have preferred it if the phantom wasn’t bad.  Is he in the other versions?

            After that, I found my favorite silent movies, the movies of Buster Keaton.  He is pretty darn funny, and I love how he always looks so very serious all the time.  If you have any interest in checking out silent movies, I’d suggest watching some of his first.  I enjoy most of his stuff quite a bit.  Certain parts are especially funny.  I loved the scene in “Steamboat Bill Jr.” when it’s really windy out.  I loved the part of “Sherlock Jr.” when he is riding on the front of this motorcycle someone’s driving, and the driver falls off, and he ends up in this ridiculous ride speeding through traffic and narrowly dodging all manner of other obstacles.  It lasts quite a while before he realizes no one’s driving.  I loved a lot of parts in “The Navigator”.  In this one, he and a lady end up stranded on some ship in the middle of the sea.  In one part, they try to make lunch, but they aren’t very good at it because they’re rich and spoiled and have never done it before.  He unsuccessfully tries opening cans, while she makes coffee with the seawater he brought.  And they both have ridiculously sized utensils.  Good times.  I also saw “The General”, which was supposed to be the best, but I didn’t think it was funny myself.

            Below I have two videos.  One is the hurricane scene from “Steamboat Bill Jr.”  The better stuff starts around 2:30 in or so.  The other video is the motorcycle scene from “Sherlock Jr.”  (The music for the first video, I don’t remember if it’s the same or not, but the music in the second video definitely seems to be different for some reason.  The videos are the same, though.)

            I find these silent movies rather comforting.  I like listening to the music while watching people silently do stuff.  And you know what’s weird?  Some of these movies are tinted, so they aren’t always black and white.  Some of them have parts that are more like green and black or red and black.  Night time is often blue and black, I found.  I find it interesting.  I never knew they did that.

            Anyway, I rather enjoyed watching these silent movies, and I look forward to new ones I can find (well, not new, but you know).  It’s fun watching something that isn’t done anymore.  And sometimes it’s fun to watch movies where you must imagine the characters’ voices yourself.  It’s like reading a book or playing a video game without voice acting.  If you ever run into any silent movies, why not give them a try?  One thing does bother me, though.  I am getting really old-fashioned.  Soon enough, I’ll be prancing about in old-timey clothes.  Oh, I already do that at the Renaissance Faire….

Silent Duck

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8 thoughts on “The Duck Kind of Goes Back in Time

  1. Wasn’t it Steamboat Bill Jr. that inspired the first Mickey Mouse cartoon, Steamboat Willie? Or maybe it was a song by that name? My Trivial Pursuit brain is not working so well right now. Anyway, I’ve always heard that the best silent movie is Metropolis. I saw it years ago and thought it was pretty good. A very striking picture, even for a silent movie. I also remember a silent version of Ben-Hur that I thought was pretty impressive.

    I used to live in a town that had a strand theatre that ran silent movies a couple times a month. They’d show 3 movies for $2. That was a fun way to spend two dollars. Some of today’s movies could certainly benefit from being silent and set only to music.

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    1. I just looked into it and the title of “Steamboat Willie” is a parody of the title “Steamboat Bill Jr.” There was also a song of that name, too, the cartoon was referring to. I wondered if the movie and cartoon were related, with the similar names. I just learned something new today.

      I think “Metropolis” is on Netflix right now. Maybe I should watch it, then.

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  2. The only B&W show I remember watching regularly was the original Addams Family. It added to the show for me, though I am not sure if it was deliberate or not.

    I’ve heard of Metropolis. Have you seen the Japanese remake of it? I mean to one day, as it’s supposed to be pretty awesome =)

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  3. For those of us growing up in the 50s we were linked to our parent’s generation in a special way that no longer exists. We watched those movies from the 30s and 40s and learned to identify and create common associations. The old films, they were about something: American history, exemplary people, family, American religious values. Today’s films . except for a few are about nothing of depth and value.

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    1. You are very right about today’s movies. And it’s nice that I can watch the old movies without anything that bad happening in them. I have to expect all manner of swearing and violence and nudity in most modern movies, so I usually don’t want to watch them.

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