Directors of Silent Films

By | Dec 17, 2007

1) Erich Von Stroheim
Stronheim was an Austrian who had a long career in Silent Films in Hollywood beginning in 1915. His most famous work as a director is Greed, a detailed filming of the novel McTeague by Frank Norris. Stroheim originally edited a nine-hour version of the story, shot mostly at the locations as described in the book, San Francisco and Death Valley. He did cut it to less than three hours but it still was rejected by MGM which cut the film to a little over two hours. Stroheim destroyed the excess footage.

2) F.W. Murnau
Murnau was one of the greats of the Germanic Silent directors. His most famous film was the unauthorized version of Dracula, which he called Nosferatu. Even though he lost the lawsuit brought against him by Stoker’s estate which ruled that all copies of the film was to be destroyed, prints had been saved and now it has been fully restored.

3) King Vidor
Vidor might be best remembered as being a non-credited director of The Wizard of Oz, but he is also in the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest career as a film director. His first in 1913 with Hurricane in Galveston and ending in 1980 with a short documentary on painting entitled The Metaphor. In 1928, Vidor received his first Oscar nomination, for The Crowd. In the same year, he made the classic Show People, the last silent film of Marion Davies, a comedy about the film industry.

4) John Ford
Ford may be best remembered for his westerns starring John Wayne, but came to Hollywood in the 1910’s following his brother and began work as a director in the early 1920’s. Many of his silent films, both as an actor and as a director have been lost.

5) Alfred Hitchcock
Hitchcock like Ford will be remember for the films he made after sound was put on film, but he began as a director of silent films in England in the mid 1920’s. His first ‘talkie’ Blackmail, his tenth film, was released a month before his final silent film, The Manxman.

6) Cecil B. DeMille
The great filmmaker Cecil B. Demille began in the early days of film. He directed Paramount first film The Squaw Man in 1915. A few of his silent films such as The Ten Commandments he was a able to remake in the sound era.


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