Best American Silent Movies

By | Jul 3, 2009

6. The Crowd – 1928 – King Vidor, Director
Cast: Eleanor Boardman [Mary Sims], James Murray [John Sims], Bert Roach [Bert], Estelle Clark [Jane], Daniel G. Tomlinson [Jim], Dell Henderson [Dick], Lucy Beaumont [Mary’s mother], Freddie Burke Frederick [John Sims Jr.], Alice Mildred Puter [daughter]; Sidney Bracey [John’s supervisor], Johnny Downs [John Sims, age 12], Sally Eilers [the party girl at Bert’s Place], Warner P. Richmond [Mr. Sims, John’s father], Virginia Sale [Mary’s sister-in-law], Larry Steers [doctor], Claude Payton

Plot: The life of a man and woman together in a large, impersonal metropolis through their hopes, struggles and downfalls.

5. Greed – 1924 – Erich von Stroheim, Director
Cast: Gibson Gowland [John ‘Mac’ McTeague], ZaSu Pitts [Trina Sieppe McTeague], Jean Hersholt [Marcus Schouler], Dale Fuller [Maria Miranda Macapa], Tempé Piggot [Mother McTeague], Sylvia Ashton [‘Mommer’ Sieppe, Trina’s mother], Chester Conklin [Hans ‘Popper’ Sieppe, Trina’s father], Joan Standing [Selina, Trina’s cousin]; Austin Jewell [August Sieppe, Trina’s little brother], Oscar Gotell [Max Sieppe, Trina’s little twin brother], Otto Gotell [Moritz Sieppe, Trina’s little twin brother], Günther von Ritzau [?] (same as Erich von Ritzau?) [Dr. ‘Painless’ Potter, a traveling dentist], Frank Hayes [Charles W. Grannis, the Modern Dog Hospital owner], Fanny Midgley [Anastasia Baker, a retired dressmaker], Max Tyron [Rudolph Oelbermann, Trina’s uncle and owner of the toy store], Hughie Mack [Mr. Heise], E. ‘Tiny’ Jones (‘Tiny’ Jones) [Mrs. Heise], J. Aldrich Libby [Mr. Ryer], Rita Revela [Mrs. Ryer], Lon Poff [lottery company man], S.S. Simon [Joe Frenna, the saloonkeeper], [?] William Mollemhauer or William Mollenheime? [the palmist], Hugh J. McCauley [the photographer], William Barlow [the minister], Jack McDonald [?] [Placer County sheriff, or Cribbens, a prospector]?, James F. Fulton [?] [Placer County sheriff, or Cribbens, a prospector]?, James Gibson [deputy sheriff], Jimmy Wang [Chinese cook], Erich von Stroheim [balloon vendor], Lita Chevrier, Edward Gaffney, Harold E. Henderson, Cesare Gravina [Zerkow, the junkman (role cut from final film)], Jack Curtis [McTeague Sr. (role cut from final film)], Florence Gibson [old hag at Mike’s Saloon (role cut from final film)]

Plot: The sudden fortune won from a lottery fans such destructive greed that it ruins the lives of the three people involved.

4. The Gold Rush – 1925 – Charlie Chaplin. Director
Cast: Charles Chaplin [the lone prospector], Georgia Hale [Georgia], Mack Swain [Big Jim McKay], Tom Murray [Black Larsen], Henry Bergman [Hank Curtis], Betty Morissey [Georgia’s friend], Malcolm Waite [Jack Cameron], John Rand, Albert Austin, Heinie Conklin, Allan Garcia, Tom Wood

Plot: The Tramp goes the Klondike in search of gold and finds it and more.

3. City Lights – 1931 – Charlie Chaplin, Director
Cast: Charles Chaplin [the little tramp], Virginia Cherill [the blind girl], Harry Myers, Hank Mann, Florence Lee, Allan Garcia, Henry Bergman, Albert Austin, Stanhope Wheatcroft, John Rand, James Donnelly, Eddie Baker, Robert Parrish, Granville Redmond, Jean Harlow [extra], Ray Erlenborn [newsboy], Anna May the elephant.

Plot:The Tramp struggles to help a blind flower girl he has fallen in love with.

2. Sunrise (A Song of Two Humans) – 1927 – F.W. Murnau, Director
Cast: George O’Brien [the man], Janet Gaynor [the wife], Margaret Livingston [the woman from the city], Bodil Rosing [the maid], J. Farrell MacDonald [the photographer], Ralph Sipperly [the barber], Jane Winton [the manicure girl], Arthur Housman [the obtrusive gentleman], Eddie Boland [the obliging gentleman], Gibson Gowland, F.W. Murnau [man on ferryboat], Sally Eilers, Gino Corrado, Barry Norton, Robert Kortman, Sidney Bracey, Harry Semels, Phillips Smalley.

Plot: A married farmer falls under the spell of a slatternly woman from the city, who tries to convince him to drown his wife.

1. The General – 1926 – Buster Keaton, Director
Cast: Buster Keaton [Johnny Gray], Marian Mack [Annabelle Lee], Glen Cavender [Captain Anderson], Jim Farley [General Thatcher], Frederick Vroom [Southern general], Charles Smith [Annabelle’s father], Frank Barnes [Annabelle’s brother], Joseph Keaton [Union general], Mike Donlin [Union general], Tom Nawn [Union general], Jackie Lowe, Jackie Hanlon, Frank Agney, Ross McCutcheon, Charles Phillips, Jack Dempster, Red Thompson, Anthony Harvey, Ray Hanford, Tom Moran, Bud Fine, Jimmie Bryant, Al Hanson

Plot: When Union spies steal an engineer’s beloved locomotive, he pursues it single handedly and straight through enemy lines.

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