Silent Movies

I am excited that there’s a new silent movie out: The Artist (2011). I haven’t had a chance to see it yet, but I am looking forward to it.

When I was studying film theory in college, François Truffaut‘s fabulous Hitchcock (the 1967 book based on long interviews with Alfred Hitchcock) was a huge revelation for me. It turned me into a strict proponent of what I later coined “The Hitchcock Theorem”. It refers to the Old Master’s view that a good film should tell the story not in words, but mostly in pictures. Stories unsuitable for being told visually should remain novels. Some of them might be suitable for adaption into a stage play, but they should not become a screenplay. Hitchcock was very adamant about this.

When you look carefully, you will notice how many of today’s movies tell entire plots and sub-plots through dialogue between the characters. Hitchcock called this approach “lazy” film making, and he was opposed to this sort of screenwriting.

Inspired by the Truffaut’s book I wrote a college paper on one of Hitchcock’s masterpieces, Psycho. Analyzing the film scene by scene, I was amazed to see that the majority of it has no dialogue, and not even music.

Hitchcock attributed many of his skills as a film maker to the fact that he began his craft in silent films, and he lamented that later film makers no longer had this opportunity.

Here’s to silent movies!

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Journalist and media professional currently based in Los Angeles, California. Focusing on science and technology.