Growing up in the 70’s we did not have DVR’s, VCR’s, DVD,s and 4 or 5 channels on TV. The first movie I ever saw at a movie theater was PETE’S DRAGON in 1977. I was instantly hooked on movies and movie making. I desperately wanted to work at a movie theater so that I could see all of the films that were playing. I soon learned that there were film projectors for consumer purchase. Being 11 years old I didn’t have the money to buy one, but would constantly ask my parents when I could get one. Finally they bought me my first film projector I think it was $50 or $60. It was not a sound projector, but I was in heaven. The only problem now was where do you get films to watch? I learned that my local library rented them. They were all silent old films most of which I never heard of and didn’t think looked that interesting. The reel was in a white box with the title sloppily handwritten on the top. I didn’t care I just wanted to watch movies on my projector. I was soon getting films from the library weekly. I remember many of them starring Charlie Chaplain. I would invite friends over and I placed the projector as far from the wall as possible to make the picture as big as I could. I would play a music record during the movie to add some sound and make my bedroom as close to a movie theater as possible. Charlie Chaplain running around to a record from The Police really didn’t match but it did’nt matter. When I reflect back on those movies I realize what terrific film making it was. The actors were telling a story without saying a single word except for a title card here and there. They were able to portray true human emotion and tell a great story wit no sound.
The point of my childhood story comes from a silent black and white film that was shown at Cannes this week. THE ARTIST has received great reviews from those lucky enough to have seen it. The film is presented in 4:3 ratio and the score is close to something you would hear in the 1920’s. The story revolves around a silent film star who is resistant to playing along with the emerging “talkies” of the time.
If THE ARTIST does well at the Box Office it could very well be a contender at awards time.