1927 in Movies

Movie reviews for movies released theatrically in 1927.

 

1. Metropolis, directed by Fritz Lang (10/10)

Even with all the missing scenes, this is still astounding. It is probably the best-designed silent film ever, and it is one of the top three or five silent films. It is incredibly well made for its era (one shot in particular, where it appeared the camera was on a swing, blew my mind). One could nitpick over the plot and the fairly obvious mistaken identity plot but that’s missing the point and ignoring the context. This is incredible.

 

2. Sunrise, directed by F.W. Murneau (10/10)

Normally when one thinks of FW, one thinks horror, or at least something dark. This is quite a different thing (though it starts off that way) yet he does an equally good job. As usual, the film is incredible for its era, with all sorts of crazy camera tricks to keep the eye interested. The ending is more than a little dumb (but necessary for the title) but the film is otherwise so good for its era that it’s hard to criticize.

 

3. It, directed by Clarence G. Badger (7/10)

This is just a silent silly romantic comedy. That’s all. But for being that, it’s about as good as it could be. It’s quite funny, given the limitations. Also, it helps remind the viewer of how much better most silent film actors were at physical acting than many of their talkie successors. The performances are mostly more nuanced than the average American talkie of the early ’30s, so that’s something else.

 

4. The Jazz Singer, directed by Alan Crosland (6/10)

Is this one of the most overrated movies of all-time? First, it’s not really the first talkie because only the songs are synched. The rest of the dialogue is through title-cards as per other silent films. Then there’s the story: nothing special about it. The production, aside from the sound, is rarely remarkable (except for one shot with a mirror). Oh yeah, couldn’t they find Louis Armstrong so this movie could actually contain some jazz?