Silent film is wonderful. It's a view of the movies from a whole other world. With the absence of the availability of wordiness, ideas needed to be expressed almost exclusively through movement and pantomime, with maybe a few title cards thrown in. It is this writer's personal opinion that the Germans dominated the silent film era. You will find few better films than those created by Robert Wiene (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari), Fritz Lang (Metropolis), or F.W. Murnau (Nosferatu, The Last Laugh, Sunrise – one of my personal all-time favorite films).
But they didn't have Charlie Chaplin. Charlie Chaplin is amazing. His films will make you laugh. They will make you cry. Try not to tear up when young Jackie Coogan reaches out crying for the Tramp in The Kid, or in the closing shot of Modern Times. Charlie Chaplin's films make the world a better place.
Of course, there is also his rival in American silent comedy: Buster Keaton. While Chaplin is known for his heartfelt and romantic brand of comedy, Keaton is renowned for his hilarious slapstick. Both are great. But which is better? The Louisville Film Society is putting it to the test with their Buster vs. Charlie film series.
Every month, for the next six months, the LFS will screen two short films by each director with live musical accompaniment. This month, representing Keaton are his films Neighbors and Cops, and in Chaplin's corner is The Bank and Easy Street. Music will be provided by Your Friendly Neighborhood Big Band.
Round one of Buster vs. Charlie will be showcased several times this weekend, starting tonight, Thursday, at 7:15 at the Dreamland Film Center. If you can't make it tonight, it will also be shown on Friday and Saturday at 7:15 and 10:00.
Admission is $10 for LFS members and $12 for the general public. The Dreamland Film Center is located at 810 E. Market Street. Complete information can be found at the LFS website.
Image: LFS website