With so much early history unrecorded, the “firsts” of cinema remain difficult to definitively establish. It is rare, then, that a film comes along which can tote such a title without further question. The oldest surviving American Feature Film, and what is believed to be the first feature-length Shakespeare adaptation, is a condensed retelling of the Machiavellian Richard III. To provide the requisite context for this historic cinematic work, we go over the real life history of the former King of England, the unique qualities and appeals of the original play, and how this silent variation engages with a text known for its poetic wordplay and witty asides.
Preceding that is a discussion on the various Silent Films featured on the recently released Sight and Sound poll of the greatest films of all time. We look at which films still made the cut in the ten years since the last poll, and evaluate the merit of such lists while considering how much appreciation is represented for the first forty years of cinematic history.
Silent Cinema in the 2022 Sight and Sound Poll: 00:00 – 27:13
Feature Films, Shakespeare, and Richard III (1912) : 27:13 -1:12:14
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