Login with Facebook

History of silent cinema

At its birth, the cinema is silent; the language barrier does not exist since the image is universal. However, the cinema will experience major changes during this period.

Thus, one of the first to consider cinema no longer as a testimony but as art is Georges Méliès. He uses the tips and tricks used in the world of illusionists and adapt them for the cinema. If the Lumière Brothers invented the cinematograph, Méliès invented the cinematographic art. In 1902, he signed the first Science-fiction film, Voyage Dans la Lune. Méliès directed more than 500 short films, often painted by hand, between 1896 and 1913. Besides Méliès, the other big names in silent cinema are the burlesque Max Linder who will later be the source of inspiration for Charles Chaplin, and Louis Feuillade director of the first Gaumont series: Fantômas et Les Vampires with Musidora. The Great Train Robbery was the first American silent film that was released in 1913.

We keep today a few films from this heroic period which was nevertheless prolific. The film was often scratched and reused, sometimes several times, forever erasing many works. Méliès himself acted like this.

The origin of the cinematography

December 28, 1895, is the official origin date of the cinema. The credit goes to the invention of the brother's Auguste and Louis Lumière, a machine that allows both filming and projection, and which has speeded up many other similar attempts, in particular, that of Thomas Edison. In the USA, the impact of this first public projection on the big screen is such that it encourages all competitors to develop the commercial aspect of their device.

The first films are still shots and cannot exceed 50 seconds, that is to say, the length of a reel. This does not prevent the Lumière brothers from sending, all over the world, operators responsible for bringing back images that constitute the first documentaries and the first news. By placing his camera on the platform of the small French station of La Ciotat, one of these operators produced what can be considered as the very first “real” film, at least the first in which the games on perspective and change appear. The scale of shots as travelers walks past the camera. It is also the first to scare the spectators, one of the great engines of the cinema to come!

The cinematography is developing and diversifying.

By putting several reels end to end, by deliberately interrupting the shooting and by constructing his sets himself, the French Georges Meliès very quickly understood that the Lumière brothers' machine also made it possible to make inventive films, based on special effects and complex scenarios, which will influence filmmakers around the world. For their part, Americans prefer to develop action films and, in 1903, with Attack of the great train ( The Great Train Robbery ), Edwin Porter incorporates a hold-up, natural settings, prosecution and horse brawl with a character (a dummy!) thrown off the train. There is also the first example of an alternating montage, a panoramic, and a tracking shot when Porter places the camera on the roof of the moving train. He thus realizes, in just 12 minutes, the prototype of all action films.

In Europe, on the other hand, artists are taking over the cinema with the ambition of reaching a more demanding audience. In 1908, the new production company “Le Film d'Art” called on actors from the French comedy for the reconstruction of The Assassination of the Duke of Guise. Like a play or an opera, the film is considered worthy of criticism in Le Temps, the reference newspaper of the time, and the original score written by Camille Saint-Saëns is considered as the first film score.

The First World War caused a slowdown in film production in Europe, and the United States took advantage. In 1915, the film Birth of a Nation, which deals with the Civil War and its consequences, achieved considerable success, despite the overtly racist content of its screenplay. Its exceptional length for the time, the quality of the image and the discoveries of the staging consecrate the talent of its director, DW Griffith, but also the supremacy of the Hollywood production system.

Trends in some countries

Cinema now occupies a major place. In large cities, halls with several thousand seats are built, veritable palaces dedicated to this art. Almost all countries have created a film industry, with their own specificities. IN Germany, expressionism, already present in the painting and in literature, finds in black and white and silent cinema a particularly appropriate field of action which gives an original form to the first works of great directors: Murnau, Pabst and above all, Fritz Lang, whose commercial success is considerable.

Motivated by the desire to educate and convince, the Soviet Russian filmmakers invented a new cinematographic language which plays on the framing, the camera movements, the superimpositions and above all, the editing, responsible for transmitting the emotion and creating a part sense. The most famous example is a film by SM Eisenstein, Battleship Potemkin (1925), constructed in five movements, like a symphony.

In France, the critic and director Louis Delluc brings together a few young directors who constitute the first French “new wave”. For them too, it is a question of renewing the cinematographic language by using its similarities with music, but also with literature, painting and architecture. Just as painting frees itself from representation, it is the inability of cinema to be totally realistic that appeals to certain creators.

For its part, the United States is gradually securing a commercial hegemony, by transposing the comic recipes of burlesque shows, very popular with a popular audience, to the cinema, and by creating characters easily identifiable by spectators around the world. Certainly, the forerunner was the Frenchman Max Linder, but the considerable success of Buster Keaton, The Tramp and several others testifies to this phenomenon which will hardly survive the arrival of the speaking.

End of the 1920s, final bouquet and disappearance of the silent

As early as 1927, the process for synchronizing image and sound was practically developed, but cinemas were not yet ready to equip themselves with the necessary equipment. In addition, the mastery of the image by cinematographers and directors reaches an exceptional level. The material is less bulky and allows all the daring. It is, therefore, the period of the greatest silent masterpieces: Metropolis by Fritz Lang, Joan of Arc by Dreyer, La Foule by King Vidor, Napoleon by Abel Gance, Le Mécano de la General by Buster Keaton, L 'Man with the Camera from The City Lights by Charlie Chaplin.

However, due to the economic crisis of 1929, attendance at movie theatres fell, and only something new could bring audiences back there. In addition, the democratization of radio and 78 rpm records has familiarized the population with the presence of recorded voice. Hearing the actors speak becomes a necessity. At first, the invasive presence of dialogue fascinates, as much as it "tires" the viewer, and musical films are therefore very popular. But the movement is irreversible, resulting in the systematic destruction of copies of silent films, which have become obsolete, useless, cumbersome and dangerous. Fortunately, some enlightened amateurs manage to save doomed copies. They will be at the origin of the creation of film libraries. In 1929, in Hollywood, the first Oscars ceremony rewards, for the one and only time, the “best intertitles” and it will be necessary to wait until 2012 so that another silent film.


Charlie Chaplin, one of the first complete artists of the cinema and probably the most famous, made his first film in 1914 and the last in 1967. It was nevertheless silent cinema that brought him international fame and fortune. Born in England, Chaplin began very early on the boards, in pantomime, and was noticed in America during a tour in which he participated. Hired by Mack Sennett, the king of burlesque cinema and slapstick, Charlie Chaplin little by little refines his character of The Tramp, and the public of the whole world recognizes himself in this eternal marginal, nevertheless sentimental, who does not fear to attack stronger than him. Very quickly Chaplin made his own films, and then completed his independence by ensuring distribution, promotion and so on, production within the “associated artists”, of which he was one of the co-founders.

Charlie Chaplin's contribution to the history of cinema is not limited to the creation of The Tramp. In 1923, he temporarily abandoned the character that brought him fame and produced public opinion. This drama confuses the usual audience of The Tramp, but the play of the actors, particularly natural, revolutionizes the direction of actor and certain visual effects are very innovative. On the other hand, Charlie Chaplin attaches great importance to music. He composed airs which he then entrusted to an orchestrator, which he would continue to do until his final sound film, The Countess of Hong Kong.

With the switch to talking movies, Chaplin is much less comfortable. Aware that his success lies in the gestures, he dreads this cinema which gives the beautiful role to the dialogues. While, for the rest of film production, the transition from silent to talking takes a little over a year, it takes three films and almost ten years for Chaplin to take this step:

-The first of the three films, Les Lumières de la Ville, was written and produced in 1930 and constitutes one of the peaks of silent cinema. The main character is a young blind florist who finds her way through touch and above all through sounds, which Chaplin manages to integrate into her script without making them heard!

- The second film, Modern Times, shot in 1935, should have been entirely sound, but Charlie Chaplin gave up synchronous dialogue at the last moment and even reintroduced intertitles. However, he builds a soundtrack where sound effects and music prevail, but when the characters really speak, we do not hear them or the sound only comes through a machine. It is however in the penultimate sequence of this film that we hear for the first time the voice of The Tramp, singing in the restaurant.

- The third film, The Dictator, is entirely speaking but it was not completed until 1940 and ended with one of the longest monologues in the history of cinema!

Chaplin made four more films before a more or less forced retirementsilent cinema, but none can really compete with the best of his previous works.

Author: Vicki Lezama

Need a custom

We will write it for you.
Order now

Free Essay Examples

Free essays:

All you need to know about Neuroendocrinology
All you need to know about Big data management
All you need to know about digital special effects
All you need to know Technical Writing?
Basics the Game Theory in Cryptoeconomics
Business innovation ideas for making money
Biosensors for cancer diagnosis
Business Analysis: Pricing strategies and Demand Curve
Cognitive Computing- How does Cognitive Computing work?
Consciousness: characteristics and peculiarities
Conservation Economics
Cybersecurity in business: challenges, risks, and practices
Demographic trends and how they affect Economic Growth
Dance as an art form and entertainment
Discrimination Economics
Determinants of Wages
Everything you need to know about short-term memory
Economic and Policy Impacts of Demographics
Ethics: an essay on the understanding of evil
Emotions: what are they? Theories explained
Factors of Demographic Data Collection
Factors Affecting Purchasing Behavior
Financial Statement Analysis
Factors Influencing Interest and Exchange Rates
Government's Intervention in The Labor Market
Guide on the Pathways of the nervous system
Game theory in microeconomics
Globalization: definition, causes, social impact and risks
How Relativism Promotes Pluralism and Tolerance
How to use the audience’s feedback to write a news report
History of silent cinema
How news report can be strengthened through multimedia
Introduction to Population Problems
Imperfect Information and Asymmetric Information
Imperfect Information in Insurance
Introduction to Labor Markets
Journalism: What is News?
Journalism: Broadcast media and Television Presenters
Journalism: Sources of News
Journalism and Law
Key Determinants of National Income
Key Factors That Affect Pricing Decisions
Kinetic models in biology and Related fields
Know about the different forms of traditional African dances
Latest technology trends
Latest dance trends
Magnetoencephalography (MEG)
Microeconomic Analysis to the Demand for Labor
Neuromuscular disorders
National Economies, Fluctuation, and Responses to Fluctuations
Neurotransmitters: what they are and different types
Nanomedicines to target tumors
Objections to utilitarianism
Organizational motivation and its effects
Overcoming Hiring Challenges for Nonprofit Organization
Population Demographics
Recurrent neural networks (RNN) for speech detection
Russian School of Mathematics
Research and Development
Risk Sharing in Insurance and Asset Markets
Stochastic optimization methods in deep learning?
Structure of the nervous system
Structure of a Corporation
Schizoaffective disorder: how to live better with it
The climate change denial
The techniques of basic cinematography
The Endosymbiotic Theory
The Role of Internal Audit in Corporate Risk Management
Utilitarianism Vs. Kantianism
Understanding Auctions and Auction Theory: Part 2
Various theoretical perspectives of sociology
Virtual reality, what it is and how it works
What are the linear models in machine learning?
What is Convolutional Neural Network
4 Facts about Origin of Mathematics!
5 techniques to create an animation
10 emerging technologies according to World Economic Forum
10 strategies to maximize corporate profits
3d Model Of Building
6 Medical Technologies that revolutionized the healthcare in 2020
All you need to know about the ACA Code of ethics
Architecture and Democracy: An Introduction
Architecture and Democracy: Democratic Values
Architecture and Democracy: Democratic Procedures
All You Need to Know About a Synthesis Essay
An essential guide to understanding Film Theory
Application of Artificial Intelligence in Cyber Security
Applications of electrical engineering
Augmented reality: what it is, how it works, examples
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Social Networking
All you need to know about Cryptography
Applications of astrophysical science
All you need to know about architecture engineering
Applications of geological engineering
Artificial intelligence and medicine: an increasingly close relationship
An insight into Computational Biology
ACA code of conduct
A Rose for Emily
Applications of Mathematics in daily life
Architecture mistakes to avoid
All you need to know about Toxicology
All you need to know about Holistic Medicine
All you need to know about linguistics
An introduction to Linguistics and its subfields
All you need to know about Anxiety disorder
All you need to know about Drones
A Brief Insight into Political Science
Assumptions related to feminism
All you need to know about Byzantine emperors
All you need to know about labour economics
An insight into xenobots -the first-ever robots
An ultimate guide about Biomaterials
A Comprehensive Introduction to the Mona Lisa
Analysis methods of Transport through biological membranes
An ultimate guide about biochemical reactions
Analysis of brain signals
Artificial Gene Synthesis
Application to synthetic biology of CAD methods
All you need to know about metabolic pathways
Applications of BIOMEMS
All you need to know about the epidemiology
Asian vs. western leadership styles
All you need to know about Smart prosthesis
Analysis of Economy: Output of Goods and Services (GNP), and GDP on Economic success
A Guide to Pricing Strategies
An Overview Of Economic Studies
Analysis of Fiscal and Monetary Policies
Analysis of Business Cycles
Analysis of Consumption and Investment
A Look into Regression Analysis
Analysis of Household's Consumption and Savings Behavior
All you need to know about Capital Budgeting
All you need to know about risk management
Art looted in wartime.
Appropriate use of Data in Economics
All you need to know about reaction kinetics?
A historical overview of Financial Crises
All you need to know about management discipline?
An insight into the error-correction models
All you need to know about Data visualization
All you need to know about Work-family balance
All you need to know Technical Writing?
All you need to know about digital special effects
All you need to know about Big data management
All you need to know about Neuroendocrinology
How to Write a Personal Essay
Housing Needs in America
How to Write a Description Essay
How to Create an Excellent Scholarship Essay?
How to write a cause and effect essay
How to Hire the Best Essay Writing Service Provider?
How to Write a College Application Essay?
How to get the most out of your English lectures
How to write Expository Essay
How to succeed in your psychology class?
How to Write an Academic Essay in the Shortest Time?
History of Journalism
How Different Sectors are Using Artificial intelligence (AI)
How to write an informative essay
How to deliver persuasive essays?
How to Give a Convincing Presentation
How to write an essay on leadership?
Historical Art Still Around Today
Humanoid robot: what it is, how it works and price
History of Chemistry
Healthcare Advanced Computer Power: Robotics, Medical Imaging, and More
Healthcare AI: Game Changers for Medical Decision-Making and Remote Patient Monitoring
How to understand different types of English
How to Cope with Chronic Pain
How African American choreographers and dancers have influenced American dance
How mobile robot can do in logistics or in production
How To Become a Successful Entrepreneur
History of the Philosophy of Feminism
How is the climate changing?
How to Track Your Content Marketing ROI
How to Gun control In the USA?
Historical and contemporary role of labour in the modern world
How breast cancers are classified?
How the cells of our body communicate?
How the Lymphatic System Works?
How Digestive System Works
How to complete your capstone projects effectively?
How to write a research project
Healthcare technologies that help patients with better self-management
How to choose the topic of the senior capstone project
How to make your business survive at economic crisis
How can immigrants blend in the American society?
How does the economics of war affect society?
Hate speech on social media.
How to Build an Economic Model
How to start a healthcare startup?
How can financial illiteracy harm you?
How cancer is developed - Cancer biology
How to define the Enterprise Value
How to conduct economic research?
How women can manage sexual harassment
How to use quotes in your news reports?
How news report can be strengthened through multimedia
History of silent cinema
How to use the audience’s feedback to write a news report
How Relativism Promotes Pluralism and Tolerance
Introduction to Urban Studies
Importance of dance in education
InMoov: how to build an open source humanoid robot
Importance of KYC verification to making the Blockchain secure
Importance of Rhythm
Importance of dance student evaluation
I/O control methods -types and explanations
Identity theft: what to do?
Introduction to Utilitarianism
Importance of 3d Modelling in Architecture
Importance of online journalism
Image processing in medical diagnosis
Introduction to USA Politics
Introduction to Comparative Politics
International Relations as a Major in Political Science
Importance of modern trade policy
Introduction to Journalism
Introduction to Writing a TV Script
Introduction of Microfabrication techniques
Introduction to Microeconomics
Interaction of Consumer and Firm Choices in Markets
Importance of corporate sustainability
Issues in International Monetary Macroeconomics
Introduction to Statistics and Data for Economics
Introduction to Data and Probability for Economics
Introduction to the Game Theory
Introduction to Econometrics
Introduction to Economic Information
Introduction to Market Equilibrium
Introduction to Economic Models and Application
Introduction to Empirical Research
Introduction to Econometric Data
Importance of Critical Thinking, Principles, and Goals
Introduction to Identification and Causal inferences
Introduction to Econometric Application
Intermediaries and Government in Financial Crisis
Importance and seven principles of quality management
Illiteracy in the USA
Introduction to Economics of Law
Introduction to Coase Theorem
Introduction to Social Choice and Incarceration
Intellectual Property and Product Liability
Investment in Human Capital
Introduction to Labor Markets
Imperfect Information in Insurance
Imperfect Information and Asymmetric Information
Introduction to Population Problems
The Looming Energy Crisis in America
Top benefits of performance-based engineering
The More Languages You Know, The More Times You Are a Man
Things to consider while writing an Argumentative Essay
Top Ways to Improve Your Academic Writing Skills
Tips to Excel in Creative Writing
The origins of films in the early 19th century
Top career options in Architecture
The Elevator Pitch
Top finance trends 2020
The basic Structure and functionality of robots
The Way to Success
The election system of the President in the United States of America
Two-party System in United States of America
Top trends in urban design
The history and theory of African American filmmaking
Top benefits of creative writing
Tinnitus Guide: Common Symptoms and Treatment Options
The language of dance
The digital image processing management
Top famous politicians of the World
Top methods of political science!
The history of the feminist movement
The blood flow in cardiovascular system - Biofluid Mechanics
The best of Leonardo Da Vinci
The Structure and Function of Macromolecules
The structure of cell: a research on the bricks of the human body!
Tissue and organ construction: Adhesion and recognition between cells
The kinetics of the transformation processes
The Modeling of Biological Systems
Tips for writing a great thesis statement
The Defense mechanisms against infections
The impact of the technological innovations in medicine
Top journalism trends to know about
The relation between mass media & politics
Theranostics: Diagnosis and Care through Nanoparticles
The practical Applications of X-rays
The applications of Ultrasound in medicine
Transfer mechanisms of genetic information in Bacteria
The regulation of cellular metabolism in the diagnosis
The Principles of MRI Contrast agents
The technical basis of optical coherence imaging
The New Media: Emerging Trends
The Structure of Interest Rates and the Yield Curve
Technological perspectives and reflections of neural engineering
Types of bioreactors and their applications
The Role of Government Policy in Improving Economic Outcomes
Types of corporate responsibility
The Role of IMF in International Monetary Macroeconomics
Tools for investment decision making
The concept of Organizational Culture and its applications
The Conduct of Monetary and Fiscal Policy
The Basics of Financial Accelerator Models
Tips for labeling medical devices- Medical Entrepreneurship
The different medical imaging techniques
The Economics of Uncertainty – Introduction
Theories of Public Policy
The Game Theory in Social Media
The political theory of Thomas Hobbes
The Use of Law on Economics and Vice Versa
The Role of Internal Audit in Corporate Risk Management
The Endosymbiotic Theory
The techniques of basic cinematography
The climate change denial
What is a Definition Essay?
What are diagnostic essays?
What is the relation between art structural engineering?
What is a Narrative Essay
What are robotics and intelligence systems?
What are the benefits of studying health sciences?
What is artificial intelligence and why it matters?
What is comparative Literature?
Why study neuroscience
What is Wi-Fi and how does it works
What is French history famous for?
What are Humanistic Studies?
What is covered in Biophysics?
What is modern journalism?
What is Virtualization? Benefits & Applications
What are modern public relations?
What is plasma physics?
What is teacher preparation?
What is rapid prototyping for 3D printing?
What is contemporary European Politics?
Why should you learn American Ballet?
What is engineering physics?
What is the purpose of African American Literature?
Ways to learn the Rhythm
What is digital art used for?
What are Enzymes and how do they work
Who is the father of political science?
Why Study Political Science - Job?
What is the Philosophy of Feminism?
What is a quantum computer?
Ways B2B Startups Streamline Their Conversion Strategies
Why do biomedical signals need processing?
What are the long term effects of climate change?
Why study labour relations
What is Holoprosencephaly?
What is antisocial disorder?
What are the important principles of evolution?
What is the cytoplasm and its function?
What is biopolymers?
What Makes a Good Leader
Women empowerment in modern generation
What is the history of political thought?
What is Gene recombination
What is synthetic biology
What is business cost analysis?
What is Inflation
What are the consequences of unemployment?
What is lithotripsy and its types?
What is transition elastography?
What is the purpose of deep brain stimulation?
What is a Brain-Computer Interface (BCI)
What is neuroethics?
What is Market and Supply and Demand
What is optogenetics?
What are the techniques to record brain activity?
What happens if the interest rate increases?
What is immunotherapy?
What is the economic role of the financial market?
What are the factors behind illegal immigration?
What is the lymphocyte activation?
What is financial market and its types?
What is the structure of financial markets?
What are the methods of measuring business performance?
What is the Credit market?
What is business ethics and code of ethics
What are the Causes of financial instability?
What is MBA with Concentrations
What is regenerative medicine?
What is Population ecology?
What is Microfinance: evolution, and practices?
What is biotechnology and its applications?
What are Workplace diversity and its benefits?
What is the difference between a leader and a manager?
What Is Branding and best branding Business strategies?
Why are microelectronics important?
What are biologic drugs.
What is the Foreign Exchange market?
What is the role of scientific research in times of crisis?
What are the risks of international trade?
What is financial management?
What is gene therapy?
What is education economics?
What is regression analysis, and why should you use it?
What Is Technology Marketing And How Should It Work?
What is Management Accounting
What are the methods of valuation of companies?
What is Immune System and Immunotherapy?
What is big data analytics?
What is the 7 layers of OSI model?
What is Neuroplasticity?
What are Sculpture art and its types?
What are the different genres of films?
What is Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)?
What is TES-Transcranial electrical stimulation?
What is Relativism?
What is Vaccine skepticism, and what to do about it?
What happens in the brain when learning?
What is the deep neural network?
What is Convolutional Neural Network
What are the linear models in machine learning?