From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
The idea of combining motion pictures with recorded sound is nearly as old as the motion picture itself, but because of the technical challenges involved, most films were silent before the late 1920s.
In reality, 'silent films' were almost never silent, but always accompanied by some kind of music, mostly live accompaniment by live piano. For example the very young Dmitri Shostakovich helped to make ends meet by playing the piano in a movie house and later went on to compose film scores for many silent films, including his debut The New Babylon.
Several filmmakers have paid homage to the comedies of the silent era, including Jacques Tati with his Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot (1953) and Mel Brooks with Silent Movie (1976). Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-Hsien's acclaimed drama Three Times (2005) is silent during its middle third, complete with intertitles; Stanley Tucci's The Impostors has an opening silent sequence in the style of early silent comedies. Brazilian filmmaker Renato Falcão's Margarette's Feast (2003) is silent. Writer / Director Michael Pleckaitis puts his own twist on the genre with Silent (2007). While not silent, the Mr. Bean TV show and movies have used the title character's non-talkative nature to create a similar style of humor.
- Ménilmontant (film), a 1926 silent film by Dimitri Kirsanoff
- Dr. Pyckle and Mr. Pryde
- Early horror films
- Laurel and Hardy
- German Expressionism
- Lost films
- Sound film