George Valentin (think Clark Gable) is a megastar of silent films when he meets wannabe starlet Peppy Miller on the set of his latest action caper. There’s a spark between them but George is already married, albeit to a woman who’s as cheery as a hooked trout. They go their separate ways: Peppy to stardom with the arrival of the talkies, George to obscurity, poverty and divorce as he fails to adapt.
This is a (99%) silent film, in black and white. It’s well done, but only really of interest to people who’ve never seen silent films – or previous versions of this same plot – before. You can convey a lot of information through setting and body language, but nothing too subtle. That’s why they don’t make silent films anymore – or at least, not since Mel Brooks’ silly but more entertaining Silent Movie (1976). 7/10
Released February 2, 2012.