Janet Gaynor

The silent treatment

The silent treatment

A scene from Ernst Lubitsch’s “So This is Paris,” of which only 10 minutes of films remains.
MoMA has been running a phenomenal program of silent films for the last two years, giving audiences a comprehensive look at the birth of cinema. But in case you missed out on two years of investigating the careers of the era’s most innovative directors, MoMA has put together a ‘best of’ before they switch over to talkies.

SUNRISE: A Song of Two Humans

SUNRISE: A Song of Two Humans

When F.W. Murnau and screenwriter Carl Mayer set out to make their very first Hollywood picture they were given an almost unlimited budget and complete artistic freedom. The result is SUNRISE (1927), one of only a handful of silent pictures without titles (or nearly without them). One of the wisest uses of that budget was hiring Janet Gaynor, one of the biggest names of the time and also one of the few actresses able to retain her star status even after she made the move from silent films to talkies. Her expressions say more than titles ever could have and transform the movie into something more like a visual poem.