The idea of making silent films is as old as the film industry itself. Even before the 1920s people were experimenting with ways to combine silent motion pictures with recorded sounds. Because of the technical challenges involved it took a generation to overcome the limitations of silent movies. Watching movies of the silent era today may disorient the audience due to cultural differences and peculiarities arising from the passage of time.
Playing in silent movies is rather a complicated task, relying on mimicry than actual acting. Body language is known to be a very essential part of acting for the reason it could give the audience a better understanding of the silent movies actors` feelings and emotions.
It's common knowledge that there are a lot of silent movie actors known about by the majority of people all around the world. Among them - Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. One of the most famous actors in Hollywood's golden age was, no doubt, Charlie Chaplin. He was not only an able actor, but also a notable director. He was one of the most outstanding and bright personalities among all known silent movie actors. His career started in 1894 when he first debuted in the music hall and sang a song. Later, he performed as a newspaper boy in Sherlock Holmes.
The first film where Charlie acted was called "Making a living" (January 1914). Unfortunately, his professional success was repeatedly overshadowed by some situations in his private life, his politics and style of relationship with young women. Chaplin died in 1977 in Switzerland, but the memory about this actor's talents and amazing performance is alive. As a matter of fact, in 1978 his body was stolen for the purpose of extorting money from the Chaplain estate. But this plot failed. Eleven weeks later the body was recovered.
It is worth admitting the honors Charlie Chaplin had got for his life. First, he had a star of Hollywood walk of fame. In 1992 the film regarding his life and place among well-known silent movie actors appeared. It was directed by the Oscar-winner Richard Attenborough. In 2005, Charlie Chaplin was estimated as one of the top 20 greatest silent movie actors and comedy insiders.
Speaking about Buster Keaton it's impossible not to mention that this silent movie actor was influential and popular both in America and many other countries of the world. He was not only a comic actor, but also a gifted filmmaker. What distinguishes him from other silent movie actors is his nickname "the great stone face" given to Buster for the reason he had stoic and even deadpan expression on the face at all times, regardless of the situation he was in. Being a film director, Buster Keaton made a great contribution to the development of film making as an art form.
Buster`s movie career began in 1917 as a gag-man and co-star. He began to work with Fatty Arbuckle, at the Talmage Studios and later became very close friends with him. Then he performed in several two-reel comedies, including "One week" (1920), "Cops" (1920), and "The play house" (1921). The success was great and after this Buster graduated to full-length features. He was then considered to be the third after such popular silent movie actors as Charlie Chaplin and Harold Lloyd.