Silent film rentals rocket by 40 per cent

Rentals of classic black-and-white silent films from LOVEFiLM have almost doubled since the success of the Oscar winning movie, The Artist.

According to the film rental company, some silent titles have tripled in popularity following the Oscar ceremony this week, where The Artist took home five awards.

The online and postal film rental service, revealed that Neighbours, The Playhouse and Our Hospitality were three of the most popular silent movies which were rented ahead of Sunday night’s awards show.

Neighbours sees two young lovers, who are desperate to see each other but are separated by a garden fence, as well as their feuding families. The 1920 film, starring Virginia Fox and Buster Keaton, is a slapstick comedy, which was written and directed by Keaton himself.

The Playhouse, which also features Keaton, is famous for its opening scene in which Keaton takes the role of everyone in a theatre simultaneously.

The third movie to triple in rentals from LOVEFILM was Our Hospitality. The 1923 Keaton production sees a man fall in love with a young woman, however, their families are enemies and vow to kill each other.

Other popular rentals this week have been Go West, A Fool There Was, 7th Heaven, Our Gang, Phantom Carriage, Son of the Sheikh and City Girl.

The Artist, starring Bérénice Bejo (A Knight’s Tale) as rising star Peppy Miller and Jean Dujardin (Cash, If I Were A Rich Man) as George Valentin, was the big winner alongside Hugo at the Oscars, taking home five awards including Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Director. It also won seven awards, including Best Film, Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay at the 65th British Academy Film Awards.

The Telegraph reported that Helen Cowley, editor of LOVEFiLM, said: “It is great to see the silent era of film getting a boost from the success of The Artist and it is clear that film fans are looking to old classics for modern entertainment.”

If you’re interested in seeing a Buster Keaton classic, but don’t have LOVEFiLM, you can see one of his last films, Railrodder at the National Film Board of Canada site for free.

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