This is a guest post for Silent London by Robyn Ludwig,. The Silents by Numbers strand celebrates some very personal top 10s by silent film enthusiasts and experts.
Gertie the Dinosaur (Winsor McCay, 1914)
Long before there was Bambi or Simba, there was Gertie. The simple ink dinosaur charmed vaudeville audiences with her feisty attitude, and she remains to this day a masterpiece of keyframe animation.
Humorous Phases of Funny Faces (J Stuart Blackton, 1906)
The first entirely animated film, Humorous Phases is a classic lightning sketch film, with chalkboard characters brought to life through stop-motion and cutout animation.
Felix in Hollywood (Otto Messmer, 1923)
Here the iconic kitty meets Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks and film censor William Hays, in the first cartoon to feature caricatures of Hollywood celebrities.
Fantasmagorie (Emile Cohl, 1908)
The morphing stick figure clown, inspired by Humorous Phases, is considered the earliest frame-by-frame hand-drawn animation.
Aschenputtel (Lotte Reiniger, 1922)
Reiniger’s elegant silhouette animation creates a surreal fairytale world that is both shadowy and sharp.