Laila (Flicker Alley)
The films made at end of the silent era are a reminder of what was lost in the transition to sound. On the one hand is a mode of visual storytelling that elevated even the most generic films and, at its best, was grace incarnate, directed with stylistic invention and dramatic ingenuity, filled with communication by suggestion and gesture and metaphor. On the other is a production mode that allowed tremendous scope in location shooting and dramatic action. Simply put, you could take the camera anywhere you could haul the actors and equipment.
Admittedly, there isn’t much stylistic invention or cinematic elegance to Laila (1929), last great Norwegian epic of the silent era, but there is an elemental power from the film’s location shooting in the mountains of Norway. This is a film that could not be made in the sound era for a number of years due to the technical demands of the recording and synchronized sound equipment.