Communication in Silent Felix Films

First film, lots of text boxes. 1919

By 1922 fewer text boxes and more icons

As it develops they can represent emotion, story and plot with fewer and fewer words.

Not just African American racial stereotypes, but Japanese. Here he’s selling chairs to the Japanese because they sit on the floor.  Just a few words now but notice the evolution of the cat His features are more expressive, especially the eyes because it is actually the eyes that express emotion, the rest of the cat is used of course but the eyes are key.

felix icons above his head girl cat

question mark above felix

felix blackface pilot

Blackface pilot, compared to Uncle Tom’s Crabbin where you’re trading in more conventional racial stereotypes.

felix eye lines and question mark

here both eyesight lines and question mark

Clever sequence playing with the icons and moving them into reality. The exclamation mark becomes flesh.

felix seeing stars

Here his adversary is a european

felix adversary is a european

Felix given a key by a king

felix given a key by a king

“A Bright idea”

More playing with punctuation icons




About PaulVK

Husband, Father of 5, Pastor
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