Friday Drinking Game #33 – Silent Films

Firstly, drink up in style…

Silent movies demand some degree of class and elegance. Think pearls, gloves, eyeglasses, a trilby or two and an ostentatious moustache (not all at once!). Give the Charleston a whirl. And, most importantly, make like the 1920s and get hammered on a delectable Mint Julep. It’s basically mint leaves, Bourbon Whiskey, powdered sugar and a handful of ice all muddled up in a glass. Or a teacup, should you be buried deep within the clutches of the Prohibition. It’s easy-peasy. You can probably whisk one up whilst puffing on a ciggy and checking out the dame or dapper you’re carrying a torch for.

Oh yeah, we’ve got the lingo down pat. Aren’t we the cat’s meow?


Take one sip…

Whenever a woman gets tied to a train track

Have you seen The Hazards Of Helen? Poor Helen’s life is SO hazardous. She falls off things, she falls into things and, more often than not, she ends up falling into the hands of some dastardly man with a moustache. Even worse, he’s tied her to the train tracks and there is a train puffing steadily towards her. Why did Helen let this happen? Nobody knows. Perhaps her corsets restricted her breathing far too much to effectively knee the dastardly villain in the groin. She’ll probably just lay there, squirming and squealing soundlessly, until a man comes along to rescue her. Maybe make a toast to the Suffragettes…

Whenever a woman is hidden by an enormous hat

Practical? No. Nevertheless, we do love a good old scene-stealing hat here at BFF, so be sure to TOAST that dastardly piece of villainous millinery. Mmm, Mint Julep is scrummy, huh? Have another sip. May as well. Double the volume for the voluminous headgear!

Whenever you’re unsurprised to see Charlie Chaplin

Charlie Chaplin starred in, like, squillions of silent movies. Simply squillions of them. That’s a fact. He’s bound to pop up in at least two you’ve got lined up for this decadent film night you’ve got planned. At least two. So, every time you see him and don’t feel surprised, have a sip. For every time you ARE surprised, you must down your drink. Chaplin would want it that way.


Take two sips…

Whenever somebody twirls a moustache.

Oh my goodness, did you just spot a moustache twirler?! EVIL IS COMING! End of. Two sips are necessary to calm your nerves.

Whenever someone in the vicinity points out that nobody in the film is speaking

Either take two sips, to erase the idiocy from your mind, or clonk the fool over the head with the bottle of Bourbon Whiskey. That’ll shut them up. We’ve given you two options. Two. Don’t say we never treat you…

Whenever the humour stems from somebody falling down

Evolution: the gradual development of something, esp. from a simple to a more complex form.

Yup, in the good old days, falling down was the source of many merry guffaws at the picture house. Ho ho, they all said of One A.M, Charlie Chaplin has fallen over. And again. And again. How very hilarious. How very silly of him.

Absolutely trolleyed, isn’t he? Charlie’s had way too many Mint Juleps. Either way it’s hilarious, but, nowadays, we enjoy far more sophisticated forms of humour. Just think of all those excellent funnymen of the 21st century alone…

Oh. Oh bloody hell. Adam Sandler? Jesus Christ. Okay, when I’m wrong, I’m wrong. The Neanderthal has, in fact, DEVOLVED and returned to an amoeba-like state. Bring back Charlie Chaplin falling down on his trousers, for the love of all things holy!


Take three sips…

Whenever emotions are conveyed using a variety of shrugs

To be fair, it’s a silent world. There’s only so much emotion they can convey on that little wordy card. Instead of boring us all senseless with endless reading (bloody reading!), the silent film era has offered up the art of shrugging.

Check out the following Shrugs Of Power:

1) The Unhappy Shrug: a downward slump, accompanied by a morose expression

2) The Excited Shrug: a quick bobbing motion, oddly reminiscent of a Bollywood dance routine

3) The Confused Shrug: a slow upwards gesture, accompanied by right-angled elbows and palms turned towards the sky

So many shrugs. Can you make up an emotion-riddled shrug of your own? You CAN?! Well done you. You may have ANOTHER sip of your Mint Julep. How d’you like that Julep? Jule-icious!

Whenever the old-style acting is made awesome with old-style music

Don’t believe me? Check this out:

Er, yeah. By today’s standards, sure, The Phantom Of The Opera is purely an example of terribly OTT acting. Mary Philbin looks mildly surprised and then falls to her knees ever so s-l-o-w-l-y. But, when you’re lost in the moment, and the organ music is sending shivers of terror up your spine, it’s fine. It’s all completely fine. In fact, it’s pretty mesmerising. And just check out Lon Chaney’s painfully self-applied horror make-up! Painted eye sockets, wires pulling up the tip of his nose, enlarged nostrils AND jagged false teeth? This guy was dedicated to his craft. Recreate the ghastly deformed look of the Phantom for Halloween 2012 and see if YOU can handle it!

Whenever passion is conveyed with a hug

Slurpy screen kisses are SO lame and 2012. In the world of silence, it’s hugs that are sexy. Very sexy. You know what’s even sexier? When you press your cheeks against each other super hard, close your eyes, and really get INTO the moment. Look at Greta Garbo and John Gilbert, clenching in happiness. So much clenching HAS to be good for the soul. Don’t believe me? Try it. Try it this very second.

It feels good. Everything feels good now.

Whenever women get a bad rep

Sure, it was a long time before everyone had a sudden “burning” urge to dispose of their bras, but women really didn’t have it easy in the world of film. There were the clumsy damsels in distress, a la The Perils Of Pauline, the evil fallen women, a la Metropolis, and, more frequently, the mindless love interests. Strong heroines? Not so much. But then, in Flesh And The Devil, Greta Garbo starred as the adulteress wife who fell for her husband’s best friend. She began a clandestine affair (strong woman alert?) and manipulated her lovers accordingly (super strong woman alert?). And then she fell into an icy pond and died. The love rivals simply counted their blessings and formed a bromance Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson would KILL for.

Women suck, huh? Bloody she-devils.


Down that M.J and get absolutely spifflicated

Whenever something decidedly unsexy is sexy

The scenery is painted in, the gestures are exaggerated, the make-up is insane and the music is overpowering. And, worst of all, the undulating woman of Metropolis looks like an out-of-control puppet. Yet, oddly, you can’t look away…

Now that you’re full of tasty Mint Julep, you should really think about performing this dance yourself. It’ll entrance men and women alike, whipping them into a frenzy of desire, until the room is nothing but giant quivering eyes.


Silent films are glorious, aren’t they? So very glorious. Let us know how you enjoyed drinking in a noiseless and darkened room, will you? Bottoms up!

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