1923 Movies

If you're a movie buff and love to explore the history of cinema, you'll be glad to know that the Plex database is an excellent resource for movies released in 1923. We've gone the extra mile to compile a webpage that includes links to the best films from that year, making it easy and efficient for you to access these cinematic gems.
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Browse 301 titles in our 1923 Movies Database

The Best Movies in 1923

Safety Last!

Fred C. Newmeyer and Sam Taylor's "Safety Last!" emerged as a standout action-comedy, making Harold Lloyd an icon of silent film comedy. In this entertaining venture, Lloyd portrays a small-town boy who relocates to the city with big dreams of success to marry his sweetheart. The film culminates in a heart-stopping climax featuring Lloyd's perilous climb up a twelve-story building. This scene has since become one of the most enduring images in film history, showcasing remarkable physical comedy and stunt work that remains impressive by today's standards.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Directed by Wallace Worsley, "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" provided audiences with a stirring drama/horror adaptation of Victor Hugo's classic novel. The film features Lon Chaney in a transformative role as Quasimodo, the titular hunchback who harbors feelings for a gypsy dancer in 15th-century Paris. Chaney's performance, coupled with the film's atmospheric setting and poignant storytelling, has cemented this adaptation as a timeless piece of cinema history.

The Ten Commandments

Cecil B. DeMille's "The Ten Commandments" stood out as one of the highest-grossing films of 1923, known for its grand narrative and epic scope. This drama retells the biblical story of Moses leading the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage. DeMille's ambitious direction and the film's large-scale production values were groundbreaking, showcasing pioneering special effects and set designs that brought the ancient world to life with unprecedented grandeur.

Our Hospitality

In "Our Hospitality," directors John G. Blystone and Buster Keaton crafted a unique blend of comedy, romance, and thriller. Buster Keaton stars as a young man who returns to his Appalachian roots, only to fall for a woman from a family sworn to eliminate his lineage. The film stands out for its inventive comedic sequences, executed with Keaton's trademark stoic demeanor and physical agility. Beyond its humor, the film incorporates elements of suspense and romance, making it a multifarious cinematic experience.

The Covered Wagon

James Cruze's "The Covered Wagon" played a pivotal role in defining the Western genre. This adventure/romance film details the perilous journey of pioneers venturing West in search of new beginnings. With its authentic portrayal of the pioneer life of the American frontier, "The Covered Wagon" offered audiences a glimpse into the nation's past. The film's commitment to realism—through the use of actual wagon trains and expansive outdoor scenes—set new standards for cinematic storytelling within its genre.

Film & Industry Highlights of 1923

The Debut of Marlene Dietrich and Significant Losses

This year witnessed the debut of Marlene Dietrich in "Der Mensche am Wege," an influential event that would lead to her becoming one of cinema's most iconic figures. However, this period was also marked by the loss of notable personalities such as Wallace Reid and Sarah Bernhardt. Reid's death particularly underscored the pressing issues surrounding the pressures and lifestyle in the film industry, while Bernhardt's passing represented the end of an era for theatrical pioneers transitioning into film.

Technological Innovations: Phonofilm

A technological leap occurred with the development of Phonofilm by Lee de Forest and Theodore Case. This optical sound-on-film system allowed for sound to be recorded directly onto the film strip, a critical step towards the creation of "talkies." Motion Picture News, the film industry's trade journal, provided in-depth coverage of these advancements, highlighting the transition towards sound in cinema. This innovation opened new avenues for storytelling and performance, gradually transforming audience expectations and experiences.

The Construction of the Hollywood Sign

In the same year, the construction of the iconic Hollywood sign symbolized the burgeoning influence of the film industry. Initially erected as an advertisement for a local real estate development, the sign quickly became an emblem of the emerging entertainment capital of the world. The establishment of major studios, including Warner Bros., further cemented Hollywood's status as the hub of film production. These studios played a critical role in the industry's expansion, introducing a new era of filmmaking characterized by increased scale and ambition.

Pioneering Films and the Rise of Silent Comedians

1923 was a banner year for film releases, with notable outputs such as Harold Lloyd's "Safety Last!" and Cecil B. DeMille's "The Ten Commandments." These films showcased remarkable technical and narrative creativity, pushing the boundaries of what was possible in cinema. "Safety Last!", with its famous clock tower stunt, became a defining moment for silent film comedy, demonstrating the genre's potential for both humor and high stakes. Meanwhile, "The Ten Commandments" illustrated the epic scope and spectacle that filmmakers could achieve, setting a precedent for future productions.

The era also celebrated the contributions of silent film comedians, as evidenced by the dedication of the Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd Alley in Hollywood. This tribute to Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and Harold Lloyd highlighted the critical role these artists played in the development of cinematic comedy. Their innovative work laid the groundwork for future generations of comedians and filmmakers, proving that silent films could convey complex emotions and narratives without the need for spoken dialogue.

The Foundation of Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio

Another monumental event was the foundation of the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio by Walt and Roy Disney. While still in its early stages, the establishment of this studio signified a turning point in the animation industry. The Disney's vision and creativity would eventually revolutionize animated films, introducing a new form of storytelling that captivated audiences worldwide.