If there’s three things everybody should know about the Oscar front-runner The Artist, it’s these: the movie’s excellent, it’s in black and white and it’s silent. Or so you’d think.
The Telegraph is reporting that some moviegoers in Liverpool, England have requested refunds from Michel Hazanavicius’s paean to Hollywood’s golden age — because they didn’t know the film was silent.
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A spokesperson for Odeon Liverpool One confirmed that the movie hadn’t gone down particularly well with everybody who’s gone to see it. “Odeon Liverpool One can confirm it has issued a small number of refunds to guests who were unaware that The Artist was a silent film,” said the spokesperson, who went on to intriguingly state that, “The cinema is happy to offer guests a refund on their film choice if they raise concern with a member of staff within 10 minutes of the film starting.”
The Telegraph spoke to film-fan Nicola Shearer, 25, who revealed that she was asked by staff at the Odeon if she knew “it is a silent film.” When asking why, Shearer was told, “some people complained and asked for refunds because there is no sound and the screen is smaller.” (The reduced screen size was also intended as a homage to the silent films of the early 20th Century).
It seems incredible in this day and age that people don’t know the basic premise of the films they’re paying good money to see. And in our humble opinion, the story of fading film star George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) having to come to terms with his industry turning to the talkies, as personified by the rising star, young dancer Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo) is well worthy of your consideration.
Ironically, there is the odd moment of sound in The Artist, which is made all the more powerful precisely because of the silence that pervades most of the film. But that will have literally been lost on anyone who walked out early on. There’s nothing more to be said: we’re speechless.