The Motion Picure Academy split its Best Picture award for "1927-1928" between two movies released in 1927, and it gave its "1928-1929" prize to a film from 1929. So it never did get around to honoring 1928, a fine year for silent clowns, Soviet propaganda, and Poe adaptations:
1. There It Is Written and directed by Charley Bowers and Harold L. Muller
One of the strangest, funniest comedies of the '20s, or of any decade.
2. The Fall of the House of Usher Directed by Jean Epstein Written by Epstein and Luis Buñuel, from a story by Edgar Allan Poe
European surrealists do Poe.
3. The Fall of the House of Usher Directed by James Sibley Watson and Melville Webber Written by Watson and Webber, from a story by Edgar Allan Poe
The American version. Briefer and even more dreamlike than the French effort.
4. Speedy Directed by Ted Wilde Written by Al Boasberg, Albert DeMond, John Grey, Jay Howe, Lex Neal, Howard Emmett Rogers, and Paul Girard Smith, from a story by Grey, Howe, Neal, and Rogers
Baseball-crazy Harold Lloyd drives New York's last horse-drawn trolley. Is it possible to be nostalgic for another generation's nostalgia?
5. The Passion of Joan of Arc Directed by Carl Dreyer Written by Dreyer and Joseph Delteil
I'll steal from Ebert: "There is no scenery here, aside from walls and arches. Nothing was put in to look pretty. You do not leave discussing the costumes (although they are all authentic). The emphasis on the faces insists that these very people did what they did. Dreyer strips the church court of its ritual and righteousness and betrays its members as fleshy hypocrites in the pay of the British; their narrow eyes and mean mouths assault Joan's sanctity."
6. The Seashell and the Clergyman Directed by Germaine Dulac Written by Antonin Artaud
The movie that produced the British Board of Film Censors' most infamous judgment: "This film is so cryptic as to be almost meaningless. If there is a meaning, it is doubtless objectionable."
7. Arsenal Written and directed by Aleksandr Dovzhenko
It's supposed to be communist propaganda, but Dovzhenko, as always, has a more complicated political agenda. This was early in Stalin's reign, when it was still possible to get away with this.
8. October Directed by Sergei M. Eisenstein with Grigori Aleksandrov Written by Eisenstein and Aleksandrov, from a book by John Reed
Eisenstein, on the other hand, was a committed Bolshevik. But he ran into trouble with the Soviet authorities anyway: The aesthetic police didn't approve of his riveting montages—i.e., the reason we watch the picture today.
9. Steamboat Bill, Jr. Directed by Buster Keaton and Charles Reisner Written by Keaton and Carl Harbaugh