"For Sale: Baby shoes, never worn."
The six words are a "short story" attributed to Ernest Hemingway in a one-man play in 1996. They interpret no actual silent movie, but they illustrate how intertitles worked.
  Depending on their temperaments or talents or imaginations, directors of the 1920s preferred shadow and light to intertitles or used intertitles, as in The Thief of Bagdad (1924), to communicate key ideas of the story.  
  As here in the musical Sally (1929), the intertitle lingered into synch sound films. It was what the tweet now is—emotion heard in silence.  


Vilma Banky and Rudolph Valentino
"Did you tell her about love, travel, moonlight, Italy, that on the other side of the world the sea is phosphorescent, and that there are hummingbirds in flowers, and that you make love under gardenias beside water fountains?" Vilma Banky (left) and Rudolph Valentino (right) in The Son of the Sheik (1926). George Marion, Jr. wrote the titles.
In Sidonie Gabrielle Colette's novella Gigi, the great-aunt of a girl employs the words above to interrogate the girl's grandmother. An intertitle of the 1920's could whisper, joke, vituperate, explain, and, as in The Gaucho (1927), suggest. In a dynamic intertitle—like this from Grass (1925)—motion intimated meaning. In an art title, word wed image.
But as faux intertitles in a "movie," the words seem to emanate from another mind, your own. We do not "read" movie intertitles. We experience them, as we experience movies themselves. The best—like the imagist poetry of the 1920s—wasted not a syllable. And if no one on staff could hone your intertitles, intertitle specialists promised to produce and even write intertitles for you.
Picture these phrases as intertitles: The lost glove is happy. That undescribable something .... Georgina realized... Nancy...Alive in Paris!  
Picture this dialogue.
"What does it matter?  
  "I am going to see you again...often."
  "You are...very beautiful."
"You are very young."  
  "You know...when you blow out the match...that's an invitation to kiss you?"
Now view that dialogue as intertitles
in Flesh and the Devil (1926)



Read it. Learn it. Do it.
manuel orazzi intertitle cats
"Cleopatra spoke in their native tongue to the Syrians, the Hebrews, the Meads..."

You Did It Then: On Orazi’s backgrounds for L’Atalantide intertitles, “move” the meaning of the on-screen action in a set of “new” titles. Select fonts and title style consonant with Feyder’s orientalist aesthetic. Then, once you’ve got the hang of intertitling, write a new intertitle. Step-by-step instructions and Orazi backgrounds for intertitles are in the L'Atalantide intertitle below.

You Do It Now: Shoot your own silent scene with two performers. Shoot it however you want, including techniques you learned or practiced earlier, but make sure that no dialogue is audible. Make sure you can see the actors talking. (You will need this footage for a dubbing exercise later). Then, write intertitles. As long or short as you want.

manuel orazzi intertile desert spa
...the mysterious attraction of vast solitude