Apparently, there was a lot of wind in early movies. Why were they all so windy?
The question is asked by almost every one who has been bitten by the bug of the moving picture show. It is a fact that in every scene where there’s half a chance of getting up a breeze it blows a tornado, or at least a brisk gale disports itself in the trees in the background and the skirts of the harassed heroine in the front.
A moving picture man solved the problem.
“That’s easy,” he replied in answer to a query. “If the pictures were taken when the air was perfectly still, then if the living characters happened to be still also the picture would be as dead looking at a 35-cent chromo of ‘Twilight.’ So a time is selected for photographing the scenes outside when the wind is playing old hob with things generally, trees swaying, and skirts fluttering and hair flying — haven’t you ever noticed how much more effective a woman is when her hair is streaming behind her like the burgee on a racing yacht?”
For a classic example of strong wind in silent film, jump to the 55 minute mark in Buster Keaton’s Steamboat Bill, Jr.(1928) and watch to the end.
WIND IN THE MOVING PICTURES (PDF)
From March 5, 1911