Berlin : Symphony of a Great City (1927) is showing again in London this weekend, but here is the FULL DOWNLOAD. It's also available on DVD, which is worth getting as it's a cleaner version with music, because this is a film that you can watch over and over again without getting bored - like a symphony! It's not a film in the usual sense of a narrative motion picture. Instead the very concept comes from abstract music. Multiple, diverse images are used like themes in music. They're layered and juxtaposed like musical ideas. The images are grouped in several main "movements" that as a whole follow a trajectory from morning to night. A snapshot of the life of the city. Please read my analysis of this wonderful work HERE, describing the structure and individual images some of which aren't readily obvious.
The idea of film as music wasn't unique, since early audiences were often more used to music than movies, and several early films unfold as "movements". The full title of Nosferatu is Nosferatu : eine synfonie des Grauens, "a symphony of horrors". This, too, is available in full download on this site. But Berlin : Die Sinfonie der Grossstadt develops the idea on a grand scale. Because it's abstract, much more detail is possible, and more possibilties of interpretation. Like music! The Director, Walter Ruttmann (1887-1941) also made experimental films, bypassing actors and plots. He used technolgy as a pa[nter might, exploring the possibilties of light, shadow and movement for their own sake. The process dictates the form. Please see one of Ruttmann's early Lichtspiele HERE. They were made in co-operation with Hanns Eisler, who wrote music to be played live as the films were screened. So again, the concept of music combined with film before the technology to make sound movies was even possible.
Plenty more on this site on earlty art film, Eisler, Weimar etc and many full downloads.