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Silent Film Books


LawrenceA
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I'm looking for recommendations on books to look for about the silent film era. I'm interested in films, actors & actresses, directors and producers, foreign and domestic. I know a lot about the silent comedy stars (Chaplin, Keaton, Lloyd), so I'm not as concerned about them as other aspects of the silent era.

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1. American Silent Film, by William K. Everson (a good overview of silent films)

2. Silent Movies, by Peter Kobel and the Library of Congress (a great coffee table book, filled with photos and posters from the Library of Congress

3. Silent Films, 1877 - 1996, by Robert Klepper (contains reviews of 646 silent films)

 

and these three, all available online from this site:

http://mediahistoryproject.org/

 

Classics of the Silent Screen, by Joe Franklin

A Pictorial History of the Silent Screen, by Daniel Blum

The First One Hundred Noted Men and Women of the Screen, by Carolyn Lowrey

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I thought of another one I have, called Navarro's Silent Film Guide, by Dan Novarro. It supposedly contains casts and plots for every silent film (5 reels or more) ever produced in the United States - over 9000. But that's not true; some films are not listed. Still, it's kind of like a Leonard Maltin guide, without actual reviews, except in a few cases. It makes a good reference book.

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The most renown primary resource book for the history of silent movies is Kevin Brownlow's The Parade's Gone By..., 1968.

 

Brownlow was able to connect with many of these silent film veterans before their death. So the book is an invaluable primary source for these kinds of interviews.

 

He also has worked to restore and preserve many of these silent movies. He was a key figure in the restoration and preservation of Abel Gance's Napoleon.

 

He was the first film preservationist to receive an honorary Academy Award.

 

Brownlow has also created a number of documentaries about the history of silent movies.

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Here are a couple you and others interested in slient films may find of interest:  SILENT MAGIC (Ivan Butler, Ungar Publishing, 1988) covers the whole era and is a great reference book; THE FILMS OF THE TWENTIES (Jerry Vermilye, Citadel Press, 1985) covers the entire decade so it includes early talkies.

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Seductive Cinema:  The Art of Silent Film (1994) by James Card, the co-founder of The George Eastman House of Photography, is the first book I bought (when newly published) when becoming seriously interested in silent film.  It's a great introduction to silents, with lots of nice photos interspersed throughout.  His having lived during the silent era gives this book a unique perspective.

 

Glad to see it's still available at Amazon at a reasonable price.

 

 

 
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The most renown primary resource book for the history of silent movies is Kevin Brownlow's The Parade's Gone By..., 1968.

 

Brownlow was able to connect with many of these silent film veterans before their death. So the book is an invaluable primary source for these kinds of interviews.

 

He also has worked to restore and preserve many of these silent movies. He was a key figure in the restoration and preservation of Abel Gance's Napoleon.

 

He was the first film preservationist to receive an honorary Academy Award.

 

Brownlow has also created a number of documentaries about the history of silent movies.

 

An absolutely amazing book!

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