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Silent Movie History

               Silent Movie History Film Clips

From Amazon: Hollywood Unknowns: A History of Extras, Bit Players, and Stand-Ins

In 1923, FDR wrote a screenplay for a silent film; click here to read about it.

Farina (Hollywood Vagabond, 1927)

Attached is a glowing review that praises the dramatic talents of a seven-year-old boy: Allen Clayton Hoskins (aka, "Farina") - one of the few African-Americans to have been chosen to perform in the ensemble cast that made up the "Our Gang" comedies.

"One of the most gifted thespians in the silent drama is Farina, the negro child actor whose facile expression has created no end of comment... Placed in the midst of a group of children, all of whom have been tutored over a period of several years in the intricacies of and politics of photoplay acting, Farina has created a high standard of achievement... this troupin' Nubian has given the others of the gang plenty to aim at in the form of a thespic target."


The Frenzy for Rudolph Valentino (Coronet Magazine, 1951)

Even as late as 1951, those eccentric little movie theaters that ran only thirty year-old flicks filled their seats with middle-aged women who still nursed a flame for Rudolph Valentino (1895 – 1926); their beau ideal from the mad Twenties who so many imagined to have been "the perfect lover.


IT IS NOT ART (The Dial Magazine, 1927)

In this article, a 1920s critic forthrightly states that the primitive state of movie cameras renders them unfit as capable tools with which art can be created. He expands on his remarks by pointing out that 1920s film technology generally will never be able to render thought-provoking plots or articulate narratives until some necessary advancements are made in the field.

Another anti-silent film article can be read here...

-an additional article from the 1920s defaming silent film can be read here...


The Birth of Hollywood Filmmaking (America, 1932)

2013 Anno Domini marked the 100th anniversary of the Hollywood film industry. With this in mind it is entirely fitting and proper that we post this thumbnail history that outlines how it all got rolling, as told by the jaded Robert Sherwood, an early film critic who witnessed much of it (although he incorrectly dated the first Hollywood feature film to 1912).

"Hollywood history begins with four men: Jesse Lasky, Cecil B. DeMille, Dustin Farnum and a silent film called "The Squaw Man"...

(The fourth name in Sherwood's list was that of Samuel Goldwyn - who, in fact, had nothing to do with the production, but whose name in Hollywood had such staying power it seemed difficult to imagine that he didn't.)


''Youth, the Spirit of the Movies'' (Illustrated World, 1921)

Screen director D.W. Griffith declared in this article that youthful, energetic performers and writers are needed in the young and vigorous film industry of the Twenties:

"We need youth because the most successful screen stars are not harassed by the technique of the older stage and the requirements of the newer art are very largely different. So a new kind of actor has come to be—the screen actor—just as a new kind of writer is coming to be—the screen-writer. But that isn’t all!... An audience loves a sweet and kindly face on the screen as in life. The surest guide in the world to lead us out of our daily troubles is a little star who is sweet and gentle and kind, like youth with all its yearnings and simplicity."


''The Biggest Laugh in the History of Silent Film'' (Coronet Magazine, 1959)

"The longest, loudest laugh in movie history exploded in theaters all over the world in 1920. That colossal, eruptive, cumulative bellow of laughter closed a two reel silent comedy called HARD LUCK, starring that master of slapstick and deadpan pantomime, Buster Keaton."



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