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Silent Movie History
Silent Movie History Film Clips
In 1923, FDR wrote a screenplay for a silent film; click here
to read about it.
|Hollywood Producer Jesse Lasky Defends the Movies (The North American Review , 1920)|
The famed silent film producer and founder of Jesse Lasky (1880 - 1958) Famous Players (later to be renamed Paramount Pictures) rebuts the claim that deep pockets of film producers are a threat to legitimate stage productions and that all the artisans employed to produce silent movies are third-rate.
Click here to read an article by Cecil B. DeMille.
*Watch Jesse Lasky on 'This is Your Life'
In Praise of Slapstick Comedy (Photoplay Magazine, 1914)
A reporter from PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE let all her eager readers in on the excitement from the glamorous set of the Essanay Film Manufacturing Company (Illinois) where the comedy, "Actor Finney's Finnish" (1914) was being shot.
The silent short was directed and performed by those who would be participating steadily during Hollywood's next thirty year spree: E. Mason Hopper (1885 - 1967), Director; Wallace Beery (1885 - 1949), leading man; Eddie Redway (1869 - 1919), co-star; Leo White (1882 - 1948), co-star; Bobbie Bolder (1859-1937) co-star, Ruth Hennesy (no dates), actress.
Etiquette in the Movies (Vanity Fair, 1915)
No doubt, this is one of the funniest pieces you are likely to find on the topic of acting and costuming in silent movies. It was written by Frederick Lewis Allen (1890 - 1954) and Frank Tuttle (1892-1963); both men approached the movies with the low expectations that were probably all too typical of theater lovers at that time. Frederick Lewis Allen is best remembered today as one of the better chroniclers of the Twenties and author of "Only Yesterday" (1931) while Frank Tuttle would find himself, in a few short years, directing movies in Hollywood. Tuttle was one of the few Directors who successfully made the jump from silent films to sound and continued working; at this writing, he was an Assistant Editor at Vanity Fair.
Blanche Sweet Interviewed (Motion Picture Magazine, 1916)
An interview with the silent film actress, Blanche Sweet (1895-1986) who, at that point in her career, had been a "photoplayer" (ie. an actor) for only six years. Prior to her contract with The Lasky Company, where she was obliged to perform at the time of this interview, she had toiled in the vineyards of such studios as Reliance and Biograph (where she was nick-named, "The Biograph Blonde"). Unlike her co-swells in that young industry, who liked to read and re-read their recent interviews from Motion Picture Magazine while loitering around the sets, we read that Blanche Sweet was very fond of reading Tennyson, Kipling and the novels of Edward Phillips Oppenheim (1866-1946). During the course of her career she had appeared in well over one hundred films.
Click here to read magazine articles about D.W. Griffith.
Click here to read articles about another Hollywood blonde: Marilyn Monroe.
*Watch a Blanche Sweet Film Clip*
Stage Productions Must Compete With Movies (Harper's Weekly, 1915)
A thoughtful look at all that stage productions have had to learn while competing for audiences with the early (and exciting) Hollywood film industry:
"There is no doubt that the moving picture was responsible for the disappearance of the second-class theatre devoted to traveling companies, giving lurid melodramas and plays of obvious sentiment [but] instead of taking a lesson from the history of this form of amusement, which it helped to kill, the moving picture theatre imited one of it's very worst features."
Fatty Arbuckle Has Something to Say... (Motion Picture News, 1919)
An interview with the famous silent film comedian,"Fatty" Arbuckle, as it appeared in a forgotten Hollywood trade magazine. Accompanying the interview are eight lines of biographical information pertaining to his Hollywood career as it stood in the year 1916. This short profile first appeared in "The Studio Directory of The Motion Picture News" and will serve to answer some of the questions readers might have concerning his career, before it took it's tragic turn.
If you would like to read about the films of the Thirties, click here.
Click here to read about physical perfection during the Golden Age of Hollywood.
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