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Silent Movie History

               Silent Movie History Film Clips

The Career of Lilian Gish
(Rob Wagner's Script Magazine, 1942)

Attached is a decidedly "pro" Lilian Gish (1893 1993) article concerning the silent film actresses' meteoric rise under the direction of D.W. Griffith, her mediocrity when paired with other directors and her much appreciated march on Broadway.

"Lilian Gish is the damozel of Arthurian legend, tendered in terms of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Her heroines perpetually hover in filtered half-lights, linger in attitudes of romantical despair. They forever drift farther from reality than the dream, and no matter how humble their actual origins, the actress invariably weaves them of the dusk-blues, the dawn-golds of medieval tapestries."

Click here if you would like to read an article in which Lillian Gish recalls her part in "Birth of a Nation".

Click here to read articles about Marilyn Monroe.


WINGS: Directed by William Wellman (Life Magazine, 1927)

Appearing in an issue of [the old] Life Magazine, that was almost entirely devoted to the 1927 American Legion convention in Paris, was this Robert Sherwood review of the blockbuster silent film Wings. Directed by an American Air Corps veteran, William Wellman (1896 1975), Wings was the only silent film to win an Academy Award for Best Picture (at that time the category was titled "Most Outstanding Production").


One Thousand Nasty Remarks About Silent Films (The English Review, 1922)

A much admired theatrical set designer was the author of this column - he was devoted to his craft and believed deeply that movies could only lead society to the lowest place:

"The Drama in the Cinema is held to be made 'of the people, by the people, and for the people' It is really made by the new school of the same old tyrants, to enslave the mind of the people."


Geraldine Farrar on Acting in the Silent Movies (Vanity Fair, 1921)

In the attached article, Metropolitan Opera diva Geraldine Farrar (1882 - 1967) relays her experiences as a film actress in "The Hell Cat" (1918) and "The Turn of the Wheel" (1918), and boldly declares that there is a big difference between acting in an opera and acting for the screen (who knew?).

"There are a hundred intimate expressions of the eyes, the mouth, the hands, that can only be transmitted through the camera, and the strong and sometimes merciless light of the projection machine. And this is what the motion picture actress must clearly and everlastingly keep in mind: she is acting for an audience which is near enough to detect any insincerity of feeling or any sham in make-up."

Click here to read about physical perfection during the Golden Age of Hollywood.


Gloria Swanson: Hollywood Diva (Photoplay Magazine, 1930)

A segment from a slightly longer 1930 profile covering the high-life and Hollywood career of "La Belle Swanson". Written by actor and theater producer Harry Lang (1894 - 1953), the article concentrates on her triumphs during her lean years, her assorted marriages and her healthy fashion obsessions.

Click here to read about feminine conversations overheard in the best New York nightclubs of 1937.


Erich von Stroheim: an Immigrant's Story (Motion Picture Magazine, 1920)

Silent movie legend Erich von Stroheim (1885 1957) gave an account of his life and career in this 1920 interview printed in Motion Picture Magazine. The article touches upon von Stroheim's roll as producer for the movie "Blind Husbands" (1919), but primarily concentrates on his pre-Hollywood life and his disappointment with the "provincial" nature of American films.


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