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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.

''Film Cannot Be 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...


''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."


''Movies & Myths As Seen by an Insider'' (Literary Digest, 1921)

This writer, Banjamin B. Hampton (1875 - 1932), having heard so much hokum about Hollywood, decided to write an article about all he knew about the place - he was a film director and a producer, so he knew plenty. He was especially irked by the number of young women who arrived at the dream factory each month only to be bamboozled and find themselves on the street before too long.


Fast Facts About Hollywood Silent Movies ('47 Magazine, 1947)

A really quick, informative read that will let you know a whole bunch about the earliest days of Hollywood silent film production:

Silent film production companies averaged three movies per week.
• A good salary for an early Hollywood silent film executive was $50.00 per week
Silent film extras were paid 1.50 per day.
• There were no stunt doubles.
• The average silent film director was paid $150.00 per week.
• A big-budget production was one that cost $500.00.
Silent film directors would talk continuously during shooting.

- and much more.

Click here to read articles about Marilyn Monroe.


Son of ''Fast Facts'' ('47 Magazine, 1947)

To be sure, the motion pictures that Hollywood produced during the late teens were very "self-conscious, but they were beginning to develop smartness... Los Angeles and its environs were crowded with new motion picture companies. The American Film Company, the Vitagraph Company, the Universal Company Christie Comedies and Selig found competitors springing up like weeds after rain: the demand for flickers was enjoying its first boom."


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.)

Read a 1951 profile of a future First Lady: the young Nancy Reagan.


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