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Silent Movie History

               Silent Movie History Film Clips


Promoting Citizenship (Touchstone Magazine, 1920)

"To encourage the making and distributing of films that will promote faith in America, the Americanism Committee of the Motion Picture Industry was organized."

 

Will Hays Comes to Hollywood (The American Magazine, 1922)

This short notice is about Will Hays, an Elder in the Presbyterian Church, who was hired to be the conscience of the Dream Factory in 1922; he rode into Hollywood on the heels of a number of well-publicized scandals vowing to sober the place up. Widely believed to be a moral man, the Hays office was located in New York City - far from the ballyhoo of Hollywood. Hays' salary was paid by the producers and distributors in the movie business and although he promised to shame the film colony into making wholesome productions, he was also the paid apologist of the producers.

 

Tiresome Will Hays (Film Spectator, 1929)

When the silent film era had run it's course and the "talkies" were growing in popularity, Hollywood's honeymoon with Will Hays was long over. In 1929 Hays' association with Harry Sinclair of the Consolidated Oil Corporation was called into question by a number of Washington Senators. In 1924, Hays, the man who's reputation was supposed to be beyond reproach, performed poorly before a Senate committee when asked to explain his 1920 roll as the go-between who collected a $75,000.00 donation from Sinclair in order to fill the coffers of the Republican National Committee. There were allegations of dubious gifts in exchange for this service and the Hollywood community, which has no difficulty generating it's own scandals and needed no help from Will Hays, thank you very much, began to grumble. Various assorted unkind remarks concerning Will Hays were printed in this short article that appeared in a long forgotten Hollywood trade publication.

Click here if you would like to read about Will Hays and his 1922 arrival in Hollywood.

If you would like to read about the films of the 1930s, click here.

Click here to read a 1939 article about an alumni organization for the pioneers of silent films.

 

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."

 

Theda Bara: Sex Symbol (The Atlanta Georgian, 1917)

An enthusiastic review of the Hollywood silent film, The Tiger Woman (1917) starring the first (but not the last) female sex symbol of the silent era, Theda Bara (born Theodosia Burr Goodman; 1885-1955).

This very brief review will give you a sense of how uneasily many men must have sat in their chairs when she was pictured on screen.

"She is a very tigerish 'Tiger Woman' in this picture. Her heart, her soul, her finger tips, her eyelashes, her rounded arms, her heaving buzzum, all vibrate to a passion for pearls."

Theda Bara retired in 1926, having worked in forty-four films.

Click here to read articles about Marilyn Monroe.

 

The Rebellion of Theda Bara (Vanity Fair, 1919)

Disgusted with being remembered for only playing the role of vampires, Theda Bara wrote this piece where she listed several sound reasons as to why she would never play such a roll again:

"To me, there is nothing so quaintly naive as this inability of the moving picture public to disassociate the screen personality of a star from his or her own personality. I wonder what they think a Mack Sennett bathing girl must be like around the house".

 


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