American Silent Film

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Da Capo Press, Incorporated, Aug 5, 2009 - Performing Arts - 472 pages
2 Reviews
Praised as the "best modern survey of the silent period" (New Republic), this indispensable history tells you everything you need to know about American silent film, from the nickelodeons in the early 1900s to the birth of the first "talkies" in the late 1920s. The author provides vivid descriptions of classic pictures such as The Birth of a Nation, Intolerance, Sunrise, The Covered Wagon, and Greed, and lucidly discusses their technical and artistic merits and weaknesses. He pays tribute to acknowledged masters like D. W. Griffith, Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, and Lillian and Dorothy Gish, but he also gives ample attention to previously neglected yet equally gifted actors and directors. In addition, the book covers individual genres, such as the comedy, western gangster, and spectacle, and explores such essential but little-understood subjects as art direction, production design, lighting and camera techniques, and the art of the subtitle. Intended for all scholars, students, and lovers of film, this fascinating book, which features over 150 film stills, provides a rich and comprehensive overview of this unforgettable era in film history.

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American silent film

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LJ's reviewer predicted this book was "bound to become the standard work on the period" (LJ 6/1/78), especially since it offers an in-depth look at "flickers" made prior to the 1920s boom that have ... Read full review

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It's a bit dated now as it was originally published in the 1970s. However, it is one of the very finest surveys of silent film available. Personally, I'd rank it second only to the stunning works of Kevin Brownlow.

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About the author (2009)

William K. Everson (1929–1996) was the author of The Art of W. C. Fields, Classics of the Horror Film, and The Western.

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