➷ American Silent Film Free ➭ Author William K. Everson – Saudionline.co.uk

American Silent Film summary American Silent Film, series American Silent Film, book American Silent Film, pdf American Silent Film, American Silent Film cbe549701f 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 s To The Birth Of The First Talkies In The Late s The Author Provides Vivid Descriptions Of Classic Pictures Such As The Birth Of A Nation, Intolerance, Sunrise, The Covered Wagon, AndGreed, 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 Film Stills, Provides A Rich And Comprehensive Overview Of This Unforgettable Era In Film History


10 thoughts on “American Silent Film

  1. says:

    It s fair to say that I have mixed feelings on this book I disagree with a lot of what Everson has to say, I find his writing style annoying, and his personality self important and pompous That said, I have to admit that I purposely took on the book because I knew I d disagree with it and I wanted to see what arguments he d make Moreover, I have to admit that my thinking about silent film has been influenced and to some degree altered by his ideas, and I did learn a lot Sometimes, I even enjoyed the sections where Everson sharpens his poison pen against the people he doesn t like, because that kind of nastiness can be great fun to read.The key point on which I differ with Everson is D.W Griffith According to Everson, Griffith was the only genius that ever worked in silent movies, and anything that was worth seeing was either a deliberate or an accidental imitation of Griffith He refers to The Birth of a Nation as the full flowering of Griffith s art argues that it established movies as an international art and an international industry almost overnight p.78 His argument is not based on erroneous ideas that Birth of a Nation was the first film to include Griffith s film grammar for this he discusses the Biograph shorts and argues that Griffith perfected his art before making Birth, but that by putting all of his talents into an epic, big budget feature film, he broke through the wall that had kept film simple and un imaginative for twenty years, establishing it forever as a serious form of expression So far as content, he claims that the film s controversy is often artificially created and sustained 77 and has drowned out appreciation of its accomplishments He argues that the source, Thomas Dixon s The Clansman was far racist, and that Griffith dialed back some of that racism for the screen 85 , that the use of white men in blackface was standard practice at the time and necessary because Griffith didn t know enough African American actors 86 , and that Griffith s historical perspective was supported by legitimate historians in the period he made it He accuses the NAACP of harassing every showing of the film for over fifty years with letters indicating that the writers had never seen the film they were protesting so vehemently 83 While some of the above arguments are weak especially the defense of blackface , it is still overall far sophisticated and accurate than what many of Griffith s defenders will claim to this day Some people are still saying that Birth of a Nation was the first feature film not by a long shot and that it included the first instances of close ups, cross cutting, large scale battle sequences, and just about everything else Actually, very little about it is original, it just managed to be the first feature film including all of those elements that was widely seen in the United States, in part because the controversy it generated assured it press coverage Apart from this, the heroism of Griffith can in part be explained by the limitations of studying film history in the 1970s and before, before the video revolution made repeat viewings of older films easily accessible, and before efforts and technology to reclaim and restore films had begun in earnest In Everson s day, it was actually harder to study the early film period, and most of what was available was Griffith s movies, which contributed to making him seem important than he was Today, pretty much anyone can start a project to look at films from 100 years ago quite easily Century Film Project , and can see a much wider spectrum of what was available than Everson ever could Everson was unable to predict this, and hence he tended to be gloomy about the future of film history At several points in his book, he predicts that there will be relatively few new discoveries in the future, due to the fragility of nitrate originals and the increasing distance in time since their production Happily for film students today, he was completely wrong on this point The appendix on film scholarship serves as a good introduction to the strengths and weaknesses of the resources available at the time in general, which is of definite historical interest.That said, what I like about Everson is that he was among the first along with Kevin Brownlow to start taking silent movies seriously as their own form of art, distinct from the classic sound movies that followed them Prior to his work, film historians often dismissed the silent era as primitive or even handicapped by the lack of dialogue Everson proposed that we think of the silent film as an art form unto itself, as different to sound film as painting is to photography, and he was one of the first to suggest that silent film had achieved a level of art far in advance of where it would be in the early years of sound, in other words that the introduction of sound represented a serious setback for cinematography and artistry, one which took years to overcome His erudition on the films that were available for viewing at the time is enormous, and he introduced me to a number of directors and actors I had only vaguely heard about, or not at all, before reading his book On the whole, then, this book remains valuable, although I wouldn t really recommend it as a starting point for someone interested in silent movies A recent discussion would be a better starting point, saving Everson for a time when your ideas and opinions are already formed, when you will be less susceptible to some of his extreme positions.


  2. says:

    Dear God this guy likes D.W Griffith.And Birth of a Nation was definitely not racist.And female actors were treated better than male actors.Don t get me wrong, I knew I would be reading a book by a white university professor, so I had mentally prepared myself to read all of that, but god it was still a drag Which is a shame, because there is a lot of interesting information in this book, although sometimes it is hard to pin down I think this might be a book better suited to someone who s of a film scholar than me which, to be fair, is probably the audience it was written for I was hoping for a little detailed discussion of the technology side of silent films There lots of a sentences along the lines of, So and so made such and such film and it was brilliant because reason here because the technology was finally there to make it and I just wanted to scream, WHAT TECHNOLOGY PLEASE EXPLAIN TO ME HOW SOME OF THIS STUFF WORKS But to be fair to the author, this book did not promise extensive technological discussions, so I still got what it promised That said, I think a better understanding of the evolution of film technology would help the reader enjoy the information here .I started skimming pretty fast toward the end Past a certain point and this is probably not the author s fault, this is how this kind of book will almost always sound it just read like a very overexcited person explaining the plotlines of their top two hundred favourite movies It s not very interesting when a six year old does it, and it s not terribly interesting now.I am also disappointed that there wasn t a full list of all the movies referenced at the end, because I would have liked to copy that down for my own reference YouTube is great for a silent film fan There is the full index, but that s not quite the same thing Anyway, something that should be considered for future editions.


  3. says:

    It isn t easy writing a survey of a film Everson did an admirable job of trying to present the scope and innovation of silent film However, he often trips over himself in his conviction that D.W Griffith was the best of breed, and also in his prejudice against almost all film that has come since.It was difficult to teach using this book, since I had to clarify to the students why Everson was so adamant in his opinions and now reads some thirty years on as dated and narrow minded.


  4. says:

    Few people knew about American film history than William K Everson This survey of the art and industry of the silent film in the U.S is an exquisite historical artifact itself It brings that long ago and to some obscure period in American art and entertainment fully to life and makes one ready and willing to watch those great works of a different time I highly recommend this to anyone with an interest in film.


  5. says:

    3.5 A thorough survey of American silent film that, unavoidably perhaps, spends an awful lot of time doting on D.W Griffith Some interesting chapters on the financial side of the early film business and how title cards contributed to the decomposition of hundreds of prints Drier than Monument Valley in some chapters, but well worth reading.


  6. says:

    Movies and studios from silent era An historical perspective This is one of the best surveys of the movie industry from its beginnings that covers the entire silent era which spanned from 1905 to 1928 and then the talkie movies took over from silent movies The author discusses the work of great directors such as D.W Griffith, Frank Borzage, John Ford, Erich von Stroheim, Josef von Sternberg, and King Vidor The book also recognizes the work of performers such as Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Douglas Fairbanks Sr., Mary Pickford, Lillian Gish, Mae Marsh and numerous others The book also discusses the movies under categories such as comedies, Westerns, horror movies, gangster movies, love story and family dramas along with innovation and development in the areas of art direction, production, design, camera techniques and screen writing The book is incredibly informative for anyone interested in the history and archeology of early American cinema A brief summary is as follows The American movies flourish across the globe, and it all started in the wake of industrial revolution The industry was built on firm foundation and it evolved rapidly when the movie making was still a fantasy of few dreamers and artists in Europe This was before the first Nickelodeon opened in United States in 1905 When European countries were in the middle of war, the European movie businesses were badly hurt In sensing that the competition is minimized, American movie businesses were strengthened and lead over European movie industry was lengthened considerably This was the critical period when the American cinema achieved total mastery of the art of making movies, from screen writing to production and marketing of the product Directors like Griffith, Stroheim, and Flaherty, Murnau, and Welles were mainly responsible for the artistic progressions, and technical and artistic innovations They often used A stars like Rudolph Valentino, Mary Pickford, Colleen Moore, Clara Bow and Douglas Fairbanks for making box office hits The revenue generated helped for artistic experimentation and variety and creativity in Hollywood Many less known directors during the silent era also made impressive movies, but not often box office hits This list included William Seiter, Irvin Willat, Harry Pollard, and Emory Johnson In 1919 D.W Griffith, Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin and Mary Pickford formed United Artists to give themselves greater freedom in making movies and greater profits for their investments, which interested other investors to invest in movie business that helped Hollywood to grow at a faster rate Another key step Hollywood would take is to tap into European expertize during 1910s and 20s There was a strong presence of imported directors and actors actresses from the other side of the pond The early influences of Gustaf Molander, Ernst Lubitsch, Dmitri Buchovetski and F W Murnau in Hollywood were real and significant In fact much of the important names in Swedish movie business had moved to Hollywood including Greta Garbo resulting in complete collapse of the Swedish movie industry The comedy films have a rich history in Hollywood Hollywood greats such as Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Mack Sennett, Harold Lloyd and Laurel Hardy made great silent comedies But talkie films brought new talents like W C Fields It s a gift, Duck soup, Blessed event and Love me tonight are some of the finest comedies The ultimate end of silent era was evident in 1926 with the making of Don Juan and significantly The Jazz Singer in 1927.The silent industry was dying with much resistance from leading directors like Borzage, Ford, Stroheim, Sternberg, and King Vidor They thought that would lessen the commercial value of Hollywood movies in European market and it would also destroy the unique form of art Several leading actors and actresses supported that view Greta Garbo was the last holdout because she was afraid that her heavy Swedish accent will not be accepted by American audience Her last silent film Kiss was released in late 1929 The transition also kicked in pretty strongly with stage directors like James Whale, George Cukor, John Cromwell, and Rouben Mamoulian New performers from stage like James Cagney, Paul Muni, Humphrey Bogart, Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy made lasting impact on talkie movies Lubitsch s Trouble in Paradise and Mamoulian s Love me Tonight restored all the elegance of silent era, but several talkie movies of 1930 and 1931 also made strong showing in keeping the artistic forms of the silent movies It was at the end of 1931 that Hollywood holdouts realized that the end of silent era has just passed by This book contains a number of photographs about art direction, and still photographs of several stars of the silent days they are immaculate and rare pictures to treasure In the appendix section of the book, the author discusses several published books about the history of Hollywood, which are helpful for readers interested in American movie history This is a great book to read and it is highly recommended.


  7. says:

    William K Everson s book The American Silent Film is a good primer into the history of silent film A book one will gladly return to every so often It isn t perfect In this book, Everson is a bit given to being rather Griffith centric The attitude that Griffith was the only filmmaker during the silent era making films of any quality And somehow he seems a bit grudging to give any other filmmakers credit for creating anything to equal or even SURPASS Griffith He does give such credit, but it always seems to be with a sort of abject resignation Like, The Parade s Gone By, the book has dated in the thirty years since it was published, as films have come to light since then But, all in all a most valuable study.


  8. says:

    I ve read a lot of silent film books for the past ten years William K Everson s survey of the American silent film industry and art is still considered a good primer for newbies, but to be honest, I found the book quite dated and irritating.Firstly, yes, the common wisdom is right at least 70% of the book is DW Griffith worship Any time any other director is praised, Everson has to follow it up with, Naturally, X was very influenced by Griffith Secondly, Everson s writing voice is not engaging He s a bit pompous no, scratch that, VERY POMPOUS his description of Buster Keaton as some kind of elusive thing the audience has to get is just weird , with a holier than thou attitude that made me want to throw the book across the room several times.That said, his analysis of the late silent film period and the transition to talkies is pretty good And if you re interested in DW Griffith, well, then this will interest you, even if Everson s opinions sometimes come off as quite strange or even narrow minded.It s fascinating how Kevin Brownlow s THE PARADE S GONE BY is just so much less dated as a text, even though it came out in the 1960s as opposed to the 1970s But it s just so much better, with its multiple interviews with people who worked during the silent era and its enthusiastic history which comes off as far less dry and curmudgeonly than Everson s book As it is, I can only recommend this one to seasoned silent film buffs and not novices.


  9. says:

    While this provides a decent survey of the timeline of American silent film, and lots of really wonderful details a full chapter on title slide writing for example , the author spends so much time defending Griffith and Birth of a Nation that evening if you skip over the multiple chapters dedicated to Griffith s brilliance you can t get away from the author s defense of him and his work, since it s also infused in all the other chapters So I mean, read only if you want your history lesson to come with a heaping side course of wild logical fallacies defending Griffith and his work.


  10. says:

    According to his Wikipedia page, William K Everson led a very interesting life as a film critic, student, teacher, and This is the first book of his that I ve read, and it covers many different aspects of the silent film era the business, the distribution, the directors most prominently, D.W Griffith , the stars, the editing, the story lines, the subtitles, the set design, the locations, the technology, and of course, the films themselves A lot of interesting stuff Unfortunately, I ve only seen a small minority of the films Everson discusses, and that often made it hard to appreciate his points He offers many opinions on just about everything, and I enjoyed reading them even though I m not able to know if I agree or disagree with him.It was interesting to read accounts of Griffith that focus on his talent rather than his racism I m looking forward to watching Intolerance, which I have on my TiVo, and hope to one day see Birth of a Nation so that I can make my own judgment about Griffith Everson s book also introduced me to another Griffith film, Orphans of the Storm which sounded intriguing and which I also now hope to one day see There were times when I wanted to give this book four stars, but there were also a few stretches that came across, to me at least, as pretty dry so I ended up settling on three stars Although I find the silent era to be very interesting, I haven t seen nearly as many silent films as I d like I suspect that I d have given this book a higher rating if I had seen of the movies that Everson described.


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