Radicalism in American Silent Films, 1909-1929: A Filmography and History

Overview

This work identifies 436 American silent films released between 1909 and 1929 that engaged the issues of militant labor and revolutionary radicalism. It begins with an extended introduction and analytical chapters that investigate the ways in which the American motion picture industry portrayed the interrelationships between labor radicals, exploitative capitalists, socialist idealists and Bolsheviks during this critical twenty-year period.

Each entry contains a detailed plot ...

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About the Book This work identifies 436 American silent films released between 1909 and 1929 that engaged the issues of militant labor and revolutionary radicalism. It begins ... with an extended introduction and analytical chapters that investigate the ways in which the American motion picture industry portrayed the interrelationships between labor radicals, exploitative capitalists, socialist idealists and Bolsheviks during this critical twenty-year period. Each entry contains a detailed plot synopsis, citations to primary sources, coding indicating the presence or absence of 14 predominant discernible biases (including anti- and pro-capitalism, socialism, revolution and labor), and subject coding keyed to 64 related terms and concepts (including agitators, Bolshevism, bombs, female radicals, militias, mobs, political refugees, and strikes). These statistical data included in the filmography are presented in a series of charts and are fully integrated into the historical-critical text. Total number and percentage statistics for the instances of these coded biases and traits are given per year, per era, and overall. Read more Show Less

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Overview

This work identifies 436 American silent films released between 1909 and 1929 that engaged the issues of militant labor and revolutionary radicalism. It begins with an extended introduction and analytical chapters that investigate the ways in which the American motion picture industry portrayed the interrelationships between labor radicals, exploitative capitalists, socialist idealists and Bolsheviks during this critical twenty-year period.

Each entry contains a detailed plot synopsis, citations to primary sources, coding indicating the presence or absence of 14 predominant discernible biases (including anti- and pro-capitalism, socialism, revolution and labor), and subject coding keyed to 64 related terms and concepts (including agitators, Bolshevism, bombs, female radicals, militias, mobs, political refugees, and strikes). These statistical data included in the filmography are presented in a series of charts and are fully integrated into the historical-critical text. Total number and percentage statistics for the instances of these coded biases and traits are given per year, per era, and overall.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Choice
A stunning achievement
ARBA
Fascinating...will be of value
Choice
...a stunning achievement...
ARBA
...fascinating...will be of value...
Library Journal
Shull (Hollywood War Films: 1937-1945) reworked his thesis for this volume. Of the 20-year period studied, he argues that films made prior to a post-World War I Communist scare often evinced sympathy for liberal causes, while the medium was consistently unfriendly to radicalism after 1918. This painstakingly researched book contains an extensive bibliography and index, as well as a comprehensive filmography with standard production information for individual, thematically coded entries and vital information about surviving film prints and their location. The unique study is valuable for its inclusion of all silent films that have radical themes beyond those films that physically survive. Unfortunately, the often verbose writing style (as in "Its essence centered around an unambiguous linear narrative plot whose development and ineluctable socially positive resolution ") is a distraction. Recommended for large public and academic libraries.--Bruce Henson, Georgia Technical Lib. & Information Ctr., Atlanta Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
Booknews
From the Progressive Era (1909-17), through the Red Scare (1918- 20) and the "white flight from the Red hordes to America" (1921- 29), the author of other studies of the political themes of American films compiles a filmography with a unique statistical database coded by predominant biases based on a content analysis of 436 American silent films portraying the radical left or militant labor activities. The introduction and three analytical chapters focus on their mixed messages about class and radicalism. Appends selected foreign films released in the US (1909-15), topical American shorts (1918-20), and fictional shorts (1921-27). Illustrations include movie scenes and ads. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786442478
  • Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/4/2011
  • Series: Performing Arts/Film/Silent
  • Pages: 381
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Film historian and media propaganda specialist Michael S. Shull currently teaches film history at George Washington University and teaches mass communications at Montgomery College (both in the Washington, D.C., area). He lives in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Preface 1
Introduction: Red-Tinted Flickers of History 5
Ch. 1 A Red Blur: The Mixed Message on Class and Radicalism in Progressive Era Films, 1909-1917 21
Ch. 2 The Red Scourge on Film: Form Wartime Xenophobia to Being in the Vanguard of Anti-Bolshevik Hysteria, 1918-1920 71
Ch. 3 From the East to the East Side: White Flight from the Red Hordes to America, 1921-1929 111
About the Filmography
How to Read the Filmography 139
Glossary of Coding Terms 140
Yearly Film Totals, 1909-1929 144
Coding Statistics, 1909-1917 144
Coding Statistics, 1918-1920 146
Coding Statistics, 1921-1929 147
Coding Totals, 1909-1929 148
Predominant Discernible Biases, 1909-1917 149
Predominant Discernible Biases, 1918-1920 149
Predominant Discernible Biases, 1921-1929 150
Predominant Discernible Biases: Totals, 1909-1929 150
The Filmography 151
App. 1 Selected Foreign Films Released in the United States 1909-1915 283
App. 2 Topical American Shorts, with Coding, 1918-1920 287
App. 3 Selected American Fictional Shorts, 1921-1927 293
Notes 297
Bibliography 319
Index 333
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