Silent Movies: The Birth of Film and the Triumph of Movie Culture

Overview

A gorgeous, lavish history of silent movies - with more than 400 amazing images - captures the birth of film and icons like Chaplin, Garbo, Clara Bow, and Valentino.


Drawing on the extraordinary collection of The Library of Congress, one of the greatest repositories for silent film and memorabilia, Peter Kobel has created the definitive visual history of silent film. From its birth in the 1890s, with the ...

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Silent Movies: The Birth of Film and the Triumph of Movie Culture

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Overview

A gorgeous, lavish history of silent movies - with more than 400 amazing images - captures the birth of film and icons like Chaplin, Garbo, Clara Bow, and Valentino.


Drawing on the extraordinary collection of The Library of Congress, one of the greatest repositories for silent film and memorabilia, Peter Kobel has created the definitive visual history of silent film. From its birth in the 1890s, with the earliest narrative shorts, through the brilliant full-length features of the 1920s, SILENT MOVIES captures the greatest directors and actors and their immortal films. SILENT MOVIES also looks at the technology of early film, the use of color photography, and the restoration work being spearheaded by some of Hollywood's most important directors, such as Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola.
Richly illustrated from the Library of Congress's extensive collection of posters, paper prints, film stills, and memorabilia-most of which have never been in print-SILENT MOVIES is an important work of history that will also be a sought-after gift book for all lovers of film.

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Editorial Reviews

San Francisco Chronicle
"If you ever wondered why film buffs get weak in the knees about the movies made before talkies, this book can help you understand. . . . it is beautifully designed with a dazzling array of movie stills, posters and promo material drawn from the Library of Congress' memorabilia collection."
New York Daily News
"The definitive visual history of silent film."
Los Angeles Times
"A handsomely designed and illustrated pictorial history of the voiceless cinema."
Washington Post Express
"A ravishing, oversize, million-pound study of the silent movie era, not just its films, but its promotion, its culture and the way these movies changed how we think about the world."
Encore magazine
"Kobel has lovingly detailed this world-from the zany publicity campaigns to the lavish scripts to the decadent star lifestyles. SILENT MOVIES is an essential addition to any film or design lover's library."
The New York Times
Spectacular.
Joe Morgenstern
This isn't a coffee table book, though any coffee table would be lucky to be graced by it. The excellent text manages the trick of being exhaustive without being exhausting, while the photos—and stills, and posters, and lobby cards—are enchanting.

Wall Street Journal Online
Joe Morgenstern - Wall Street Journal Online
This isn't a coffee table book, though any coffee table would be lucky to be graced by it. The excellent text manages the trick of being exhaustive without being exhausting, while the photos--and stills, and posters, and lobby cards--are enchanting.
From the Publisher
"If you ever wondered why film buffs get weak in the knees about the movies made before talkies, this book can help you understand. . . . it is beautifully designed with a dazzling array of movie stills, posters and promo material drawn from the Library of Congress' memorabilia collection."
San Francisco Chronicle

"The definitive visual history of silent film."
New York Daily News

"A handsomely designed and illustrated pictorial history of the voiceless cinema."
Los Angeles Times

"A ravishing, oversize, million-pound study of the silent movie era, not just its films, but its promotion, its culture and the way these movies changed how we think about the world."
Washington Post Express

"Kobel has lovingly detailed this world-from the zany publicity campaigns to the lavish scripts to the decadent star lifestyles. SILENT MOVIES is an essential addition to any film or design lover's library."
Encore magazine

Spectacular.
The New York Times

This isn't a coffee table book, though any coffee table would be lucky to be graced by it. The excellent text manages the trick of being exhaustive without being exhausting, while the photos—and stills, and posters, and lobby cards—are enchanting.
Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal Online

Library Journal

The afterword from the Library of Congress (LC) says this book's purpose is "to increase the visibility of its film collections." It does that. But as a primer on the history and glories of film's silent era, it fails. Journalist Kobel's text is shallow, disorganized, and full of errors, including those of omission and internal contradiction. A photo caption calls Theda Bara "the screen's first star," but the book's spotty A-to-Z section on "The Stars" doesn't include her, also leaving out all of silent film's geniuses of comedy (who receive insufficient coverage in the "Genres" section). Clara Bow is left "reclusive and melancholy" after 1933, with no word on her happy marriage to star Rex Bell or the last 30-odd years of her life. Predictably, the "cameras worshipped" Garbo, but her magical cameraman William Daniels is unmentioned. Some labels get stuck on the wrong person-Valentino was the "first major star to die young"-or trot out unsubstantiated gossip-Valentino had been a "petty thief." LC's images, especially those reproduced in color, are a treat for the uninitiated; few will seem rare or unique to specialists. Only for comprehensive film collections.
—Margaret Heilbrun

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316117913
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 11/1/2007
  • Edition description: REV
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,425,084
  • Product dimensions: 9.66 (w) x 12.40 (h) x 1.13 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Kobel is the former managing editor of Premiere magazine, and has written for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Entertainment Weekly. Martin Scorsese is one of the most respected and influential directors working today. He also serves as president of the Film Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to film preservation. Kevin Brownlow is a noted film historian and has written extensively on early film, including THE PARADE'S GONE BY and BEHIND THE MASK OF INNOCENCE.

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