FAQ about silent film: Online resources


This document is the second of four FAQs for the Usenet newsgroup alt.movies.silent, and contains information about where to learn about silent film. There is some overlap in the content of the FAQs. If you don't find what you're looking for here, try one of the related FAQs (see the last question for a complete list).
  1. What are some links to Web sites about silent film?
  2. What are some links to Web sites about silent film stars?
  3. Is it okay to copy scanned images off a Web site?
  4. What are some links to Web sites containing clips of silent films?
  5. Where on the Internet can I buy and sell silent film memorabilia?
  6. Where are the other silent film FAQs?

What are some links to Web sites about silent film?

There's a number of links within the silent film net community. Here are a few of the outstanding ones:

The Silents Majority

Diane MacIntyre's and Spike Lewis' The Silents Majority features exclusive articles and photos on films, performers, and genres; schedules of theatrical and TV showings of silent film; news updates on the latest goings-on within the silent film community; reviews of recent releases of silent film on all formats; and more. There are even snippets of silent film on view. TSM is updated each month and is the best site on the Web for information on silent film.

http://www.mdle.com/ClassicFilms/

Silent Film Sources

David Pierce's Silent Film Sources is a wonderful resource for news on silent film releases in all formats.

http://www.cinemaweb.com/silentfilm/

Be sure to check out David's sister site, The Silent Film Bookshelf:

http://www.cinemaweb.com/silentfilm/bookshelf/

Glen Pringle's site on silent film

This is another great resource for general information on silent film; for silent film showings; and for tons of links to other silent film sites.

http://www.cs.monash.edu.au/~pringle/silent/

Classic Images

This is a monthly periodical devoted to classic film; most issues contain information on silent film personalities and silent film festivals. Classic Images can be found in better newsstands everywhere.

http://www.classicimages.com/

Silents Are Golden

This is Tim Lussier's lovely site devoted to silent film.

http://www.silentsaregolden.com/

Taylorology

This is Bruce Long's site devoted to the mysterious murder of William Desmond Taylor, a Hollywood director who was shot to death in 1922. Besides containing many documents pertaining to the Taylor murder investigation, the site has many contemporary accounts of Hollywood filmmaking.

http://www.angelfire.com/az/Taylorology/

Welcome to Silent Movies

Kally Mavromatis' site is a terrific tribute to silent film.

http://www.mindspring.com/~kallym/

Gilda's Blue Book of the Screen

This is a marvelous tribute as well.

http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Boulevard/7770/Bluebook.html

Bruce Calvert's Internet Silent Film Still Archive

This site has about 150 stills and counting, cross-indexed by film star and film.

http://www2.crosswinds.net/dallas/~bcalvert/home.htm

Past Times Publishing Company

Jordan R. Young's site devoted to vintage entertainment from the Golden Age, roughly the 1920s to the 1940s -- popular music, classic movies, vaudeville, radio and early television.

http://www.oldtimeshowbiz.com/

Brent Walker's Film History Website

Brent Walker's new site features three sections so far: historic film locations, unidentified Keystone and Mack Sennett performers, and a tribute to bit comics.

http://members.dencity.com/filmhistory

Silent Era

Silent Era has the following:
  • new releases of silents on video and DVD + reviews of new releases
  • notes on lost films
  • list of 'top 100' silents
  • recent books on silent film
  • silent film fests and rep house showings
http://www.silentera.com/

What are some links to Web sites about silent film stars?

For thousands and thousands of wonderful photos of silent film stars, check out David B. Pearson's Silent Ladies and Silent Gents sites:

http://silentladies.com/
http://silentgents.com

Rob Farr's Mugshots celebrates the more obscure practitioners of the art of silent comedy.

http://pw1.netcom.com/~lippfarr/mugshots.htm

Individual silent film stars are the subject of several Web sites. Here are some links:

Buster Keaton

Buster Keaton has many homes on the 'net, but the best, without question, is the Damfinos -- the official Buster Keaton site. Victoria Sainte-Claire, the Web artist and designer, Patty Tobias, and Melody Bunting have done a beautiful job of creating and maintaining the site.

http://www.busterkeaton.com/

Charlie Chaplin

Chaplin Fans Unite is an extensive site on Chaplin, and contains links to other Chaplin-related sites.

http://members.tripod.com/~Calvero/chaplin/home.htm

There's also a Usenet newsgroup devoted to Chaplin:

alt.movies.chaplin

Harold Lloyd

Did you ever see a photo of a guy with glasses and a straw boater clinging to the hands of a giant department store clock several stories above a busy street?

Why, that's none other than Harold Lloyd, and you can find Annette M. D'Agostino's Hello, Harold Lloyd here:

http://www.haroldlloyd.com/hhlhome.htm

Charley Chase

Here is Yair Solan's tribute to one of the great unsung silent comedians:

http://home.att.net/~phenix/charley.htm

Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle

Speaking of unsung comedians, Arbucklemania is David B. Pearson's tribute to that unjustly neglected genius and Buster's mentor, Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle. (Note: Arbuckle HATED the nickname "Fatty." If you're going to refer to him, call him Roscoe.)

http://www.silent-movies.com/Arbucklemania/

Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy

Ask somebody to name the greatest film comedy team of all time, and chances are the answer will be Laurel and Hardy.

The Boys have a number of sites devoted to them, including these:

Laurel and Hardy Central

http://members.aol.com/lhcentral/
The Laurel and Hardy Magazine site

http://members.aol.com/oxford0614/
The Laurel and Hardy Museum

http://www.wwwebguides.com/britain/cumbria/furness/laure.html
There's also a newsgroup devoted to L&H:

alt.comedy.laurel-hardy

Harry Langdon

Harry Langdon was a baby-faced comic who emulated, with uncanny accuracy, the reactions of a child. He was the Pee Wee Herman of the silents, and for a time he rivaled Chaplin, Keaton, and Lloyd as one of the finest feature film comedians. Fortunately, many of Langdon's films have been restored by Kino International. You can learn more about this pantomimic genius at Floyd Bennett's site devoted to Harry:
http://silent-movies.com/Langdon/

Lon Chaney

Horror fan? Visit Jon Mirsalis' tribute.

http://members.aol.com/ChaneyFan/index.htm

Louise Brooks

Addicted to alluring, smouldering, timeless beauties? Visit Pandora's Box.

http://www.pandorasbox.com/

Clara Bow

If Louise Brooks was the Ice Goddess of silent film, Clara Bow was the Fire; check out the Clara Bow Page for a great tribute to the It Girl.

http://members.tripod.com/~theclarabowpage/clarabow-index.html

Mary Pickford

One of the greatest of all film pioneers, male or female, was Mary Pickford, and Mary Pickford: America's Sweetheart is devoted to one of Canada's greatest exports.

http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Theater/4988/mary.html

Rudolph Valentino

By the time he died, in 1926, he was a legend. Rudolph Valentino is honored at Rudolph Valentino's Home on the Web.

http://www.geocities.com/~rudyfan/rudy.htm

Ben Hecht

Ben Hecht has been called "Hollywood's highest paid and least reverent writer." Florice Whyte Kovan maintains a Web site about him:
http:/snickersneepress.bigstep.com/

Others

Your favorite silent star doesn't have a website devoted to him or her? Well, there's a good chance he or she is honored at The Silents Majority's Silent Artists Index.

http://www.mdle.com/ClassicFilms/FeaturedStar/

Or, at the very least, his or her films are listed on the Internet Movie Database.

http://www.imdb.com/
Here's the really great part: most of the silent sites listed above are connected to each other as well as to other sites. So you can surf to your heart's content.

Is it okay to copy scanned images off a Web site?

Legally there's nothing wrong with doing so.

If you are copying images for private purposes, that's fine. You don't need permission to do so.

If you are copying images for your own Web site, or for commercial purposes, you are being discourteous to the Web site creators who have posted the images, and are very possibly violating copyright laws. At the very least, as a courtesy, you should email the site creators and obtain their permission before doing so.

What are some links to Web sites containing clips of silent films?

David B. Pearson has a site that features film clips in .mov format of great silent film comedians. You need Apple's QuickTime software to view them (QuickTime runs on Windows and Macintosh).

http://www.uno.edu/~drcom/Slapstick/

Download 'em and make your day.

David Pearson also has more QuickTime clips from films of one of the greatest of all silent film directors, D. W. Griffith.

http://www.uno.edu/~drcom/Griffith/

The Library of Congress maintains several online collections of very early films:

"The Motion Pictures and Sound Recordings of the Edison Companies"
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/edhtml/edhome.html

"The Spanish-American War in Motion Pictures"
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/sawhtml/sawhome.html

"Inside an American Factory: Films of the Westinghouse Works, 1904"
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/papr/west/westhome.html

"The Last Days of a President: Films of McKinley and the Pan-American Exposition, 1901"
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/papr/mckhome.html

"The Life of a City: Early Films of New York, 1898-1906"
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/papr/nychome.html

"Before and After the Great Earthquake and Fire: Early Films of San Francisco, 1897-1916"
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/papr/sfhome.html

The Internet Archive hosts many films from Rick Prelinger's astonishing collection:

http://www.archive.org/

Even better, movieflix.com hosts a number of complete silent movies that you can watch online for free:

http://www.movieflix.com/genre_list.mfx?genre=Silent

Where on the Internet can I buy and sell silent film memorabilia?

eBay is one of the most popular memorabilia auction sites on the Web. Silent film stills, books, and other silent era-related stuff are available for auction. You have to register online before you can sell or bid.

http://www.ebay.com/

Reproductions of posters for silent and classic films are available at the following:

The DeMaio Collection
http://www.bcn.net/~demaio/

Phillips Museum Shop
http://www.phillipsmuseumshop.com/
The Mining Company's classic film site has links to sources for original film poster art.

http://classicfilm.miningco.com/msub14a.htm

The Poster Art Library has books on film poster art.

http://www.posterauction.com/artlib/dept3.htm

The Hollywood Canteen, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, sells a wide variety of of books, posters, film stills, magazines, videos, and lots more.

http://www.hcanteen.com/

Richard Kukan sells vintage film star postcards; at least half of his stock dates from the silent era.

http://members.rogers.com/rkukan2101/index.html

You can buy film books online at Amazon.com.

http://www.amazon.com/

Unfortunately many excellent books on silent film are rare or out-of-print. Amazon will search for you, but you may have better luck at one of these three sites:

Bookfinder.com
http://www.bookfinder.com/

Bibliocom
http://www.bibliofind.com/

Inprint
http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~inprint/html/booksearch.html
Have a particular book or books in mind before you use Bookfinder, Bibliocom, or Inprint.

For a partially annotated list of books about film, silent and otherwise, check out Emily Way's REEL WORLD site:

http://www.vex.net/~emily/film/books.html

Where are the other silent film FAQs?

There are three other FAQs for the alt.movies.silent newsgroup: The complete set of alt.movies.silent FAQs lives on Emily Way's REEL WORLD Web site:

http://www.vex.net/~emily/film/amsfaq/

The FAQs are also posted to alt.movies.silent, news.answers, and alt.answers once a month. They are also archived automatically at the following sites:


Rick Levinson (Rick.Levinson@sympatico.ca) and Emily Way (emily@vex.net)
Last updated February 15, 2002