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).
The Silents MajorityDiane 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.
Silent Film SourcesDavid Pierce's Silent Film Sources is a wonderful resource for news on silent film releases in all formats.
Be sure to check out David's sister site, The Silent Film Bookshelf:
Glen Pringle's site on silent filmThis is another great resource for general information on silent film; for silent film showings; and for tons of links to other silent film sites.
Classic ImagesThis 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.
Silents Are GoldenThis is Tim Lussier's lovely site devoted to silent film.
TaylorologyThis 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.
Welcome to Silent MoviesKally Mavromatis' site is a terrific tribute to silent film.
Gilda's Blue Book of the ScreenThis is a marvelous tribute as well.
Bruce Calvert's Internet Silent Film Still ArchiveThis site has about 150 stills and counting, cross-indexed by film star and film.
Past Times Publishing CompanyJordan 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.
Brent Walker's Film History WebsiteBrent Walker's new site features three sections so far: historic film locations, unidentified Keystone and Mack Sennett performers, and a tribute to bit comics.
Silent EraSilent Era has the following:
Rob Farr's Mugshots celebrates the more obscure practitioners of the art of silent comedy.
Individual silent film stars are the subject of several Web sites. Here are some links:
Buster KeatonBuster 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.
Charlie ChaplinChaplin Fans Unite is an extensive site on Chaplin, and contains links to other Chaplin-related sites.
There's also a Usenet newsgroup devoted to Chaplin:
Harold LloydDid 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:
Charley ChaseHere is Yair Solan's tribute to one of the great unsung silent comedians:
Roscoe "Fatty" ArbuckleSpeaking 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.)
Stan Laurel and Oliver HardyAsk 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
The Laurel and Hardy Magazine site
The Laurel and Hardy Museum
Harry LangdonHarry 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:
Lon ChaneyHorror fan? Visit Jon Mirsalis' tribute.
Louise BrooksAddicted to alluring, smouldering, timeless beauties? Visit Pandora's Box.
Clara BowIf 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.
Mary PickfordOne 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.
Rudolph ValentinoBy the time he died, in 1926, he was a legend. Rudolph Valentino is honored at Rudolph Valentino's Home on the Web.
Ben HechtBen Hecht has been called "Hollywood's highest paid and least reverent writer." Florice Whyte Kovan maintains a Web site about him:
OthersYour 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.
Or, at the very least, his or her films are listed on the Internet Movie Database.
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.
QuickTime software to view them (QuickTime runs on Windows and Macintosh).
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.
The Library of Congress maintains several online collections of very early films:
The Internet Archive hosts many films from Rick Prelinger's astonishing collection:
Even better, movieflix.com hosts a number of complete silent movies that you can watch online for free:
Reproductions of posters for silent and classic films are available at the following:
The Poster Art Library has books on film poster art.
The Hollywood Canteen, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, sells a wide variety of of books, posters, film stills, magazines, videos, and lots more.
Richard Kukan sells vintage film star postcards; at least half of his stock dates from the silent era.
You can buy film books online at 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:
For a partially annotated list of books about film, silent and otherwise, check out Emily Way's REEL WORLD site:
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) Last updated February 15, 2002