ESSANAY SNAGS CHAPLIN Charles Chaplin had started his career the previous year at Mack Sennett’s Keystone studio but moved to the Essanay Film Manufacturing Company in January with a significant pay hike from $125 a week to $1,250. He made fourteen films with Essanay, many of which were filmed … [Read more...] about 1915: The Year in Motion Pictures
This feature was published in conjunction with the screening of Fragment of an Empire at SFSFF 2018 While silent cinema has its share of silk-hatted swells, champagne, and cotillions, the working class at the bottom of the income pyramid is by no means neglected. Miner strikes, child labor, … [Read more...] about Workers of Silent Cinema Unite!
I had two big passions when I was a boy in Stockholm—music and film. Every day I practiced classical piano and, in the evenings, I went to screenings at the city’s cinematheque. One day in 1989, a member of the staff asked me if I could accompany a silent film at an upcoming screening of … [Read more...] about Variations on a Theme: Matti Bye, Soundscape Artist
In Memoriam: Film Preservationist David Shepard (1940–2017) In January 2017, we lost one of our own, David Shepard, beloved champion of silent and classic film. Shepard began at the wee age of twelve renting Kodascope prints to run at home in his newly acquired Bell and Howell projector. When … [Read more...] about A Tribute to David Shepard
This feature was published in conjunction with the screening of No Man's Gold at SFSFF 2018 Not for nothing these popular, if often cheaply made, westerns were nicknamed Horse Operas, requiring of actors one paramount skill, ridership, or at least the ability to sit convincingly in the … [Read more...] about Tony the Wonder Horse
This feature was published in conjunction with the screening of The Cameraman at SFSFF 2019 The hard-working piano player is an iconic image of silent cinema and with good reason: a 1922 poll of theater owners showed that solo piano was far and away the most popular form of musical accompaniment. … [Read more...] about Strike Up the Orchestra
This feature was published in conjunction with the screening of A Page of Madness at SFSFF 2017 SECRETS OF A SOUL (G.W. Pabst, 1926) Like Teinosuke Kinugasa’s A Page of Madness, Secrets of a Soul probes the anguish of a man fearful for his family’s future. Fortunately, Martin Fellman can afford … [Read more...] about Silent Scream: Going Mad Without Sound
A fragment of Wallace Reid’s otherwise lost western The Tribal Outlaw (Bison 101, 1912). The charming eight-minute narrative that tries to explain the inspiration for Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata (1909). William and Irene Finley’s playful wildlife film, Chumming with Chipmunks (1921). These are some … [Read more...] about Silent Film, Orphan Film: Saving, Studying, and Screening Neglected Cinema