Distilled (un-credited) from Kevin Brownlow's 1968 book "The Parade's Gone By...", this 13-part mini-series follows the rise and fall of the American silent film industry. Each episode focuses on a different aspect of silent film history and production. Several silent film makers - stars, writers, directors, producers, stunt-men and crew - and their family and friends are interviewed. Also included are hundreds of film clips and behind-the-scene photographs, how-did-they-do-that spoilers and lots of trivia. Written by
Steven W. Siferd <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Agnes de Mille:
There was great excitement, and great fervor, and great sense of romance, romantic adventure. They didn't know what they were working in. They didn't know what the future would be. They didn't know what they were doing. They knew that every picture broke boundaries. Some one new thing would be done. A new way of handling the camera. A new way of cutting. A new way of lighting. And they would be so excited by it! And my father used to say, always, "We are not real artists. None of us. We are ...
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Right up there with THE CIVIL WAR as one of the best documentaries I've ever seen
I happened to catch this on local TV back in the early 80's (it was broadcast irregularly, so it was a painful experience not being able to see all of it) and loved it, so you can imagine my joy when it was released on VHS in the dark days before that godsend known as DVD. Unfortunately, it was on the shelves for about a month before disappearing, but I got to see the entire run and have never forgotten it. This doc was such an education to me (the only exposure to silent film I had prior to this wonderful, brilliant documentary was a series of shorts called "Who's The Funny Man?" on Captain Penny back in the sixties, which was narrated by an actor named as Cliff Norton, I believe) - until I saw this, I thought of silent movies exactly the way James Mason described them as being thought of in the opening of the first episode, not knowing the artistry that went into their creation or the talent behind and in front of the cameras.
To sum up, this is, and I'll say it a thousand times, the most entertaining, informative, amazing documentary about the unfortunately ignored silent era you will ever see. Absolutely stunning.
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