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 <email@example.com>
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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Indescribably essential. Kevin Brownlow, the late David Gill, and their superlative production and support staff at Thames Television created the absolute apotheosis of film documentary in this series. AND, to boot, they provided undoubtedly the greatest single service ever rendered to film history in seeking out these amazing pioneers and capturing their recollections and memories, shortly before they all passed forever from the scene. I have seen this innumerable times, yet I still fall back in awe at sequences such as director Allan Dwan describing his entry into the film industry in 1911, or cameraman Karl Brown speaking of the 1915 opening night of "Birth of a Nation". I also highly recommend Brownlow's predecessor book "The Parade's Gone By" (1969), and the companion book to the series "Hollywood, the Pioneers" (out of print). Also, the subsequent Brownlow documentaries on Chaplin, Keaton, Harold Lloyd, DW Griffith, and Lon Chaney are all of equal quality, and beautifully augment original the series. I can only hope that when the DVD version of Hollywood is released, it will include unedited interviews with the participants.
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