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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
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Agnes de Mille:
Whenever they finished a picture, which would be roughly every week... you know, they didn't waste time, they just got ahead and shot it, not always with a scenario... then they'd run it. They'd paste it together and run it. And they asked everybody, all the families, all the children, all the cousins, neighbors sometimes: "Come in, come in! See our picture! We're running it." And then they'd ask everybody what they thought. I cannot believe that it was that simple. But it was. And I think some...
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If you are a fan of the silent period, this series is a must see.
Interviews with the silent stars, producers, directors, writers, and craft people, as well as more footage of the era than you can possibly imagine. Brownlow and Gill, two of Hollywood's premier historians, have put together this highly entertaining documentary series and are able to capture the feel and the look of early Hollywood.
Particularly interesting is that each episode is a theme. From comedies, to westerns, to a particular star or director, to the frequent scandals, each episode has insight into what made Hollywood tick.
Those of us who see the silent film as a beautiful art form marvel at the beauty of the technique when sound doesn't get in the way. Brownlow and Gill have found footage frequently thought to be destroyed but found in someone's garage or basement.
I am raising my son to appreciate the silent film, and with the help of this series he has become a fan of Chaplin, Keaton, Lloyd, and many others.
Thanks to David and Kevin.
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