About Lea S.

I am obsessed with silent films (it's Buster Keaton's fault, I swear) and write about them here: https://silentology.wordpress.com/

Ask Me Anything!–Answers To Your Qs

Alrighty! It’s time for the answers to Silent-ology’s first AMA, which a number of you kindly responded too. Many thanks!

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I must say, you guys asked some really great questions–and a couple doozies! 😀 Which is grand–doozies are encouraged here. Without further ado:

What are your top 3 films by decade, going back to the beginning of cinema? (Yes, I’m including the 1880s.) 

By “top” films, I’m guessing you’re asking what my personal favorites are from each decade–heck, that’s what I’m going with! (Man, just choosing three of my faves was hard. My poor brain.) Continue reading

Ask Me Anything!–Silent-ology Edition

HAPPY ’20s, FOLKS!!

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It’s been a week and we’re still partying!

To kick off this glorious and familiar-sounding new decade, I thought we’d shake things up a bit and do Silent-ology’s very first AMA: Ask Me Anything!

How it works is pretty simple: you guys ask me whatever silent cinema-related question that pop into your heads, or whatever you like really, and I’ll post my responses in a few days. It’ll be a kind of “come and know me better, man” post.

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Pictured: Jobyna participating in her own AMA.

Want to know my (brief) thoughts on films I haven’t written about yet? Looking for obscure factoids about silent cinema and wondering if I can help? Wondering what some of my favorite talkies are? Want to know my favorite color or how I’d rank all the Star Wars movies? 😉

Yes, you can even drop the oh-so-cliched “Keaton or Chaplin?” on me. Ask away!

Sayonara, 2019–The Silent Community Year In Review

Happy New Year, my friends! Now that the last hours of the 2010s are ticking away, you know what that means…..! 

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THE ’20S ARE COMING BACK!!! (Exactly like this.)

I, for one, welcome the impending return of the Twenties. Let’s make ’em Roaring!

Before we start partying like a 1928 Joan Crawford movie, let’s look back on 2019’s various silent-related film discoveries, restorations, home video releases, and other noteworthy events. I try to keep a running list of film news throughout the year, which largely depends on what I randomly stumble across, so hopefully this “year in review” post is pretty thorough. But if I missed anything super obvious and important, please let me know! (And remember that it needs to be an event/discovery/release from 2019 specifically.) Continue reading

Christmas With The Gish Sisters

MERRY CHRISTMAS, my friends! I sincerely hope you’re all having a fine holiday season, no matter where you may be.

You might notice that while Silent-ology goes all out on spooky film-viewing in October, it’s a bit quieter around Christmas. That’s because: A) Back in the silent era, Christmas wasn’t the commercialized extravaganza it is today–there really aren’t a ton of Christmasy silents to choose from, and B) December is a very busy month! So I tend to be more sparing in my Yuletide-themed posts, although I make sure to decorate Silent-ology appropriately.

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Hold on, I’ll just put up a few more ornaments.

So! With that said, here’s a bit of festive Christmas reminiscing from Lillian Gish’s autobiography The Movies, Mr. Griffith and Me, where she occasionally looked back on holidays from her childhood. At times life was hard for Lillian, her sister Dorothy and their mother, especially since their father abandoned them when the girls were young. However, they did have fond memories of holidays past. Continue reading

ANNOUNCEMENT: The Sixth Annual Buster Keaton Blogathon!

Cue the trumpets, my friends–for our annual celebration of all things Buster Keaton is coming back for a sixth year in a row!

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(Yes, I’m having it in March this time–all the February dates were already gobbled up by other blogathons. Man, my fellow bloggers are fast. Next time I’ll have to announce it in July! 😉 )

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Would You Watch A CGI Charlie Chaplin?

After thinking over the bizarre news that a CGI James Dean is going to be inserted into a new film, and after being inspired by a recent post on the matter by my friend Backlots, I’ve decided to chime in with my thoughts. Film technology’s made crazy leaps and bounds this this century, there’s no doubt about it. We’ve created the armies of Mordor, flying wizards, phenomenal superhero battles, even whole galaxies far, far away. We’re even on the verge of conquering that pesky “uncanny valley” problem (maybe). So I guess since the sky is the limit, the question is apparently: would you watch a brand new performance by a fully CGI Charlie Chaplin?

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Better than this one, I mean.

Or let me phrase it another way: would you watch a CGI Buster Keaton? If you’re a fan like I am you just screamed “NOOOO!!!” and threw a shoe across the room (it dented the wall). Just the thought makes you recoil, yes? Even more so than Charlie, for some reason. How about a CGI Rudolph Valentino? Or CGI Clara Bow? But…but what if the CGI was really, really good? Continue reading

The Time Theaters Had A “Way Down East” Pumpkin Pie Contest

Hello and happy Thanksgiving, my readers! And a happy holiday season in general–it’s officially that time of the year! As such, I initially thought I’d look for some sort of vintage, pumpkin pie-related recipe from Ye Old Movie Magazines to share. But instead, I found something better!

Introducing the great 1922 Way Down East Perfect Pumpkin Pie Contest Exploitation Campaign!!

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Because pumpkin spice was always popular, y’all.

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9 Treasures From The NFPF Site

Love cinema, especially obscure cinema? So do I, obviously. I’m always on the hunt for all things quaint and curious, and aside from those random YouTube playlists, there’s one site in particular that has a fascinating library of free films that I highly recommend: The National Film Preservation Foundation’s website.

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This foundation, as you suspect, does God’s work. As their site describes:

The National Film Preservation Foundation is the nonprofit organization created by the U.S. Congress to help save America’s film heritage. We support activities nationwide that preserve American films and improve film access for study, education, and exhibition…Our top priority is saving American films that would be unlikely to survive without public support. Over the past decade, we have developed grant programs to help archives, historical societies, libraries, museums, and universities preserve films and make them available for study and research. Our grants distribute federal funds secured through the leadership of the Library of Congress and preservation services donated by public-spirited laboratories and post-production houses. Congress increased the authorization for this work in 2005 and 2008. Every penny of these federal funds goes out to the field and we raise operational support from other sources.

Comedies, dramas, cartoons, documentaries, avant-garde, westerns–you can find a little of everything on the NFPF’s site, most films being from the early 20th century. Since it contains a good helping of silents, I thought I’d share nine of my favorite finds (so far). Think of it as suggestions for a DIY at-home film festival: Continue reading

Obscure Films: “A Bear Affair” (1915)

Picture a fast-paced silent film scene where one character chases another with a gun blazing. Bullets fly, characters panic, and the editing is fast and furious Picturing something from a Western? Maybe even a Roaring Twenties gangster shootout?

Nope, just a typical scene from a 1910s Keystone comedy, where people fire guns like Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots and bullets do less damage than gnat bites. This particular scene’s from a short known only by the most hardcore silent comedy aficionados, A Bear Affair (1915). Oh, and the actor brandishing the gun? That would be the actress Louise Fazenda, one of the toughest and most good-natured slapstick comediennes of the silent era.

Louise Fazenda Continue reading