Welcome, New Readers!

ANOTHER EDITĀ 6/14/19: My new laptop finally arrived! Stay tuned. šŸ˜‰

EDIT 6/7/19:Ā Due to my laptop deciding to conk out all the sudden, I won’t have a new post out this week. Which is sad, because it was on a film I really love–but at least you can still look forward to it! ~

Happy summer, all! (It sure took its sweet time coming, didn’t it?) Every once in awhile–and it’s been awhile–I put out a “welcome tour” post for new Silent-ology readers. Because I know what it’s like to visit a new blog and feel like you’ve walked into a coffee shop where everyone understands the complicated drink orders except you.

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“So a small is a ‘Mini,’ a medium is a ‘Not So Petite,’ and a large is a…’Get Wired’? ButĀ why??!

So let’s get to it! Silent-ology (which turned five a few months ago!) is my personal “dig” through silent film history. Every detail of this unique era fascinates me, so if you don’t see a topic or an actor covered, they probably will be in the future! I have theme months a couple times a year (the latest was Sheik Month) and host an annual Buster Keaton Blogathon. Taking a look at my ā€œAboutā€ page is a nice little intro to the site. And then, of course, there’s theĀ My ArticlesĀ page (and don’t forget the Search box!).

Want a few suggestions? If you’re just getting into silent films, you might like: Continue reading

How Did You Get Into Silent Films?

It’s been a cool, grey, rainy couple of days up here in Minnesota, so I’m in an introspective mood and decided to write a “get to know me better” kind of post. Feel free to share your own stories!

When folks ask me how I got so enamored with silent films (apparently this isn’t common…?) I usually have a ready answer–because I’ve thought the question over myself. It’s been interesting to ponder: how did I get so obsessed with century-old movies? Why am I more compelled to study them than more recent films like ’50s musicals or ’30s comedies? Is it just because those are so alarmingly recent? (Okay, fine–comparatively recent.)

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See, to me, this came out yesterday.

Now that I think of it, there were several stepping stones that lead to this love of super old movies.Ā  Continue reading

My Recap Of The 2019 San Francisco Silent Film Festival (And A Giveaway!)

It was almost too good to be true–a whole year flew by, and the festival was here again! After a busy day of travelling I made it to the Castro neighborhood on May 1 with time to spare (I highly recommend a kebab place just down the street from the theater. It gave me new life). Walking into the theater was like revisiting an old (and grand-looking) friend. And I couldn’t have been more ready for:

Opening Night Showing, Wednesday, May 1

Continue reading

Farewell To Fay McKenzie And A Film Fest Update

In my recent review of The Alice Howell CollectionĀ I mentioned that the 101-year-old actress Fay McKenzie, who appeared as a baby in Distilled LoveĀ (1920), got to enjoy a special screening of the short thanks to historian Stan Taffel and relative Bryan Cooper. Isn’t that just the best? Well, the news broke recently that Fay passed away peacefully in her sleep on April 16, just two weeks after I posted my review. Amazingly, she had been in films on and off throughout her whole life, starting with infant/child roles in silent films starring such luminaries as Colleen Moore, and eventually becoming known as Gene Autry’s leading lady in the 1940s.

Image result for fay mckenzie gene autry Continue reading

BLOGATHON UPDATE: Less Than Two Weeks Until Busterthon Five!

Happy Friday, all! It’s hard to believe, but the anticipated Buster Blogathon V is only ten days away!

Busterthon 5-4

This year we have a lot of Busterthon regulars as well as some new faces. A hearty welcome to all–this event is shaping up to be as exciting and enlightening as previous years! Continue reading

In Memory Of Ron Hutchinson

On Sunday, February 3rd, the family of film historian Ron Hutchinson shared the sad news that he had passed away from cancer on Saturday. He was 67. The classic film community has been reeling ever since, both shocked by the suddenness of the event and deeply saddened by the loss of a true giant in film preservation.

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Hutchinson was the co-founder of The Vitaphone Project, a group of passionate historians and collectors which aimed to rediscover and restore Vitaphone films. This early sound process (spanning the years 1926-1931) recorded dialogue and sound effects on discs which were then synchronized with the projected films. If you’ve ever taken in an early talkie or one of those late silents with sound effects–say, the magnificent King of JazzĀ (1930) orĀ Colleen Moore’s Why Be Good?Ā (1929)–chances are you’re quite literally hearing some of Hutchinson’s hard work.

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From Ron’s Facebook page.

Hutchinson had both discovered and assisted in the restoration of literally hundreds of early talkies, both shorts and features (especially “Vitaphone shorts,” which served as pre-feature entertainment in theaters). And as so many have attested in the past couple days, he was an enthusiastic and helpful supporter of countless preservation projects. He leaves behind a loving family and too many friends in the classic film community to count.

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A memorial service for Hutchinson will be held on Saturday, February 9th from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Piscataway Funeral Home in Piscataway, New Jersey. There is also talk of a special memorial event to be held later this year, possibly as a benefit for his beloved Vitaphone project.

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My friend Annette at Hometowns to Hollywood wrote a detailed article about Vitaphone and The Vitaphone ProjectĀ here–it’s highly recommended!

Hutchinson was a fellow columnist on Classic Movie Hub, and his detailed articles on all things Vitaphone can be read here.Ā 

 

It’s Silent-ology’s FIFTH Anniversary!!

Well, whaddaya know? Today, Silent-ology turns five years old!

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Norma’s happy to help me cut the cake.

We’ve been celebrating the unique, beautiful, quirky, inspirational silent era together for half a decade! This is all thanks to your continued visits, comments and support, which makes this huge, multi-year project such a fulfilling labor of love. I couldn’t ask for a more good-natured, appreciative audience, and that’s a fact.

And now, a respectable selection of 1924 silent film stars will join me in saying a very sincere:

Thank You stars

to all!

By the way, I’m extra excited this year because…well…five is my favorite number. šŸ˜€ SO LET’S PARTY!!!

Whew, getting tired from all that partying? Let’s take a break and recap some of this blog’s highlights from 2018. Continue reading

Adieu, 2018–The Silent Community Year In Review

Happy New Year’s, everyone! It’s a day to celebrate, preferably Lilian Harvey-style:

As you do.

And as usual, it’s time to look back on the various silent-related film discoveries, DVD and book releases, and other noteworthy events from the past twelve months. I keep a running list of film news all throughout the year, so hopefully this “year in review” post is pretty thorough. But if I managed to miss anything important, please let me know in the comments! (And remember that it needs to be an event/discovery/release from 2018 specifically.)

Without further ado, let’s get started: Continue reading

A Merry Christmas And A Happy New Year!

A very MERRY CHRISTMAS from Miss Movie! Or so the fairy in this 1917Ā Motion Picture MagazineĀ is called:

I was amused by the fact that “Also a Merry Christmas!” is a wee afterthought at the bottom. In fairness, this is a January issue, but the December issues don’t seem to have an abundance of Christmas ads either. Times have sure changed, eh?

I’m hoping that all Silent-ology readers have a lovely Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, wherever you may be! No matter what you’ll be doing today or how busy or how quiet it’ll be, know that I’ll be raising a glass to you at some point.

 

 

 

(Also a Happy New Year!)

Thoughts On: “They Shall Not Grow Old” (2018)

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:Ā 
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.Ā 
At the going down of the sun and in the morningĀ 
We will remember them.
–From “For the Fallen” by Laurence Binyon

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After four years of the extended commemoration, we’ve reached the very tail end of World War I’s centennialĀ (not counting 2019’s recognition of the 1919 Treaty of Versailles–don’t worry, WWI buffs, I haven’t forgotten). So it’s fitting that in these final days of 2018, the new war documentaryĀ They Shall Not Grow Old should beĀ in theaters (limited numbers of screenings and all).

They Shall Not Grow Old (2018)

What’s also fitting, in my opinion, is that Peter Jackson is at its helm. He’s proved in the past that with care and preparation he can churn out stunning works like theĀ Lord of the RingsĀ trilogy (which has a practically transcendent effect on me to this day–by the way, thatĀ HobbitĀ trilogy doesn’t exist).Ā They Shall Not Grow OldĀ is an excellent addition to his filmography, and is certainly a milestone within the genre of war documentaries. Continue reading