What are YOUR burning questions about silent films?

Okay, I have a plan rattling around my brain but I need a little bit of help from you. Here’s a chance to share some of your biggest questions about silent films.

My idea is still in the planning stage, so I won’t be sharing too many details, but it’s going to be a vehicle by which I shall be spreading the silent movie love and helping with perplexing issues. (It’s a podcast but don’t tell anyone.)

What was the first silent movie? Why did talkies take so long to get going? What’s the deal with you and that Ivan Mosjoukine guy? Did Mary Pickford only play children? Why are Theda Bara’s movies mostly lost?

As with the site, I want this project to be balanced between newcomer-friendly and nerd-friendly, so by all means, ask questions as elementary or complicated as you like.

I won’t be answering the questions in this post, that comes later, but if you see a question that you know tons about, please feel free to jump in with your knowledge.

If you’d prefer a more discrete inquiry, here’s a form you can use to submit your question:

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15 Replies to “What are YOUR burning questions about silent films?”

  1. How about a list of best, most scenic, most effective, or most appropriate (or all four!) silent film location shoots that were NOT in New York, New Jersey, or California? American and foreign films both, if you like 🙂

  2. This is an excellent idea! I have always considered you to be an imaginative writer. I have a question for this project. Because of the importance of title cards in silent films, were the audiences mostly literate?

    By the way, I would like to take this opportunity to invite you to join my first blogathon, “The Great Breening Blogathon:” https://pureentertainmentpreservationsociety.wordpress.com/2017/09/07/extra-the-great-breening-blogathon/. Perhaps you could breen a silent film. I would love to have you participate.

    Yours Hopefully,

    Tiffany Brannan

  3. where can i find traces of the silent era in nyc?! (since that is the nearest city to me with a genuine silent film past but anything in new england would be great too)

  4. I find the internationalism of silent film interesting, and impressive. Maybe questions about how many countries had significant silent film industries (as opposed to only one or two narrative films, or an industry limited to newsreel footage), about how many films were produced in each country, and how many are known still to exist.

  5. Hi Fritzi, I know I already chimed in but was hoping I could suggest one more topic. The Czech film archive seems to be a treasure trove. Can you give any details on its possible housing of more silent films. For instance, is there a mountain of unidentified silent film, or has it already been pretty well mined? And, are they very good about identifying and sharing, or somewhat guarded? Thanks,

  6. My memory is watching some old Keystone Cop movies, followed by The Goldrush and The Lost World. If the States could make a good film about a silent film actor or actress, who would you pick and you couldn’t pick your favourite because that’s too easy:)?

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