Silent movies were far more self-aware than many modern folks realize and they often took audiences backstage for some meta commentary on filmmaking.
Lotte Reiniger’s silent Cinderella opens with a demonstration of the silhouette animator’s craft. I can think of no better film intro.
Ford Sterling and Mabel Normand merrily mug away in Mabel’s Dramatic Career, a particularly well-done Sennett spoof of filmgoing culture.
The only problem with featuring a humorous backstage scene from Show People is deciding which one to pick!
Possibly the best behind-the-scenes footage can be found in A Girl’s Folly, which takes place in a bustling New Jersey film studio. So much to take in, a feast for any film nerd’s eyes.
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