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American Silent Horror, Science Fiction and…

American Silent Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy Feature Films,…

by John T. Soister

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2013515,329 (4.64)2



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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A beautiful two-book set that explores the early history of horror, science fiction, and fantasy film in America. A must for all film buffs everywhere and a beautiful asset for my personal collection of film books! ( )
  karenweyant | Dec 26, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This massive, two-volume encyclopedia of American genre cinema from the silent era is an impressive achievement. For researchers into the popular culture of the period, it should serve as a valuable resource.

A great many of the films described are no longer extant in viewable form, and relatively few are conveniently accessible to 21st-century watchers. As a result, I found myself less motivated in reading about the movies, simply in the knowledge that I would probably never see them. Unlike other volumes from publisher McFarland that treat more recent periods of horror cinema, I did not manage to read these cover-to-cover.

Still, the writing is solid, and complemented by an assortment of movie stills, posters, and lobby cards, reproduced in black and white. ( )
2 vote paradoxosalpha | Dec 4, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This two-volume set of books is very impressive. It is well researched and well organized with a large table of contents (listing both volumes in each book), appendix, bibliography and index. This is a film researcher’s dream come true. The books have a handful of images (I would have liked to have seen more photos but was happy that they included some images) from these early films. Each entry lists the film’s title, film company name, year released, number of reels and length of film in feet, and other information (I was sadly surprised at how many of these films are lost). Each entry has a detailed description of the film, actors, plot and setting. This is a great research tool and I recommend it to any student of early feature films. ( )
  Chris177 | Jan 4, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A detailed overview of silent-era horror, fantasy, and sci-fi movies which covers classic silent films as well as turkeys. The coverage also includes a wide variety of lost films. The authors also take some unexpected positions, arguing, for example, that the long-lost Lon Chaney/Tod Browning film London After Midnight probably wasn't very good. This book gives lots of interesting background information on American silent movies that I am familiar with, and has inspired me to take a look (or second look) at these films. The discussions of the movies include plot summaries, background information, a summary of contemporary critical opinion, and, where possible, an assessment of the merits of the films by the authors.

People who are interested in film history, silent cinema, or fantastic film will find this book to be a valuable resource. ( )
  Thomas64 | Nov 2, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A 9x11" 810 page two volume set, the authors clearly set out to write the definitive work on American horror and fantasy films in the silent era and have admirably suceeded. Each film profiled in the book receives approximately two pages with a full credits list, synopsis, a critique if the film still exists and can be screened, quotes from vintage reviews, and information on the people who made the film. The landmark films receive even more detail: six pages for THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, six for THE LOST WORLD, five pages for THE CAT AND THE CANARY, etc. Many of the films are also illustrated with a photo or vintage poster reproduction. The authors are clearly horror/science fiction buffs so they know what they are talking about, although there is a regrettable touch of snarkiness in some of the commentary and photo captions which might have been ok in a mainstream book but seems out of place in a major reference work. The authors set a wide net for what can fall under the horror/science fiction/fantasy label (although they did rule out fairy tales ala SNOW WHITE) and a result you will find a number of silent stars with films in here you might think had never worked in the genre. Considering the newest film in the book is well over 80 years old the level of research done here is amazing and this two volume set belongs in every library that aspires to have all the major references works on either science fiction movies or silent films. ( )
  mrsfiskeandco | Oct 29, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 078643581X, Paperback)

During the Silent Era, when most films dealt with dramatic or comedic takes on the "boy meets girl, boy loses girl" theme, other motion pictures dared to tackle such topics as rejuvenation, revivication, mesmerism, the supernatural and the grotesque. A Daughter of the Gods (1916), The Phantom of the Opera (1925), The Magician (1926) and Seven Footprints to Satan (1929) were among the unusual and startling films containing story elements that went far beyond the realm of "highly unlikely." Using surviving documentation and their combined expertise, the authors catalog and discuss these departures from the norm in this encyclopedic guide to American horror, science fiction and fantasy in the years from 1913 through 1929.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:01 -0400)

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