I could come up with a list and we could all debate it BUT I think it is sad
that even a small library would only plan on ten silent films in 5 years (
two a year) Silent films get kind of a double whammy, first you have the
MASSIVE prejudice in libraries towards ANY non- print material and than
when libraries DO collect non-print material they seem to be under
heightened pressure to stick almost exclusively to "popular" stuff.
Basically if I told a library they could only buy two books of poetry per
year or two videos in a foreign language I assume they would be aghast but
this is pretty much how silent films are treated. Among the best silent
films ever made that HAVE been released legally on video are Von Sternberg's
DOCKS OF NEW YORK, Murnau's FAUST, Vidor's SHOW PEOPLE, Reiniger's THE
ADVENTURES OF PRINCE ACHMED ( I picked this list since each film is under
copyright and released by a different company). How many people on this list
have all of these in their collections? If not do you have ANY of the above?
I would ESTIMATE that there are no more 600 good quality VHS/DVDs of really
good silent films out there, there are maybe another 600 LEGAL copies of
either minor films or lesser quality ( No comment on the huge number of
bootleg silents) so you are not talking about a massive number of titles
from my admittedly obsessed point of view.
If Public & University libraries adverted 10 silent films PER YEAR, ( and
did not all buy the same ten titles) it would undoubtedly make it possible
for many great silent films to be released that will otherwise languish for
lack of interest.
Skip than 25th copy of HARRY POTTER and LORD OF THE RINGS and buy a silent
film. You might be opening a whole new world to your patrons
-- Jessica Rosner Kino International 333 W 39th St. 503 NY NY 10018 firstname.lastname@example.org