Silents for Publics

Gary Handman (
Tue, 4 Jun 2002 16:33:17 -0700 (PDT)

Ten silents in five years! Woah! Let's not move too quickly here.

My list of essentials would include:

Movies Begin (5 vols avail from Kino)
Library of Congress Video Collection (4 vols available from FACETS et al)

Chaplin: (avail from FACETS, et al)
Gold Rush
Modern Times
Chaplin's Essanay comedies
Chaplin's Mutuals

Buster Keaton
The Art of Buster Keaton (Kino)

Slapstick Encyclopedia (8 vols, Kino)

D.W. Griffith (all available on tape and DVD from FACETS)
Birth of a Nation
Way Down East

Early German Film:

M (Fritz Lang) (Kino)
Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Image Entertainment; avail from FACETS)
Metropolis (Kino)
Nosferatu (Murnau) (Kino)

At 02:22 PM 6/4/2002 -0700, you wrote:

> >
> > If a small public library was going to add ten silents to it's collection
> > for the next 5 years - what titles do you think they should add?
> > Barb Read
> > Marysville Public Library
> >
>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

Gary Handman
Media Resources Center
Moffitt Library
UC Berkeley, CA 94720-6000