Re: Silents for Publics

John Holland (
Wed, 5 Jun 2002 06:46:12 -0700 (PDT)

Somebody will have to jump in and say it, so it might as well be me:

"M" is not a silent film (it is however a must-have for all collections), and I
believe that the vhs is still a Home Vision release, and a Criterion DVD.

Gary Handman wrote:

> 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
> Intolerance
> 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
> > >
> >
> >Barbara:
> >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
> Director
> Media Resources Center
> Moffitt Library
> UC Berkeley, CA 94720-6000
> 510-643-8566

John Holland
Chicago Public Library
Media Express
(312) 747-4100