Examines more than 1,000 silent films in light of contemporary social, political, and national trends during the silent years.
Examining 40 cycles or themes and more than 1,000 silent films, the author attempts to discern how the screen reflected contemporary social, political, and national trends during the silent years. The period has been divided into the early silent years (1900-1919), with films of one or two reels dominating for the first 15 years, and the later silent period (1920-1929), known as the Golden Age of the Silents, in which feature-length films dominated. One of the author's goals is to establish the success, and sometimes the failure, of these films to capture the social and political times of their release. Other film books approach the dramas and comedies by genre, not by specific cycles, which makes this work unique.
The book focuses on both short works and feature-length films that are generally arranged chronologically under specific chapters. Each entry lists the title, year of release, director, and original source, if provided by the film. The major players are often included within the plot summary and analysis. Remakes and films with alternate titles are noted.