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Silent Cinema


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Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION TO THE NEW EDITION: 1,000 words.- CHAPTER 1 - DIGITAL: 5,000 words.- New chapter on silent cinema as experienced through new media.- CHAPTER 2 - PEOPLE: 4,000 words.- New chapter on silent film personnel, reception, and spectatorship.- CHAPTER 3 - CELLULOID: 5,000 words.- Revised version of Silent Cinema, Chapter 1: The Romance of Celluloid.- CHAPTER 4 - MACHINES: 4,000 words.- New chapter on cameras, printers and projectors.- CHAPTER 5 - COLORS: 6,000 words.- Revised version of Silent Cinema, Chapter 2: The Way of All Flesh Tones.- CHAPTER 6 - SOUNDS: 4,000 words.- New chapter on sound accompaniment to silent films.- CHAPTER 7 - BUILDINGS 4,000 words.- New chapter on silent film studios, laboratories and theatres.- CHAPTER 8 - GUARDIANS: 6,000 words.- Revised version of Silent Cinema, Chapter 4: Raiders of the Lost Nitrate.- CHAPTER 9 - CONSERVATION 7,000 words.- Revised version of Silent Cinema, Chapter 3: The Ethics of Film Preservation.- CHAPTER 10 - INVENTORIES: 5,000 words.- Revised version of Silent Cinema, Chapter 5: F for Filmography.- CHAPTER 11 - RESEARCH: 10,000 words.- Revised version of Silent Cinema, Chapter 6: Histoire de Detective.- CHAPTER 12 - CURATORSHIP: 4,000 words.- New chapter on silent film exhibition in the 21st century.- .- APPENDIX A - FILM ARCHIVES AND RESEARCH COLLECTIONS: 1,500 words.- Revised version of Silent Cinema, Appendix 2: Moving Image Archives.- APPENDIX B - IDENTIFICATION OF EASTMAN KODAK FILM: 250 words.- Formerly in Silent Cinema, Appendix 4: Identification of Eastman Kodak Film.- APPENDIX C - IDENTIFICATION OF PATHE FILMS: 250 words.- Formerly in Silent Cinema, Appendix 5: Identification of Pathe Films.- APPENDIX D - IDENTIFICATION OF MELIES FILMS: 250 words.- Revised version of Silent Cinema, Appendix 3: Identification of Melies Films.- APPENDIX E - THE USUAL SUSPECTS: 1,000 words.- New appendix: An annotated checklist of the 'canonical' silent films.- APPENDIX F - FILM MEASUREMENT TABLES: 1,500 words<.- Formerly in Silent Cinema, Appendix 1: Film Measurement Tables.- APPENDIX G - THE FILM PRAYER: 250 words.- Formerly in Silent Cinema, Appendix 7: The Film Prayer.- INDEX OF NAMES AND SUBJECTS.

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A comprehensive introduction to silent cinema as a cultural, technological and industrial phenomenon by a leading expert.

About the Author

Paolo Cherchi Usai is Senior Curator of the Motion Picture Department of George Eastman House, founder of the L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation and of the annual Pordenone Silent Film Festival. Cherchi Usai's publications include The Griffith Project, co-published by the British Film Institute and Le Giornate, in 12 volumes (1996-2012); The Death of Cinema: History, Cultural Memory, and the Digital Dark Age (2001); and Burning Passions: An Introduction to the Study of Silent Cinema (1994).


Paolo Cherchi Usai, renowned film curator, filmmaker, and programmer, has created an engaging saga of the diverse ways in which people have made films-and rescued them for others to enjoy. Silent Cinema is a rare feast of information, ideas, and insights. Using Melies' moon-shot as a recurring example, Cherchi Usai surveys everything from perforations and acting performances to musical accompaniment, each treated with clarity and wit. Particularly valuable are the nuanced accounts of how digital technology has transformed our attitudes toward silent films. The reader comes away with a deeper appreciation of the patient curators who have dedicated themselves to making 'old cinema' perpetually new. * David Bordwell, Jacques Ledoux Professor Emeritus of Film Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA *
For decades, Paolo Cherchi Usai's book had been a definitive and inspiring guide to silent cinema-and stays so today when this formerly out-of-the-way and obscure field of study has entered the realm of mainstream entertainment. It stays so because Cherchi Usai has kept it up to date-by way of questioning rather than going along with contemporary dogmas and illusions. Silent film was a performative rather than a technologically reproductive medium; digitization of the photochemical is a deadly remedy instead of a hoped-for panacea. No stone unturned. I fully endorse Paolo Cherchi Usai's daringly cautionary guide. * Yuri Tsivian, William Colvin Emeritus Professor at the University of Chicago, USA *
This third edition of an already classic introduction to cinema's 'silent' era may be the best of all. Instead of merely updating his pioneering text, Paolo Cherchi Usai has re-thought what the early period means to us today, and addresses the 'digital natives' who will be its main readers. It's hard to imagine a more enthusiastic or authoritative introduction. * Ian Christie , Anniversary Professor of Film and Media History, Birkbeck, University of London, UK *

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