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Silent Movies: The Birth of Film and the Triumph of Movie Cu

Read any good books lately?

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Silent Movies: The Birth of Film and the Triumph of Movie Cu

Postby pvitari » February 7th, 2010, 3:57 pm

Has anyone had a look at Peter Kobel's Silent Movies: The Birth of Film and the Triumph of Movie Culture? It has two forwards, by Martin Scorsese and Kevin Brownlow. It's a giant coffee-table book with loads of pictures, and I was leafing through it at Borders and thinking about getting it, when I noticed that whoever wrote the captions for the illustrations had mistakenly attributed a still of Lucky Star to 7th Heaven. That was enough to make me put it back on the shelf, but now I'm thinking that was just too harsh. I'd like to get other opinions about this book if anyone has read it.

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Re: Silent Movies: The Birth of Film and the Triumph of Movie Cu

Postby phil noir » February 16th, 2010, 7:26 am

Hi pvitari

Yes, I have this book. Coincidentally, I was looking through it a few weeks ago (after having seen Lucky Star for the first time), and noticed the same mistake you did.

The range of illustrations is certainly very good, but I remember being a bit disappointed with the text. The title led me to believe that I would be getting more of a thesis, a fresh slant on the development of silent cinema, but it really isn't. The text is fairly... I don't want to say, run of the mill, but if you've been an enthusiast for a few years, I'm not sure you'd discover a huge amount you didn't already know. And as you'd expect, given it's scope and the amount of room given over to the pictures, it doesn't go into a lot of detail.

I suppose what I'm saying is that the text is definitely subservient to the illustrations, but that the illustrations are great.

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Re: Silent Movies: The Birth of Film and the Triumph of Movie Cu

Postby charliechaplinfan » February 16th, 2010, 2:40 pm

Hi pvitari,

I have the Kobel book, it was a Christmas gift a couple of year ago. It's a lovely looking book, looks great on the coffee table, the illustrations are the best thing about the book. I guess though I'm rather picky when it comes to reading about the silent era, after reading The Parade's Gone By by Kevin Brownlow, I feel I've been spoiled. Two other books about the silent era that I have are William Everson's American Silent Film and Edward Wageknacht's Movies in the Age of Innocence. If you want a book with illustrations you can't beat The Pioneers, the companion book to the Hollywood series. I've bought both my own copy and a copy for a friend quite cheaply one off and the other from marketplace. Sorry if I'm already preaching to the converted by I love books and am constantly looking for reviews.
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