Radicalism in American Silent Films, 1909–1929

A Filmography and History


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About the Book

This work identifies 436 American silent films released between 1909 and 1929 that engaged the issues of militant labor and revolutionary radicalism. It begins with an extended introduction and analytical chapters that investigate the ways in which the American motion picture industry portrayed the interrelationships between labor radicals, exploitative capitalists, socialist idealists and Bolsheviks during this critical twenty-year period.
Each entry contains a detailed plot synopsis, citations to primary sources, coding indicating the presence or absence of 14 predominant discernible biases (including anti- and pro-capitalism, socialism, revolution and labor), and subject coding keyed to 64 related terms and concepts (including agitators, Bolshevism, bombs, female radicals, militias, mobs, political refugees, and strikes). These statistical data included in the filmography are presented in a series of charts and are fully integrated into the historical-critical text. Total number and percentage statistics for the instances of these coded biases and traits are given per year, per era, and overall.

About the Author(s)

Film historian and media propaganda specialist Michael S. Shull currently teaches film history at George Washington University and teaches mass communications at Montgomery College (both in the Washington, D.C., area). He lives in Germantown, Maryland.

Bibliographic Details

Michael Slade Shull
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 355
Bibliographic Info: 71 photos, glossary, appendices, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2011 [2000]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4247-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1103-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii

Preface      1


Red-Tinted Flickers of History      5

CHAPTER 1      1

A Red Blur: The Mixed Message on Class and Radicalism in Progressive Era Films, 1909–1917      21

CHAPTER 2      2

The Red Scourge on Film: From Wartime Xenophobia to Being in the Vanguard of Anti-Bolshevik Hysteria, 1918–1920      71

CHAPTER 3      3

From the East to the East Side: White Flight from the Red Hordes to America, 1921–1929      111


How to Read the Filmography      139

Glossary of Coding Terms      140

Yearly Film Totals, 1909–1929      144

Coding Statistics, 1909–1917      144

Coding Statistics, 1918–1920      146

Coding Statistics, 1921–1929      147

Coding Totals, 1909–1929      148

Predominant Discernible Biases, 1909–1917      149

Predominant Discernible Biases, 1918–1920      149

Predominant Discernible Biases, 1921–1929      150

Predominant Discernible Biases: Totals, 1909–1929      150


Appendix 1: Selected Foreign Films Released in the United States 1909–1915      283

Appendix 2: Topical American Shorts, with Coding, 1918–1920      287

Appendix 3: Selected American Fictional Shorts, 1921–1927      293

Notes      297

Bibliography      319

Index      333

Book Reviews & Awards

Choice Outstanding Academic Title
“this painstakingly researched book contains an extensive bibliography and index, as well as a comprehensive filmography with standard production information for individual, thematically coded entries and vital information about surviving film prints and their location. The unique study is valuable…recommended”—Library Journal; “a stunning achievement”—Choice; “fascinating…will be of value”—ARBA; “excellent…a wonderful book”—Film & History; “documents more than 400 American features and short subjects, released between 1909 and 1929, that deal with the issues of militant labor and revolutionary radicalism”—Classic Images.