The Movies in the Age of Innocence, 3d ed.

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About the Book

Upon its original publication in 1962, Edward Wagenknecht’s The Movies in the Age of Innocence immediately earned recognition as a classic in the history of early cinema. A tribute to American silent film from the first-person perspective of one who grew up with the medium, the volume surveys the pre-feature and feature era of silent films from a distinctly literary standpoint and considers the careers of directors like D. W. Griffith and Erich von Stroheim, and actors such as Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford and Lillian Gish. With nearly 90 illustrations from early films, fan magazines and brochures, indices of film titles and names, and an appendix containing Wagenknecht’s otherwise unavailable 1927 pamphlet Lillian Gish: An Interpretation, this third edition retains its significance today.

About the Author(s)

Edward Wagenknecht (1900–2004) was the author of well over 60 titles, covering a wide variety of subjects, most notably British and American literary biography and criticism. In addition to his work on the early film, he wrote of still earlier actors and actresses from the legitimate stage, and of the history of New England and Chicago.

Bibliographic Details

Edward Wagenknecht
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 224
Bibliographic Info: 88 photos, appendix, notes, indexes
Copyright Date: 2014
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9462-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1764-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Foreword by Anthony Slide  1

Preface to the Third Edition by Walter Wagenknecht  7

The 1962 and 1971 Prefaces by Edward Wagenknecht  13

Introduction: Of Film and I, and How This Book Unwittingly Got Itself Started  15

I. “Came the Dawn”  31

II. “D. W. Griffith Presents…”  58

III. “America’s Sweetheart”  97

IV. “Famous Players in Famous Plays”  123

V. “The Ladies—God Bless Them!”  156

Appendix: Lillian Gish: An Interpretation  177

Other Books by Edward Wagenknecht  185

Chapter Notes  187

Index of Names  205

Index of Titles  211

Book Reviews & Awards

Reviews of previous editions: “We have never had first-hand audience-eye testimony on the achievements of this period before and here, at last, it is”—Richard Griffith, [late] Curator of Films, The Museum of Modern Art, New York City; “Mr. Wagenknecht has striven to give a portrayal faithful to the truth and has superbly achieved this goal in The Movies in the Age of Innocence”—Mary Pickford; “it is the best book on films I have ever read”—Lillian Gish; “as vivid and readable as a fan magazine…packed with information, a lot of it difficult or impossible to come by elsewhere.”—Times Literary Supplement.