The Silent Cinema in Song, 1896–1929

An Illustrated History and Catalog of Songs Inspired by the Movies and Stars, with a List of Recordings


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About the Book

Musical accompaniment was an important feature of the early moviegoing experience. The quality of a musical score could easily make or break silent films, and the songs sometimes became more popular than the films. At the same time, interestingly, the silent cinema became itself a major subject in popular music, inspiring a flood of songs about the films, the stars and the experience of going to the movies. Today, few of these songs are remembered.
This study begins the documentation of the lost history of songs of the silent cinema. Part One, “Movies and Moviegoing,” chronologically lists and describes songs about movies and moviegoing created between 1896 and 1929. Part Two, “Movie Personalities and Their Films,” provides a brief biography of each person and a description of the songs created about them and for their films. Part Three, “Recordings,” reviews the recordings of these songs and specifies their availability on 78, LP, CD, DVD and the Internet today.

About the Author(s)

The late Ken Wlaschin was former director of creative affairs at the American Film Institute, headed the Institute’s National Film Theater and founded its Los Angeles film festival. He previously directed the British Film Institute’s National Film Theater and London film festival for 14 years. Wlaschin, the author of three other McFarland books, lived in Palm Springs, California.

Bibliographic Details

Ken Wlaschin
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 394
Bibliographic Info: 177 photos, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2009
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3804-4
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5269-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction      1

One: Movies and Moviegoing      3

Two: Movie Personalities and Their Films      55

Three: Recordings      353

Bibliography      363

Index      367

Book Reviews & Awards

“a valuable addition to any film library…well-written, educational, and eminently readable”—ARBA; “loving, well-informed, profusely illustrated volume…valuable…great fun to browse”—; “a valuable guide…sure to appeal to silent film fans of all stripes…a must read”—; “of great interest”—In The Groove Magazine.