Category Archives: Books

Queer film history: Diana McLellan’s “The Girls: Sappho goes to Hollywood”

At this point in time, it’s by no means a revelation that a number of Hollywood actresses in the 1920s and 1930s loved women, including major stars like Alla Nazimova, Greta Garbo, and Marlene Dietrich. The private lives of these … Continue reading

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Book review: “The Film Explainer” by Gert Hofmann

My grandfather Karl Hofmann (1873-1944) worked for many years in the Apollo cinema on the Helenenstrasse in Limbach/Saxony. I knew him towards the end of his life, with his artist’s hat, his walking stick, his broad gold wedding ring that … Continue reading

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Shanghai modern: the cinematic fiction of Mu Shiying

Shanghai in the 1930s: a glittering city, humming to the rhythm of its jazz-filled dance halls, streets lit up by neon signs, art deco buildings springing up like mushrooms. A whirlwind of dance, images of film stars vying with advertisements … Continue reading

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Cinematic poetry: “Silents” by Claire Crowther

A recurring dream about speechlessness, the visage of Renée Jeanne Falconetti in La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc, the sight of voices without sound—these elements were the genesis of a recent poetry book, Silents, by Claire Crowther. Finding herself intensely moved … Continue reading

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Silent film fiction: Pearl White, Bert Williams, and Missing Reels

It’s been some time since I’ve done a book review post. Here I’ll talk about my recent fiction reads dealing with silent films or film performers: one novel about a lost film search, and two fictional biographies, tracing the lives … Continue reading

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Book review: Jean Desmet’s Dream Factory: The Adventurous Years of Film (1907-1916)

The Desmet collection is a key jewel in the crown of EYE Filmmuseum: a huge and relatively intact corpus of films, posters, promotional materials, and company records deriving from the business activities of Jean Desmet, a key film distributor and theatre … Continue reading

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Book roundup! Film histories: Italy, Japan, pre-Revolutionary Russia; mid 1920s US culture; copyright & the US film industry

I’ve been meaning to write up my thoughts on silent film histories more often. Here, have a roundup of what I’ve been reading over the last two or three months! The Magic Mirror: Moviemaking in Russia, 1908-1918 by Denise J. … Continue reading

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