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The Survival of American Silent Feature Films: 1912-1929

The Survival of American Silent Feature Films: 1912-1929 published on

Authored by Council on Library and Information Resources and The Library of Congress

The era of the American silent feature film lasted from 1912 until 1929. During that time, filmmakers established the language of cinema, and the motion pictures they created reached a height of artistic sophistication. These films, with their recognizable stars and high production values, spread American culture around the world. Silent feature films disappeared from sight soon after the coming of sound, and many vanished from existence.

This report focuses on those titles that have managed to survive to the present day and represents the first comprehensive survey of the survival of American silent feature films. The American Film Institute Catalog of Feature Films documents 10,919 silent feature films of American origin released through 1930. Treasures from the Film Archives, published by the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF), is the primary source of information regarding silent film survival in the archival community. The FIAF information has been enhanced by information from corporations, libraries, and private collectors.

We have good documentation on what American silent feature films were produced and released. This study quantifies the “what,” “where,” and “why” of their survival. The survey was designed to answer five questions:

Publication Date:
Apr 11 2014
149759524X / 9781497595248
Page Count:
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
8.5″ x 11″
Full Color
Related Categories:
Art / Film & Video


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