You can listen to such eminent writers and scholars as Kevin Brownlow, Rudy Behlmer, Carl Davis, Joseph Musso, Randy Skretvedt, Marilyn Moss, Patricia Hanson, Thomas W. Holland, and John Bengtson. New episodes are being added weekly, and you can subscribe on iTunes (where you can also leave feedback, which helps to spread the word about this worthwhile endeavor).
A young man I met at last year’s San Francisco Silent Film Festival told me he wanted to become a historian. I encouraged him to pursue his passion, through any means at his disposal. Tim Warren has now established a website called Primary Shadows with the slogan “Classic Films as Primary Documents.” Tim is a good writer, and his latest essay compares the 1929 and 1940 versions of The Letter, starring Jeanne Eagels and Bette Davis, respectively, and examines each picture in the context of its time period. I like what I’ve read so far and intend to visit Tim’s site on a regular basis.
New York-based silent film accompanist Ben Model has gone one step farther: he is now posting rare silent short subjects with his piano tracks on YouTube every other week. Ben realized that like other longtime collectors, he has accumulated a number of 16mm prints that, if not unique, are certainly uncommon. Technology now offers him an opportunity to share them with fellow buffs. He also provides informal on-camera introductions and updates. If you enjoy silent comedies with the likes of Lloyd Hamilton, Harry Langdon, Big Boy, British comic Walter Forde, and what can only be called “odds and ends” be sure to check out Ben’s site.
Home movies, and many Hollywood films of this era, are easily circulated because they are out of copyright, having fallen into the public domain. But longtime film distributor Kit Parker, who now produces material for distribution through VCI, has written an interesting piece about the perils of p.d. as he experienced when he first dealt with the 1945 Lewis Milestone film A Walk in the Sun. It’s well worth reading.