Silent Film Comedy was a fortuitous combination of art and technology, where the physical comedy skills and artistry passed down from the Commedia dell'Arte, English music hall, and American vaudeville were captured for posterity by the newly created motion picture camera. While the Chaplins, Keatons, and Laurel & Hardys are still remembered and celebrated, this book profiles unsung practitioners such as Billie Ritchie, Marcel Perez, Lige Conley, and George Rowe, with special focus on the neglected comediennes Alice Howell, Gale Henry, Fay Tincher, and Josie Sadler. Popular icons on the order of Mack Sennett, Marie Dressler, Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, and W.C. Fields are re-examined, plus detailed histories of silent comedy teams and kid's comedies are offered. The book also includes selected filmographies and is lavishly illustrated with more than 225 rarely-seen photographs and advertising images. Steve Massa is a leading enthusiast of silent comedy, who has devoted 45 years to researching the genre. A librarian in the Billy Rose Theatre Collection at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, he has organized comedy film programs for the Museum of Modern Art, the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Pordenone Silent Film Festival. In addition to consulting with the Eye Film Institute, Netherlands and other archives, and writing for film journals such as Griffithiana, he is a founding member of Silent Cinema Presentations which produces NYC's Silent Clown Film Series. Steve has also contributed articles and commentary tracks to many comedy DVD collections such as The Forgotten Films of Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, Becoming Charley Chase, and Kino Video's Buster Keaton: The Short Films Collection. From The New York Times: (click here for full review) These are films that only survive because they were reissued in 16-millimeter by companies catering to the home movie market before the days of VHS — hence the title of Mr. Model’s collection, “Accidentally Preserved.” Here, accompanied by program notes by Steve Massa (whose fine book on neglected silent comics, “Lame Brains and Lunatics,” was recently published by BearManor Media), are films featuring classic broad slapstick with stars like Paul Parrott and Clyde Cook, as well as extremely rare work by comedians like Wallace Lupino and Neal Burns, who followed Lloyd into more naturalistic characterizations.
Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle was a silent comedy trailblazer--the teacher of Buster Keaton, a collaborator of Charlie Chaplin—whose reputation was eclipsed for many years by his involvement in one of Hollywood's first scandals. Rediscovering Roscoe is a film by film examination of his work as a performer, director, and all around comedy creator. Having learned and developed his craft on the stage, Arbuckle came to films in 1909. After joining Mack Sennett's Keystone Company he became one of the most important pioneers of American silent comedy, as well as a screen icon known around the world. This filmography details his initial forays into films and mastering of the medium, but also his banishment from the screen and ultimate comeback. It is lavishly illustrated with more than 500 rare photographs and advertising images. Steve Massa is the author of Slaptstick Divas: The Women of Silent Comedy, Lame Brains and Lunatics: The Good, The Bad, and the Forgotten of Silent Comedy, and Marcel Perez: The International Mirth-Maker.
Funny girls, those comediennes from the silent movies, knew shtick from slapstick. Mabel Normand, Marie Dressler, Bebe Daniels, Dorothy Gish, Constance Talmadge, Marion Davies, and Colleen Moore brought riotous laughter to millions around the world, yet their hilarity may seem hidden to those only familiar with Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Laurel and Hardy, and Harold Lloyd. Discover the women of wit, from the supporting players to the stars. Author Steve Massa covers their contributions to comedy with in-depth analyses of the most hilarious heroines of humor, followed by 459 biographies of other droll divas from the famous to the forgotten. Illustrated with 440 rare movie scene shots, formal portraits, candid behind the scenes photos, film frame enlargements, trade magazine advertisements, lobby cards, stage photographs, artist’s renderings and caricatures, and casting guide entries. Bibliography, and an Index. About the author: Steve Massa is the author of Lame Brains and Lunatics: The Good, The Bad, and The Forgotten of Silent Comedy and Marcel Perez: The International Mirth-Maker. He has organized and curated comedy film programs for the Museum of Modern Art, The Library of Congress, The Museum of the Moving Image, The Smithsonian Institution, and The Pordenone Silent Film Festival. "Steve Massa wrote a 600-page book documenting the funny women beloved by the audiences of their day, but have been "overshadowed by the boy's club," to quote the author. Slapstick Divas: The Women of Silent Comedy features extensive biographies of such legends as Mabel Normand, Pearl White, Billie Rhodes, Ruth Stonehouse, Marie Dressler, Betty Browne, Merta Stering, Vera Steadman, Jobyna Ralston, Anita Garvin and many others. The author presents their stories both academically and through enjoyable prose, with the closing fourth of the book serving as an encyclopedia. Where many books about silent slapstick focus on 101 for the beginner, this book serves as Silent Slapstick 102. Some of these "Divas" were completely new to me and caused me to pull out a few of the silent slapstick DVDs from my shelf to view. Sprinkled with photographs and vintage advertisements, this is an essential book for those who thought they knew more about silent slapstick than the average fanatic." - Martin Grams. Jr.
Companion guide to the DVD "The Mishaps of Musty Suffer" with information about the films, their production and distribution history, bios on the cast, and a complete detailed filmography, plus never-before-seen production stills and images. Written by renowned film historian Steve Massa (Lame Brains and Lunatics, BearManor 2013), the companion guide fits inside the DVD case for handy reference.
Alice Howell (1886-1961) is slowly gaining recognition and regard as arguably the most important slapstick comedienne of the silent era. This new study, the first book-length appreciation, identifies her place in the comedy hierarchy alongside the best-known of silent comediennes, Mabel Normand. Like Normand, Howell learned her craft with Mack Sennett and Charlie Chaplin. Beginning her screen career in 1914, Howell quickly developed a distinctive style and eccentric attire and mannerisms, successfully hiding her good looks, and was soon identified as the "Female Charlie Chaplin." Howell became a star of comedy shorts in 1915 and continued her career through 1928 and the advent of sound in film. While she is today recognized as a pioneering female filmmaker, during her career she never expressed much interest in her work, seeing it only as a means to an end, with her income carefully invested in real estate. It has taken many years for her to gain her rightful place in film history, not only as a comedienne, but also as matriarch of a prominent American family that includes son-in-law and director George Stevens and grandson George Stevens Jr., founder of the American Film Institute and the Kennedy Center Honors, who provides a foreword.
Marcel Perez: The International Mirth-Maker examines the life and career of perhaps the best silent film comedian whom no one's ever heard of. One of the founding fathers of film comedy whose career spanned the silent era as a comic, director, and writer, Marcel Perez is a missing link between the early European and American cinemas, and in the book author Steve Massa follows his work, and also explores the very beginnings of film comedy. Tracking Perez's career through industry trade journals and film fragments from archives all over the world, Massa also includes a detailed filmography and lavishly illustrates with more that 50 rare photographs. Be sure to look for The Marcel Perez Collection DVD from Undercrank Productions, available on Amazon.com. The DVD contains 10 rare Perez comedies – 5 made in Italy (preserved by EYE Filmmuseum, Netherlands) and 5 made in the USA (preserved by the Library of Congress), seen in new digital transfers with new musical scores by Ben Model.
This is a completely new, revised, and expanded version of the book first published by Scarecrow in 1976. It documents the work of America's first major film company, Vitagraph, from its beginnings in the 1890s through its sale to Warner Bros. in 1925.
Drawing on the unique resources of the Oxford English Dictionary and offering coverage of over 6,000 slang words and expressions from the Cockney 'abaht' to the American term 'zowie', Stone the Crows is the most lively and authoritative dictionary of slang from the 20th and 21st centuries.
Filmographies Reordered by Authoritative Organizational and Personal Names from Lauritzen and Lundquist's American Film-index
Author: Paul C. Spehr
Publisher: McFarland Publishing
Category: Performing Arts
Einar Lauritzen and Gunar Lundquist published the definitive American Film Index, 1908-1915, and its companion volume for the years 1916 through 1920. The current work indexes Lauritzen and Lundquists works and stands in its own right as a definitive reference work on early American filmmaking, with or without access to the ground-breaking predecessor volume. This work lists 33,664 films, 23,159 names, 1,025 companies and 785 works that were adapted into movies. The work includes extensive cross-referencing and "see" references for alternate titles and names.
"One of the most engaging and brilliantly crafted historical works since Margaret Mitchell's great classic." Barbara Casey Author, The Coach's Wife .it was about the land. It is July of 1859, a month of sweltering dog days and feverish emotional bombast. Life is good for widower Rundell Ingram and his hazel-eyed, roan-haired son, Hamilton. Between the two of them, they take care of Moccasin Hollow, their rustic dogtrot ancestral home, a sprawling non-slave plantation in the rolling farming country outside Queensborough Towne in east Georgia. Adjoining Ingram lands is Wisteria Bend, the vast slave-holding plantation of Andrew and Corinthia Greer, their daughter Sarah, and son Benjamin. Both families share generations of long-accepted traditions, and childhood playmates are no longer children. The rangy, even-tempered Norman-Scottish young Hamilton is smitten with Sarah, who has become an enticing capricious beauty-the young lovers more in love with each passing day, and only pleasant times ahead of them. .but a blood tide of war is sweeping across the South, a tide that might be impossible to stand before.