A report on Silent film

A still from the 1921 Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, one of the highest-grossing silent films.
Charlie Chaplin, widely acclaimed as one of the most iconic actors of the silent era, c. undefined 1919
The Horse in Motion, animated from a plate by Eadweard Muybridge, made with an array of cameras set up along a racetrack
Roundhay Garden Scene, which has a running time of just over two seconds, was filmed in 1888. It is believed to be the world's earliest surviving motion-picture film. The elderly lady in black is Sarah Whitley, the mother-in-law of filmmaker Louis Le Prince; she died ten days after this scene was filmed.
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) used stylized inter-titles.
Lillian Gish, the "First Lady of the American Cinema", was a leading star in the silent era with one of the longest careers—1912 to 1987.
Cinématographe Lumière at the Institut Lumière, France. Such cameras had no audio recording devices built into the cameras.
A scene from The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari starring Friedrich Feher—an example of an amber-tinted film
Price for a hand-colored print of Ben Hur in 1908
A still from Saved from the Titanic (1912), which featured survivors of the disaster. It is now among those considered a lost film.
Lon Chaney (active 1913-1930) was one of the most talented spinet character actors of all time. His unique ability to transform into the most physically grotesque characters earned him the universal name, “Man of a Thousand Faces”.

Film with no synchronized recorded sound .

- Silent film
A still from the 1921 Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, one of the highest-grossing silent films.

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1908 poster advertising Gaumont's sound films. The Chronomégaphone, designed for large halls, employed compressed air to amplify the recorded sound.

Sound film

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1908 poster advertising Gaumont's sound films. The Chronomégaphone, designed for large halls, employed compressed air to amplify the recorded sound.
Image from The Dickson Experimental Sound Film (1894 or 1895), produced by W.K.L. Dickson as a test of the early version of the Edison Kinetophone, combining the Kinetoscope and phonograph.
Eric M. C. Tigerstedt (1887–1925) was one of pioneers of sound-on-film technology. Tigerstedt in 1915.
Poster featuring Sarah Bernhardt and giving the names of eighteen other "famous artists" shown in "living visions" at the 1900 Paris Exposition using the Gratioulet-Lioret system.
Newspaper ad for a 1925 presentation of Phonofilm shorts, touting their technological distinction: no phonograph.
Poster for Warner Bros.' Don Juan (1926), the first major motion picture to premiere with a full-length synchronized soundtrack. Audio recording engineer George Groves, the first in Hollywood to hold the job, would supervise sound on Woodstock, 44 years later.
Western Electric engineer E. B. Craft, at left, demonstrating the Vitaphone projection system. A Vitaphone disc had a running time of about 11 minutes, enough to match that of a 1000 ft reel of 35 mm film.
Newspaper ad from a fully equipped theater in Tacoma, Washington, showing The Jazz Singer, on Vitaphone, and a Fox newsreel, on Movietone, together on the same bill.
Dorothy Mackaill and Milton Sills in The Barker, First National's inaugural talkie. The film was released in December 1928, two months after Warner Bros. acquired a controlling interest in the studio.
The Prague-raised star of Blackmail (1929), Anny Ondra, was an industry favorite, but her thick accent became an issue when the film was reshot with sound. Without post-dubbing capacity, her dialogue was simultaneously recorded offscreen by actress Joan Barry. Ondra's British film career was over.
The first Soviet talkie, Putevka v zhizn (The Road to Life; 1931), concerns the issue of homeless youth. As Marcel Carné put it, "in the unforgettable images of this spare and pure story we can discern the effort of an entire nation."
Director Heinosuke Gosho's Madamu to nyobo (The Neighbor's Wife and Mine; 1931), a production of the Shochiku studio, was the first major commercial and critical success of Japanese sound cinema.
Alam Ara premiered March 14, 1931, in Bombay. The first Indian talkie was so popular that "police aid had to be summoned to control the crowds." It was shot with the Tanar single-system camera, which recorded sound directly onto the film.
Show Girl in Hollywood (1930), one of the first sound films about sound filmmaking, depicts microphones dangling from the rafters and multiple cameras shooting simultaneously from soundproofed booths. The poster shows a camera unboothed and unblimped, as it might be when shooting a musical number with a prerecorded soundtrack.
Example of a variable-area sound track—the width of the white area is proportional to the amplitude of the audio signal at each instant.
The unkind cover of Photoplay, December 1929, featuring Norma Talmadge. As movie historian David Thomson puts it, "sound proved the incongruity of [her] salon prettiness and tenement voice."
Premiering February 1, 1929, MGM's The Broadway Melody was the first smash-hit talkie from a studio other than Warner Bros. and the first sound film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture.
Poster for Acabaram-se os otários (1929), performed in Portuguese. The first Brazilian talkie was also the first anywhere in an Iberian language.
Westfront 1918 (1930) was celebrated for its expressive re-creation of battlefield sounds, like the doomful whine of an unseen grenade in flight.
Image of sumo wrestlers from Melodie der Welt (1929), "one of the initial successes of a new art form", in André Bazin's description. "It flung the whole earth onto the screen in a jigsaw of visual images and sounds."

A sound film is a motion picture with synchronized sound, or sound technologically coupled to image, as opposed to a silent film.

Chaplin in the early 1920s

Charlie Chaplin

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Chaplin in the early 1920s
Seven-year-old Chaplin (middle centre, leaning slightly) at the Central London District School for paupers, 1897
A teenage Chaplin in the play Sherlock Holmes
Advertisement from Chaplin's American tour with the Fred Karno comedy company, 1913
Chaplin and Edna Purviance, his regular leading lady, in Work (1915)
By 1916, Chaplin was a global phenomenon. Here he shows off some of his merchandise, c. 1918.
A Dog's Life (1918). It was around this time that Chaplin began to conceive the Tramp as a sad clown.
The Kid (1921), with Jackie Coogan, combined comedy with drama and was Chaplin's first film to exceed an hour.
The Tramp resorts to eating his boot in The Gold Rush (1925).
Lita Grey, whose bitter divorce from Chaplin caused a scandal
City Lights (1931) is regarded as one of Chaplin's finest works.
Modern Times (1936), described by Jérôme Larcher as a "grim contemplation on the automatization of the individual"
Chaplin satirised Adolf Hitler in The Great Dictator (1940).
Chaplin's fourth wife and widow, Oona
Monsieur Verdoux (1947), a dark comedy about a serial killer, marked a significant departure for Chaplin.
Limelight (1952) was a serious and autobiographical film for Chaplin. His character, Calvero, is an ex–music hall star (described in this image as a "Tramp Comedian") forced to deal with his loss of popularity.
Chaplin with his wife Oona and six of their children in 1961
Chaplin (right) receiving his Honorary Academy Award from Jack Lemmon in 1972. It was the first time he had been to the United States in twenty years.
Chaplin's grave in Corsier-sur-Vevey, Switzerland
A 1922 image of Charlie Chaplin Studios, where all of Chaplin's films between 1918 and 1952 were produced
Chaplin playing the cello in 1915
Chaplin as the Tramp, cinema's "most universal icon", in 1915
A Chaplin impersonator and his audience in San Sebastián, Spain, in 1919
Chaplin memorial plaque in St Paul's, Covent Garden, London
Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6755 Hollywood Boulevard.

Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin Jr. (16 April 1889 – 25 December 1977) was an English comic actor, filmmaker, and composer who rose to fame in the era of silent film.

Lon Chaney in London After Midnight (1927), one of the most sought-after lost films. The last known print was destroyed in the 1965 MGM vault fire, leaving only a set of production stills as a visual record.

Lost film

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Feature or short film that no longer exists in any studio archive, private collection, public archive or the U.S. Library of Congress.

Feature or short film that no longer exists in any studio archive, private collection, public archive or the U.S. Library of Congress.

Lon Chaney in London After Midnight (1927), one of the most sought-after lost films. The last known print was destroyed in the 1965 MGM vault fire, leaving only a set of production stills as a visual record.
Theda Bara in Cleopatra (1917). Four hundred stills, twenty seconds of the film itself, and the intro are known to have survived. Because a small loop of the film exists, "Cleopatra" in the loose sense could be considered a partially lost film.
The First Men in the Moon (1919), a lost British film, reputedly "the first movie to ever be based entirely on a famous science fiction novel"
One sought-after loss is the legendary deleted scene from the Three Stooges short Malice in the Palace. It features the final performance from “superstooge” Curly Howard. The tapes were misplaced, and the only visual evidence is a lobby card and written dialogue.
Tenderloin (1928), starring Dolores Costello, was the second Vitaphone feature to have talking sequences. It is considered a lost film because only its soundtrack is known to have survived.
Humor Risk (1921), now long-lost, was the first Marx Brothers film. Pictured in a photograph the same year, from (left to right), are Zeppo, Groucho, Harpo, and Chico.
Gold Diggers of Broadway (1929), the third Warner Bros. film shot in Technicolor, is a "partially lost film"
John Wayne in the lost Western The Oregon Trail (1936)
Production still of those involved with Humor Risk (1921), now long-lost, the first Marx Brothers film.

Most lost films are from the silent film and early talkie era, from about 1894 to 1930.

Brownlow in 2019

Kevin Brownlow

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British film historian, television documentary-maker, filmmaker, author, and film editor.

British film historian, television documentary-maker, filmmaker, author, and film editor.

Brownlow in 2019

He is best known for his work documenting the history of the silent era, having become interested in silent film at the age of eleven.

Theatrical release poster by Hap Hadley

City Lights

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Theatrical release poster by Hap Hadley
The Tramp meets the Blind Flower Girl and falls in love.
Charlie Chaplin with Albert Einstein at the premiere of City Lights

City Lights is a 1931 American silent romantic comedy film written, produced, directed by, and starring Charlie Chaplin.

Dolores del Río in The Fugitive (1947)

Dolores del Río

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Mexican actress.

Mexican actress.

Dolores del Río in The Fugitive (1947)
Commemorative plaque at the house where Dolores del Río was born, located in Durango City, Mexico. It reads: Dolores del Rio. In the history of photography there are two perfect faces: hers and Greta Garbo's
Dolores Del Río with her mother in 1930
Del Río in Joanna (1925)
Del Río with Victor McLaglen and Edmund Lowe in What Price Glory? (1926)
Dolores del Río in ''Evangeline (1929)
Dolores del Río in Bird of Paradise (1932)
Del Río with Everett Marshall in I Live for Love (1935). She is wearing an Orry-Kelly gown
Del Río with Joseph Cotten in Journey into Fear (1942)
Del Río with Pedro Armendáriz in Flor silvestre (1943)
Dolores del Río in The Fugitive (1947)
Dolores del Río in a photograph taken by Annemarie Heinrich, c. 1948
Del Río with Elvis Presley in Flaming Star (1960)
Del Río in Cheyenne Autumn (1964)
Del Río is considered a pioneer on wearing the two piece swimsuit later known as the bikini. Here she is posing in a publicity photograph for the film In Caliente (1935) while wearing this type of clothing
Del Río with Orson Welles in 1941
Dolores del Río grave located at Panteón de Dolores in Mexico City
Portrait of Dolores del Río on exhibition poster. Work by Diego Rivera at the Rufino Tamayo Museum, Mexico City, 1983
Photograph taken in 2018 of the sculpture Hollywood and La Brea Gateway located at the Walk of Fame's west end Four Ladies of Hollywood, which includes an statue of Dolores
Dolores del Río statue in the Chapultepec Park in Mexico City
Dolores del Río's star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Del Río in Ramona

Del Río came to be considered a sort of feminine version of Rudolph Valentino, a "female Latin Lover", in her years during the American "silent" era.

Carl Davis

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American-born conductor and composer who has made his home in the United Kingdom since 1961.

American-born conductor and composer who has made his home in the United Kingdom since 1961.

He has written music for more than 100 television programmes, but is best known for creating music to accompany silent films.

Buster Keaton

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American actor, comedian and filmmaker.

American actor, comedian and filmmaker.

Six-year-old Buster and his parents Myra and Joe Keaton, in a publicity photo for their vaudeville act
Theater poster for Convict 13 (1920)
Keaton (center) in 1923 with (from left) writers Joe Mitchell, Clyde Bruckman, Jean Havez, and Eddie Cline
Keaton (left) with Roscoe Arbuckle (top) and Al St. John in still from Out West (1918)
With Charlotte Greenwood in one of his first "talkies", Parlor, Bedroom and Bath (1931)
Keaton, Thelma Todd and Jimmy Durante in Speak Easily (1932)
Keaton getting his foot stuck in railroad tracks at Knott's Berry Farm in 1956
Keaton as a time traveler in the 1961 Twilight Zone episode "Once Upon a Time"
With Joe E. Brown in the 1962 Route 66 episode "Journey to Nineveh"
Buster Keaton in "The Frozen North" (1922)
Gilbert Roland (left) with Keaton in San Sebastián, Spain, August 1930
Keaton with Natalie Talmadge and Joseph in 1922
Keaton and wife Eleanor in 1965
Keaton's grave at Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills)
Keaton's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Keaton in costume with his signature pork pie hat, c. 1939

He is best known for his silent film work, in which his trademark was physical comedy accompanied by a stoic, deadpan expression that earned him the nickname "The Great Stone Face".

Animated GIF of Prof. Stampfer's Stroboscopische Scheibe No. X (Trentsensky & Vieweg 1833)

Film

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Work of visual art that simulates experiences and otherwise communicates ideas, stories, perceptions, feelings, beauty, or atmosphere through the use of moving images.

Work of visual art that simulates experiences and otherwise communicates ideas, stories, perceptions, feelings, beauty, or atmosphere through the use of moving images.

Animated GIF of Prof. Stampfer's Stroboscopische Scheibe No. X (Trentsensky & Vieweg 1833)
An animated GIF of a photographic sequence shot by Eadweard Muybridge in 1878. His chronophotographic works can be regarded as very short movies that were recorded before there was a proper way to replay the material in motion.
A frame from Roundhay Garden Scene, the world's earliest surviving film produced using a motion picture camera, by Louis Le Prince, 1888
A famous shot from Georges Méliès Le Voyage dans la Lune (A Trip to the Moon) (1902), an early narrative film and also an early science fiction film.
Salah Zulfikar, one of the most popular actors in the golden age of Egyptian Cinema
This 16 mm spring-wound Bolex "H16" Reflex camera is a popular entry level camera used in film schools.
Founded in 1912, the Babelsberg Studio near Berlin was the first large-scale film studio in the world, and the forerunner to Hollywood. It still produces global blockbusters every year.
The Lumière Brothers, who were among the first filmmakers
Salah Zulfikar and Faten Hamama in the premiere of Bain Al-Atlal ("Among the Ruins") in Cairo, 1959
An animated image of a horse, made using eight pictures.
An animation of the retouched Sallie Garner card from The Horse in Motion series (1878–1879) by Muybridge. His chronophotographic works can be regarded as very short movies that were recorded before there was a proper way to replay the material in motion.

Until sound film became commercially practical in the late 1920s, motion pictures were a purely visual art, but these innovative silent films had gained a hold on the public imagination.

Theatrical release poster

The Jazz Singer

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1927 American musical drama film directed by Alan Crosland.

1927 American musical drama film directed by Alan Crosland.

Theatrical release poster
Jack and his mother (Eugenie Besserer)
Jack Robin on stage, in a publicity shot representing the film's final scene
Lobby card
A blackfaced Al Jolson starring in Robinson Crusoe, Jr.—the performance that inspired the story that led to the play that became the film The Jazz Singer
One of many alternative posters—this one designed for theaters charging 25 cents; the image of Jack, in a suggestive nightrobe, carrying Mary does appear in the film. It appears shortly after Jack sees Mary perform for the first time.
Mary (May McAvoy) and Jack, preparing for dress rehearsal: the first blackface scene

Its release heralded the commercial ascendance of sound films and effectively marked the end of the silent film era.