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John Howard Reid

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Publisher:  Lulu ISBN-10:  1435710738 Type: 


Copyright:  June 26, 2008 ISBN-13:  9781435710733

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Around 500 movies from the silent and early talkie era are now available on DVD. Of course this figure includes shorts as well as features, plus 40 or 50 films that are available in multiple versions.

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Fans of Vintage Films

 This handbook, sub-titled "A Classic Movie Fan's Guide", reviews 178 movies, dating from 1918 through 1933, that are now available to purchase in DVD format from suppliers (ten recommended firms are listed in the book).

Almost all these 178 films are full-length features that showcase stars like Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Clara Bow, Lon Chaney, Louise Brooks, Charles Chaplin, Joan Crawford, Colleen Moore, Harold Lloyd, Gary Cooper, William Powell, Greta Garbo, Rudolph Valentino, Norma Shearer, Buster Keaton, Shirley Temple, Barbara Stanwyck, Ronald Colman, Lillian Gish, Marion Davies, and Wallace Beery, who are still top favorites with all motion picture fans.

In addition, however, it's very pleasing to note that players like Laura La Plante, Charles Ray, Alice Terry, Pola Negri, Mary Miles Minter, Rod La Rocque, and Mabel Poulton are also featured on a large number of discs. These stars were extraordinarily popular in their day and are just waiting to be re-discovered by today's movie lovers.

Full credits and current release information are provided for each film. And the DVD itself is rated for quality on a scale  of one to ten. Purchasers will save the price of this book by following just one of my recommendations. It's disappointing to buy a DVD and then find the picture and/or sound quality is so poor that the movie cannot be enjoyed.

A further bonus is that the book is illustrated with 105 beautiful black-and-white photos from the Pattison Gallery of vintage movie stills, one of the best and largest private collections in the world.

As of November 2010, the book is now on sale at Amazon's Kindle store for only $3.99 (including the wireless delivery fee).  Here is the link: Silent Films & Early Talkies on DVD: A Classic Movie Fan's Guide

P.S. Some of Clive's points are well taken in his review below, but I do think his complaining about my inclusion of "Bad Girl" rather odd. A DVD release of this most important film had been announced shortly before the book went to press. I therefore included it. And as a matter of interest, the DVD is of course NOW available!  And, as I intimated in the book, a fine movie it is too!

Professional Reviews

Stinson's DVD Newsletter

A really classy job, this book is an absolute must-have for all classic DVD movie collectors. Just the list of Recommended Suppliers is worth twenty times the price of the book alone!

Clive's Reviews

For the fan of the silents and early talkies, this is a one of a kind find. The author has listed many films, both the well known and obscure, listed a synopsis and some interesting background information on the film, stars, and directors, and even included reproductions of old movie posters. Best of all, the author tells you where you can find these films on DVD, and the quality of the reproduction. The manufacturers are not limited to just the major studios, Kino, and Criterion. He also includes such vendors as Grapevine Video, which has been selling silents for over thirty years. In the back is listed those online vendors that the author considers to be reputable, which is very good information.

Now for my minor complaints. The author will have articles for films that, at the time this catalog was printed, have no DVD release at all. For example, he goes into great detail about Borzage's "Bad Girl", which is a great film, even though at the end of the article he mentions - correctly at the time - that there is no DVD release. However, even though the author says that vintagefilmbuff is a reliable DVD vendor, he doesn't mention any of the DVD's of the silent/early talkie era that this company has available. vintagefilmbuff has many of the early Paramount talkies on DVD-R at pretty good quality. For example, 1929's "The Virginian" is available from vintagefilmbuff.

There are other films that deserved mention that were omitted, such as 1929's "It's A Great Life" and "Lights of New York", the first all-talking picture. However, I still recommend it as a buyer's guide and just an all-around interesting read to those of us fascinated with the films of this much ignored era in Hollywood history.

Another Winner from John Howard Reid!

Roy Salmons in "International Movie Making", October 2009, writes: "This book is ideal for historical research or for the movie buff. The 178 films reviewed list actors, directors and technical staff. Another winner from John Howard Reid, this book is available from your favorite bookseller or Amazon."

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Reader Reviews for "Silent Films & Early Talkies on DVD"

Reviewed by John Howard Reid 8/28/2008
Originally, I intended to make comments on the ten Recommended DVD Suppliers in the book, but the suppliers themselves could not agree on what comments I should make. For instance, I wanted to make a point that the first supplier maintains an absolutely marvelous site for ALL classic movie fans, whether or not you intend to purchase. Just his list of forthcoming releases, I find gloriously wonderful to skim through. You don't have to wade through acres and acres and acres and acres of junk (as you do in other sites) to get an occasional glimpse of the upcoming movies that interest YOU! There they all are, fully described and listed! What memories they bring back!

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