Recommended Reading

"Behind the Mask of Innocence: Sex, Violence, Prejudice, Crime-Films of Social Conscience in the Silent Era"

by Kevin Brownlow (University of California Press, 1990, 579 pages)

First of all, the book is by Kevin Brownlow, so that, in itself, is enough recommendation to go right out and buy this book. However, for the silent movie fan who wants to a little broader perspective of the silent era than just fan worship, this book will hold your interest. There are chapters on Censorship, Sex, Drugs, Prohibition, Crime, Political Corruption, Women's Suffrage, Prisons, Poverty, Foreigners and Industry. Yes, silent filmmaking wasn't just about car chases and melodramatic love stories, they do reflect the concerns of the times. The only frustrating thing about the book is the numerous references to films that are lost that we'll never get to see. However, it's obvious Brownlow's "The Parade's Gone By" couldn't possibly contain all of the research and interviews he's done over the years, and this book shares quite a bit more of his findings (and his insights) with us.

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