The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Features

December 5, 2013

Most U.S. silent films have been lost

WASHINGTON (AP) — The vast majority of feature-length silent films made in America have been lost due to decay and neglect over the past 100 years, allowing an original 20th century art form to all but disappear, according to a study released Wednesday.

The Library of Congress conducted the first comprehensive survey of silent films over the past two years and found 70 percent are believed to be lost. Of the nearly 11,000 silent feature films made in America between 1912 and 1930, the survey found only 14 percent still exist in their original format. About 11 percent of the films that survive only exist as foreign versions or on lower-quality formats.

During the rise of silent films between 1912 and 1929 — before network radio or television — going to the movies became the most popular form of entertainment. Movie theater attendance in United States averaged 46 million admissions per week in the 1920s in a country of 116 million people, according to the report.

Historian and archivist David Pierce, who conducted the study for the library, said few defunct art forms have the resonance of silent films.

“It’s a lost style of storytelling, and the best of the films are as effective with audiences today as they were when they were initially released,” he said. “When you take away dialogue from a narrative story, it actually puts quite a challenge upon the creative people involved to tell the story entirely in a visual fashion. And it’s that limitation, I think, which makes the films so effective.”

Notable films now considered lost include “Cleopatra” from 1917, “The Great Gatsby” from 1926, Lon Chaney’s “London After Midnight” from 1927 and “The Patriot” from 1928.

Films featuring early stars, including Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin and Mary Pickford still exist. The Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the Library of Congress and other archives have been preserving early films for decades. But the study notes that for every classic that survives, a half dozen have been lost.

Text Only
Features
  • 7-22-14 water 2 Rotary Club donation gets water to Haitians CLINTON — Nine Haitian communities now have the blessing of clean water due to the work of local Iowa Rotary clubs, including Clinton’s, and the charity Water for Life.Water for Life Directors Joy and Leon Miller have been drilling wells for years as

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-22-14 Emily Evans 7 seek pageant crown CLINTON — The time has come for Miss Clinton County Brandy Herrington to pass her crown on to the next lucky contestant and this year the competition is thick.When the event commences on Saturday at the DeWitt Central Performing Arts Center, seven yo

    July 22, 2014 7 Photos

  • Jhanson Calling America home CLINTON — Born in Russia, Natasha Jhanson now considers the United States her home.When the 41-year-old was born in Russia, the Soviet Union was still intact. When Natasha was 14, the area split into multiple countries. At that point, her family move

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-18-14 Party in the Park Party in the Park a big hit CAMANCHE — Nearly 300 people joined together Thursday to celebrate their community and all it has to offer to its residents.During the fourth annual Party in the Park, Camanche combined all their forces including city councilmen, business owners and

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 130408_NT_BEA_good kids We're raising a generation of timid kids

    A week ago, a woman was charged with leaving her child in the car while she went into a store. Her 11-year-old child. This week, a woman was arrested for allowing her 9-year-old daughter to go to the park alone. Which raises just one question: America, what the heck is wrong with you?

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Choir reunion spanning five decades CLINTON — Music helped Dan Ivory form long-lasting bonds. A Clinton High graduate in 1989, Ivory said being able to sing and play in the marching band was a rewarding experience for him, one he has sorely missed over the last 25 years.“Being in a cap

    July 14, 2014

  • Jered Birt Birt joins Northeast staff DEWITT — After eight years of teaching physical education and coaching in the Central Community School District in DeWitt, Jered Birt, 33, will move to Northeast Middle/High School.Birt was recently named the assistant principal at Northeast Middle/H

    July 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • 'Y' raising funds with annual art event CLINTON — What difference can $20,000 make for the YWCA’s mission? That’s the amount raised from last year’s Art Under the Stars event, all of which went toward helping support the association’s victims of violence mission work.“It truly is entertain

    July 11, 2014

  • Slate of 'family-friendly' activities begins July 16 DEWITT — Clinton County has found its “fair niche,” said county fair director Mary Stevenson. The goal is to keep the event family friendly, and with four days packed with activities, Stevenson feels that her group has accomplished the task once agai

    July 10, 2014

  • Whiteside County book A historical perspective FULTON, Ill. — After nearly three years of research, the Whiteside County Genealogy Society and Fulton Historical Society are ready to unveil a one-of-a-kind historical archive for the people of Whiteside County.Comprised of detailed family lineage a

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

Clinton Herald Photos


Browse, buy and submit pictures with our photo site.

Facebook