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Behind the Mask of Innocence: Films of Social Conscience in the Silent Era
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Behind the Mask of Innocence: Films of Social Conscience in the Silent Era

4.46  ·  Rating Details ·  48 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
Combining film history and social history, Kevin Brownlow surveys the treatment of contemporary social problems by film directors and producers in the early part of the century. This is the definitive history of silent films, documenting many that have been lost or forgotten.
Paperback, 579 pages
Published June 19th 1992 by University of California Press (first published 1990)
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Donna
Aug 21, 2008 Donna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The third and last of what I call Brownlow's Trilogy. This for many is the most compelling as it covers realism and the ugly subjects covered in silent film. Hollywood was not all pretty people. My admiration of Brownlow is second to none, his ability to uncover facts and write about them in a way that is anything but boring makes all of his books worth reading once, twice or as many times as you care to pick them up.
Falkor
Aug 02, 2007 Falkor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People interested in film, early 20th century history, history of controversial social issues
Shelves: history, nonfiction
A fascinating study of forgotten film--and social--history, Behind the Mask of Innocence examines social issue films made during the silent era (1900-1930). Contrary to the image many people have of this period as a tranquil golden age of social order, this was the time when hot button issues that are still controversial today roared into American public consciousness: birth control, abortion, divorce, prostitution, sexually transmitted disease, racial discrimination, immigration, labor issues, ...more
Nish
Looks at deviance in films during the silent era and examines topics such as "abortion, drugs, bootlegging, red-light districts, opium dens, political corruption, poverty, venereal diseases, political issues, labor unrest, women's suffrage, the Russian Revolution, and the depiction of minorities. Rare movies include: Human Wreckage, The Devil's Needle,City Gone Wild,The Godless Girl , and The Cocaine Traffic. Many of these rare movies no longer exist!
Mairi
Mar 18, 2008 Mairi rated it it was amazing
There is so much amazing information in this book (which coveres social silent films). It teaches so much about American history - below the surface a little. It's written beautifully, if informative and very worthwhile. I wish this had been my history book in highschool!
Kieran
Sep 16, 2007 Kieran rated it it was amazing
as far as film history/criticism books go, this is probably my favorite. it's also arguably Brownlow's best.
Greta
Aug 22, 2008 Greta rated it it was amazing
Extensive discussion of silent films on social problem and ethnic themes. Excellent
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Kevin Brownlow, is a filmmaker, film historian, television documentary-maker, author, and Academy Award recipient. Brownlow is best known for his work documenting the history of the silent era. Brownlow became interested in silent film at the age of eleven. This interest grew into a career spent documenting and restoring film. He has rescued many silent films and their history. His initiative in i ...more
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