If I ever kill anyone,” D. W. Griffith once exclaimed, “it won’t be an actor but a musician.” He had been arguing with Joseph Carl Breil, his collaborator on the score for The Birth of a Nation. Griffith wanted to change some of the notes in the music they were planning to borrow, and Breil was outraged. “You can’t tamper with Wagner!” he cried.Read more »
The last of the major silent films, made shortly before sound engulfed the movie industry in 1928, may not have been golden, but they glittered brightly. Some sixty million Americans were going to the movies more or less regularly, and production budgets were soaring to dizzy heights. Competition among the big film corporations— Paramount, Loew’s, Fox, Universal—was savage. In 1924 Loew’s had merged to become the formidable Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.Read more »
In early Hollywood there lived a King. He was married to a Queen. Her name was Mary, and she was a Golden Girl. He was dashing and marvellously graceful and young—above all young. Youth was very American, and besides, it was essential to the King
It is nearly a half-century now since there occurred one of the swifter but less regrettable casualties of American culture—the passing of a form of professional entertainment known as the illustrated song. A strange phenomenon native to music halls, dime museums, vaudeville, and the early, early silent movies, the song play, as it was billed in places with pretensions, enjoyed a brief but unforgettable craze during the first dozen years of this century.