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Silent Films in St. Augustine (Hardback)
  • Silent Films in St. Augustine (Hardback)
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Silent Films in St. Augustine (Hardback)

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£26.95
Hardback 192 Pages / Published: 30/09/2017
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Before Hollywood, when America's rising motion picture industry was based on the East Coast, early film stars like Rudolph Valentino, Thomas Meighan, Ethel Barrymore, and Oliver Hardy made movies in St. Augustine, Florida. Silent Films in St. Augustine tells stories of the leading film producers and actors who escaped New York winters - and kept the studio doors open - in St. Augustine's sunshine and warm weather.

Scenes for more than 120 films were made in St. Augustine from 1906 to 1926 by film companies including Thanhouser, Lubin, Eclair, Pathe, Edison, Vitagraph, and Paramount. The first feature-length Frankenstein movie, Life Without Soul, was partly shot in St. Augustine. Theda Bara became a "vamp" sensation for her role in A Fool There Was. Sidney Drew acted in the genderbending A Florida Enchantment. Noted directors Edwin S. Porter, Maurice Tourneur, and George Fitzmaurice also set up shop in the beach town.

Filmmakers used St. Augustine's striking architecture to create backdrops for movies set in exotic foreign locales. The famous Castillo de San Marcos, the stone houses on the narrow streets, and Henry Flagler's Spanish Renaissance palace hotels were reimagined as Spain, Italy, France, Egypt, Arabia, South Africa, Brazil, and Hawaii. Residents of St. Augustine loved seeing film teams in action on their streets and would gather around the camera to watch the actors and marvel at the outlandish costumes. Cast as extras in larger productions, locals packed theater houses to catch a glimpse of themselves and their neighbors on the screen.

Describing the lavish sets, theatrical action, and New York movie personalities that filled St. Augustine, Thomas Graham evokes an intensely creative time and place in the history of American moviemaking.

Publisher: University Press of Florida
ISBN: 9780813054537
Number of pages: 192
Dimensions: 229 x 152 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"Before there was Hollywood, there was an incipient "First Hollywood" beginning at the end of the 19th century in Jacksonville FL, amply documented by Shawn Bean in his 2008 monograph, The First Hollywood: Florida and the Golden Age of Silent Filmmaking. But, St. Augustine, too, had an early crack at becoming America's film center when, in the first decade of the 20th century, films were made in Florida's oldest city. More than 120 films were produced in St. Augustine between 1906 and 1926 and many of Hollywood's famous silent film stars including Ethel Barrymore, Theda Bara, Sidney Drew, Evelyn Nesbitt, Norma Talmadge, Edith Story, Oliver Hardy, and scores of others made their early pictures there. Narrating the vicissitudes of the many film production companies and producers who set up shop in St. Augustine, Graham (emeritus, history, Flagler Coll., FL) elucidates a very important part of American moviemaking history. This slim volume includes a filmography of the films made in St. Augustine as well as a list of the actors who appeared in these movies. VERDICT This recommended title will be of interest to both specialists and general readers of American film history as well as those who want to know more about the history of Florida and St. Augustine."--Library Journal
"This totally engaging, compact treatment of early U.S. film history is packed with information and a lot of fun."--Florida Weekly

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