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Silver Scream: Pt. 1: 40 Classic Horror Movies 1920-1941 Paperback – 16 Oct 2008

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Silver Scream: Pt. 1: 40 Classic Horror Movies 1920-1941 + Silver Scream: Pt. 2: 40 Classic Horror Movies 1941-1951
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Product details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Telos Publishing Ltd (16 Oct. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845830261
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845830267
  • Product Dimensions: 14.5 x 2 x 20.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,017,774 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Stephen Williams on 7 Jun. 2010
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Can't fully agree with Nick Hydra. Sort of agree about the cast & crew bits, which could get a bit tedious, but still had items of interest.

But the book itself did its job - it made me watch some films again, it made me buy most of the ones I didn't have (not many, actually), but was most useful in allowing me to work out which would be the best copies of those films to buy.

I hadn't realised the DVD of "House of Wax" (no, not that one, the real one with Vincent) also had "Mystery of the Wax Museum" complete as an extra until I read about it here. (Order placed instantly.)

Despite having been a fan of these films all my life (well, from the age of 10 on when Dad bought me an issue of FMoF), and having a large collection of mags & books, it was an entertaining addition to the library, and I'm up for V.2!
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Silver Scream Parts 1 & 2 are the finest books about Classic Horror you can buy. The last few years I dug real deep into the world of the great scary movies of the twenties, thirties and forties and I wish I had written Silver Scream. Part 1 contains the most famous films and it's fine to read background stories not only about the stars (Chaney, Lugosi, Karloff) but also about the directors, cameramen and lesser know but very important actors like Dwight Frye and the still underrated Lionel Atwill. I can agree with most of Hill's reviews and ratings, and it's a nice touch that he also asked three other critics to give their opinion. I totally agree with Hill that Mad Love, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde and Island Of Lost Souls belong to the highlights of the golden era, but I feel his adoration for Doctor X is a bit overrated. I only missed a handful extra German/European silent movies like Waxworks, Dr.Mabuse, Häxan and Korkärlen. Overall a great book!
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Nick Hydra on 8 Mar. 2010
My girlfriend got me this as a present, and I'd seen it on Amazon few times and thought "Maybe not...", as I thought it probably wouldn't tell me anything I didn't already know.

I was mostly right, but partially wrong; there's a lot a things that anyone with a passing interest in classic horror will already know, but there's a lot of stuff that I didn't know or had forgotten. I'd never heard of 'The Walking Dead', but I now intend to see it ASAP.

I'm not sure how useful the detailed biogrophies of the crew are unless you're a serious student of film (which I'm not), and I skipped most of these. It's nice to read something by someone who's enthusiastic about these films, but sometimes a bit of reigning in might have been better. The 'another prespective' are not that intersesting as they're not long enough and seem to be written by people who are intesrested in film purely as entertainment (nothing wrong with that, but it would have been better to have someone with an interset in films of this period, but not this particular genre; or vice versa).

The trivia sections are diverting, but the 'Goofs' are pointless. Do I need to know about continuity errors unless they really effect your enjoyment of the film? Well, no I don't.

Still it made me want to see 'Jekyll and Hyde' and 'Dr X' again.

I'm still not sure who this is aimed at, but if you're going on a long train journey, and you have are interest in this period of horror films, but aren't a sad fan-boy you could do worse.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Indispensable treasure trove for classic horror fans 22 Dec. 2011
By Charles M Martin - Published on Amazon.com
Steven Warren Hill has written an absolutely astonishing tome packed full of fascinating trivia, backstory, history and factoids about the horror films many of us love and have seen over and over. What's great about the book is that it adds an enormous amount of depth to the films beyond what we can get from watching them. The amount of research that must have gone into this is absolutely dumbfounding.

For me, the two volumes of this collection more than pay for themselves in many ways, but two of the most key things I appreciate about Silver Scream is, first, the connections made with actors, creatives and technicians from one film to another -- allowing me to learn a great deal more about people like Conrad Veidt (who I knew already from CABINET OF DOCTOR CALIGARI but had no idea that was him in CASABLANCA!) and Tod Browning without having to read biographies for each and every person. It was remarkable to realise how many of the same people worked on many of my all-time favourite films both inside and outside the horror genre!

Secondly, the recommendations of which DVD versions include what is absolutely INVALUABLE. Many of the films covered in this book have been released on DVD or at least VHS many, many times -- knowing which ones offer the best mastering, the most extras (or the best extras) or the most complete versions of a given film has saved me a great deal of time, money and frustration.

The little touches such as the title of each film being re-created in the style it appeared in the movie and the unbelievable level of detail and frankly honest assessments of the films themselves demonstrate the love (obsession) the author and his cohorts have for the films, and most importantly led me to "discover" many, MANY other enjoyable movies I would never have found on my own, furthering my own addiction to these era and genres of filmmaking.

Many thanks to the author and the publisher for making this extraordinary reference work available.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Indispensible Guide to Classic Horror 7 Mar. 2009
By Tim Janson - Published on Amazon.com
All I can say is that the first reviewer is nuts and knows nothing about classic horror films. "Silver Scream" is a comprehensive look at forty classic horror films produced from 1920 - 1941. There have been other books which tackled classic horror but I don't think any of them did it with as much detail as Steven Warren Hill's book. At over four hundred pages, each entry gets approximately ten pages of coverage and that is extraordinary detail.

For each film, Hill provides a detailed plot overview, highlights and memorable quotes, lowlights, goofs, the ongoing story which focuses on the film's place in history, version, trivia, cast and crew, music, critical words, and finally, another perspective on the film from one of three guest reviewers. Hill also gives each film a score with 100 being the highest. This is great stuff because it features a lot of great anecdotes that even the most seasoned classic horror fans probably did not know.

The book begins with the silent classic "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" and concludes with "The Monster and the Girl". Sure you'd be hard pressed to really consider films like "The Devil Bat" a classic, but here classic refers as much to an era and style as it does to quality. And if nothing else, Bela Lugosi could do a commercial for toilet paper and still make it fun to watch. I especially liked the "goofs" section as it gives me a reason to watch these films again so I can spot the mistakes myself. One of the films that was a joy to read about was Tod Browning's notorious "Freaks". Banned for decades the film used actual circus freaks much to the shock of the audiences and critics of the time.

Silver Scream is a fantastic book from cover to cover and one that will prove to be an indispensable reference guide.
3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Wonderful Book 27 Mar. 2009
By Gwyneth Jeffers - Published on Amazon.com
Ok the first reviewer is talking absolute garbage. I got the book, and could not stop reading it! It's about the classic horror movies from before talkies , such as Nosferatu. I love the little info bits, the highlights and lowlights, and also information on the cast and crew. The photos of the actors and actresses are quite beautiful, and I think the author has done an outstanding job on the book. Not only do you get Nosferatu, you get info on Frankenstein, Dracula, Phantom of the Opera, and so much more. This is a must have book for those interested in classic horror films.
7 of 21 people found the following review helpful
This is a Blog, Not a Book 6 Mar. 2009
By Richard Masloski - Published on Amazon.com
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I am at a loss as to comprehending why this book was even written. As my review title posits, this is less a book than a blog. Actually, it is worse. It is as if Steven Warren Hill simply went through the Internet Movie Data Base and just compiled all the trivia, cast, crew, and blooper info readily found therein for any of the films "discussed" in this lame volume and had the info printed out as a "book." As a matter of fact, the book disproportionately and boringly focuses way too much attention on the cast and crew of each film, detailing their lives and needlessly listing their other films (and not even in any apparent order, whether chronologically or alphabetically.) I really don't know why this book was written: there is no deep discussion regarding the films (such as in the books of Greg Mank and the wonderful 'Universal Horrors'). What there are of insights and opinions herein are throw-offs that seem more like conversational snippets from a horror convention than the well-thought out words of a writer. A waste.

The photos are another minus. Most of them are stock shots that anyone even vaguelly familiar with horror movies would be familiar with. The ONLY pluses are the book's size (handy digest-sized), the smell of its print (wonderful British import aroma), the different fonts that entitle each movie and the cover painting of Nosferatu - even though the vampire looks much more benign in the painting than he ever looked in the film. Anyway, there is a second volume coming out soon. I can hardly wait (lol)!
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