April 24th 1920 edition of Picture Show - the centre pull out is of one of the best films of the silent era, 'Broken Blossoms' starring Lillian Gish. The editor warns (#3) that 'the picture may be too tragic to enjoy, but the pictures - real screen cameos - are really beautiful and well worth - in my opinion - the space given them this week.' Some other highlights of this issue are 'Popping the Question - The Old, yet ever New, Question, Asked and Answered on the Silent Stage' (#14), and a rather shocking article on 'The Magnificent Work of Missionaries' with the tagline 'More Adventures Among the Cannibals' (#18):
'There is a tendency in some quarters to decry missionary work on the ground that the savage has the right to his own religion, and that he is much better off than many white people who eke out an existence in the slums of civilised countries. But leaving religion out of the question, the missionary improves the physical well-being of those he converts. It is the missionary who teaches the savage the benefits of cleanliness and the value of medical science. Left to themselves these people are no better than animals, under the influence of the missions they become human beings. Surely it is good that these men and women should be raised from the brute stage of life to the human plane.'
I'd like to think such views have since died out, but I know I'd only be setting myself up for disappointment.
"Don't do it, Daddy! You'll hit me once too often and then they'll hang you!"
Lillian Gish in the hard hitting Broken Blossoms. Watch it on YouTube HERE.
The correspondence page deals with a letter from an electrician in London who is looking 'forward to the time when the photo-play will be shown with a combination of colour and sound' as 'it is quite within the bounds of possibility that the progress of the motion picture may yet lead to that stage' although the talking picture 'means that the appeal of any particular film will no longer be world-wide, and the motion picture, as one of the arts that can be universally understood, will then have lost its place alongside that of painting and sculpture.' (#22).
Do you ever watch silent films? Which is your favourite?