Tag Archives: silent movies

“Birth of a Flower” (1910)

We modern movie-goers are so accustomed to visual effects in films that it’s almost difficult to imagine the awe people felt when they first witnessed such things as traveling shots and fade-outs.  But, just as soon as moving pictures became a new form of entertainment at the start of the 20th century, some creative individuals began pushing it to new levels.  One was Percy Smith, a London native who found his career as an educator boring and unfulfilling.  He turned to the medium of film by going to work for Charles Urban, another cinematic pioneer, before creating his own films.  Smith began experimenting with a variety of innovative techniques.  Among them was time-lapse.

In 1910 Smith shot the world’s first time-lapse film, Birth of a Flower, which showed an array of different flowers blossoming.  It became an international sensation.  Smith’s name may have been lost to movie history, but his desire to stretch filmmaking into unknown regions helped transform a novelty into an art form.

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Glamorous Ladies of the Silent Screen

This small collection of photographs covers the extraordinary range of silent film actresses – from the virginal Mary Pickford to the vampish Theda Bara.  It’s amazing, though, that women in those days fit into only those two roles – a celluloid view through the eyes of men.  Regardless, the silent screen era is unique in the annals of modern entertainment.  We’ll never have something quite like it again.

Mary Pickford

Alice White

Anita Page

Barbara Kent

Bebe Daniels

Bessie Love

Clara Bow

Gloria Swanson

Greta Garbo

Lillian Gish

Lilyan Tashman

Mabel Normand


Pina Menichelli

Pola Negri

Theda Bara


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