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Progressive Silent Film List
A growing source of silent era film information.
This listing is from The Progressive Silent Film List by Carl Bennett.
Copyright © 1999-2024 by Carl Bennett and the Silent Era Company.
All Rights Reserved.

About PSFL Listings

Updated 14 August 2016


Alphabetical Order of Listings. Where alphabetical order is necessary, the alphabetical standard used for the Progressive Silent Film List (PSFL) is not the traditional standard taught and used in schools and libraries. It is an alphabetical order imposed by the inflexibility of computers. When determining alphabetical order, English language articles of speech, such as ‘the,’ ‘an,’ ‘a,’ etc., are ignored. The remainder of the title is alphabetically considered to be one long concatenated word regardless of spaces or punctuation. Numbers and abbreviations are both to be considered spelled-out words for the sake of alphabetical order. Despite the possible difficulty the average person would have in identifying foreign articles of speech in film titles, when foreign films are listed in alphabetical order foreign language articles of speech are ignored. The Danish film Den skaebnesvangre Opfindelse (1910) would then be found alphabetically among the ‘S’ listings, not the ‘D’ listings.

Main Title. A PSFL listing begins with the title of the film as first released in the country of production. Whenever possible, the title is listed as it appeared in original prints released in the country of production. Title case capitalization follows the accepted American standard, with prepositions of four letters or less (i.e. “from,” “with” and “into”), conjunctions (i.e. “and” and “but”), and articles of speech in lower-case type. When certain words that are commonly identified as prepositions and conjunctions (i.e. “but”) are used as adverbs, the word is capitalized in the film title. When the title of a film is not known for certain, the PSFL assumed title follows in brackets, such as “[Gallagher and Shean].” This listing title would indicate a film of unknown title starring vaudeville stars Gallagher and Shean. In the case of a foreign language film, the listing title for the Italian production “[Raffles on Top]” indicates a film where only an English language title is known. The bracketed English title is repeated as an “Also known as” title if the film is commonly known by this title in English-speaking countries. Another instance where this bracketed format is used is when only the subject matter of the film is known. A listing title such as “[Belfast Lough Yacht Race]” indicates that the film of unknown title documented an Irish yacht race, but also that the film is not known anywhere under this specific title. This is common for films made in the late 19th century, where no common title was established for the film.

Titles of Foreign (non-English) Language Films. Whenever possible, we have listed a film under its original foreign language title. In the case of Cyrillic and Asian language titles we have used the commonly accepted Anglicized form of the original title. When available, a literal English translation of the original foreign language title and is enclosed in parentheses and appears beneath or following the foreign title, such as: “(The White Eagle).”

Films with Secondary Titles. For all films with secondary titles, we have listed titles consistently within this format: The first title, then a semi-colon, the word ‘or,’ a comma, then the secondary title. Since there was no accepted contempory standard established in the silent era we have imposed this listing standard for the sake of clarity. This is one of the few instances where we have departed from strict reproduction of the original titles of silent era films, but this form of punctuation is commonly being accepted today.

Alternate Titles. Three additional types of alternate titles are noted in PSFL listings and follow the ‘Also known as’ designation. Alternate titles listed in italic typefaces are titles under which the film was actually released either in the originating country or in foreign release, and are followed by a designation of the countries the alternate titles apply to, such as: “Love, the Only Law in the United Kingdom.” The second example of alternate titles are those which are listed in square brackets, such as: “[Charlie and the Sausages].” These alternate titles may be legitimate domestic, foreign, rerelease, or reduction print alternate titles, but have not been identified for certain as such. Last, alternate titles in curled braces indicate incorrect titles, such as: “{The Devil Bateese}.” They may be variant spellings of words in the official title, inaccurately abbreviated or punctuated titles, or simply incorrect titles. These alternate titles are listed only to aid the user in locating a film that may have been referred to elsewhere by an inaccurate title. The differing types of alternate titles are separated by colons.

Length. Whenever known, the length of a film is listed in the number of reels containing the full film when distributed commercially along with the total length of distribution prints in feet. The preferred measuring unit is feet, being a smaller and thus more exact unit than metres. All measurements in evenly rounded numbers (such as “7800 feet” or “300 metres”) should be assumed to be an approximate length. When the total length in feet (or metres) is not known, the length is listed as the number of reels. When the number of reels is not known, the length of a film is listed as either “Feature film” if the released length is known to be four reels or more, or as “Short film” if the released length was three reels or less. Short films of less than 1000 feet that were released in 1908 and later may have shared a distribution reel with another short film and these releases are identified as “Split-reel” films. When it is uncertain what a film’s released length was, the length is listed as “(length unknown)”. In special cases, films from 1927 through 1929 may have the additional length in minutes of running time, when a film was released with synchronized sound and required a standardized projection speed. Serialized films will feature the notation “Serial” as the film’s length, followed by the total number of reels and/or released feet, when known.

Cast. A listing of cast members appearing onscreen in the film, with a character name for the actor contained in brackets. When an actor’s commonly recognized name differs from their credited name, the common form appears in parentheses after their credited name. For countries that honor the family name of a person first, such as Japan and China, we utilize the commonly accepted Western form of listing the given name first and family name second, with full acknowledgement of the traditions of these countries we have found that listing both forms parenthetically leads to confusion and have opted to communicate these persons’ credits as clearly as possible to Western readers.

Notes. Here, details on the production of a film are listed. Beginning with the production company, then the distributor of the film, the production personnel are listed in roughly the chronological order of services rendered on the film. When a designer was (or designers were) responsible for both art direction and set design on a production we have utilized the modern term ‘production designer’ as their job title. When designers worked on art direction and set design or set dressing independent of each other, we have distinguished their job titles as such. Following production personnel credits are the original copyright information for the production, premiere information (when known), and general release information. Next are technological details for the film, with film gauge data, and with information on color and sound processes when utilized for the original production. Following are additional details, which may include working titles for the production, extra details on cast and crew, notations of conflicting or unconfirmed information, data on foreign releases of the film, or any additional information on the production. Last in the section are notations for all films released in 1927 or later, and for synchronized sound films released before 1927, as to whether the production was initially released as a silent film, a silent film with a synchronized music soundtrack, a part-talkie, or a full-sound film.

Genre. A brief notation of the genre of the film, with additional subclassification genres (when applicable), such as: “Drama: Northwoods” or “Comedy: Society.”

Synopsis. When noted, our own synopsis of the film may be followed by contemporary synopses from promotional materials and/or reviews, and then followed by links to or notations of modern synopses.

Reviews. When found, contemporary reviews of the film are quoted.

Survival status. A notation for the survival status of the film will state “(unknown)” or “The film is presumed lost,” or, when known, will state the survival status of the film, with information on the organization or individual holding the materials, their gauge, print history, etc. A statement of surviving print materials will include: “Print exists,” indicating a complete print (or often indicating, without supporting details, that we only know that a print has survived and have no information as to the condition of the print); “Incomplete print exists,” indicating that more than 50-percent of the film survives in the print; or “Fragmentary print exists,” indicating that less than 50-percent of the film survives in the print.

Current rights holder. In very few cases, we have been able to identify the current rights controlling organization for a film and add a link to contact information for the organization (when known). If a film is in the public domain or still under copyright control, the designation will accompanied by the country of record noted in brackets.

Keywords. When known, key association terms or search criteria that apply to the production are noted.

Listing updated. A notation of the last date the listing was revised.

References. References note the source material consulted for the information comprising a film listing. For brevity, the author’s last name is followed by a bracketed code indicating the source material (book, publication, documentary, etc.), and is then followed by the page numbers on which the film is discussed or even mentioned in passing. A few exceptions to this rule exist, notably the AFI reference volumes which are identified as “AFI-F1” (for example) rather than “Hansen.” Page numbers with a trailing letter indicate an insert section of photographs or other unnumbered section in the book. The reference page is then the photo page (identified alphabetically) following the last numbered page in the book prior to the unnumbered section (ie. 134d would be the fourth photo page following book page 134). Occasionally references to page numbers are substituted with a listing number specific to the book referred to; the AFI catalogues and Ronald Magliozzi’s book on short films held by FIAF archives are examples. If we have personally viewed and studied a film that is listed then the References will contain the note “Film viewing”; whenever film credits from contemporary releases of the film can be consulted in surviving prints, it is noted as from “Film credits.” References from the original film credits, including the main title card and subsequent production credits become the primary reference source for that film’s listing. We have occasionally noted in the Notes section for each such listing when reference sources do not agree on points of fact. Publications, motion picture documentaries, websites, and other reference materials are also noted in the References section.

Home video. When available, links to information on commercial home video editions of the film, including Silent Era reviews of those editions.

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