Silent film journals online

Pictures and the Picturegoer (1915), Photoplay (1921) and A Scena Muda (1921)

That post on the appearance online of the George Eastman House journal Image made me think that it would be useful to have a round-up of those silent film journals that are available on the Web. Though few of the leading journals of the period have digitised, given the specialised nature of the subject we’re not doing too badly. Note that the range of years and the number of issues refers to what is available online, not necessarily what was originally published.

  • Bollettino di informazioni cinematografiche
    Country: Italy
    Years: 1924-25
    Number: 8 issues
    Description: Pittaluga film company journal with information on films available for showing (no illustrations)
    Available from: Teca Digitale piemontese
    Format: Java-based viewer
    More information: Bioscope guide
  • Bollettino edizioni Pittaluga
    Country: Italy
    Years: 1928-29
    Number: 6 issues
    Description: Pittaluga film company journal, with full page illustrations
    Available from: Teca Digitale piemontese
    Format: Java-based viewer
    More information: Bioscope guide
  • Bollettino staffetta dell’ufficio stampa della anonima pittaluga
    Country: Italy
    Years: 1929-31
    Description: Bulletin for the Pittaluga film company
    Number: 23 issues
    Available from: Teca Digitale piemontese
    Format: Java-based viewer
    More information: Bioscope guide
  • Cinéa
    Country: France
    Years: 1926
    Number: 81 issues
    Description: Intellectual magazine discussing film art and culture
    Available from: Gallica
    Format: PDF
    More information: Bioscope guide
  • Cinearte
    Country: Brazil
    Years: 1926-1942
    Number: 561
    Description: Film fan magazine, with news, reviews, photographs, gossip, advertisements etc.
    Available from Biblioteca Digital das Artes do Espetaculo
    Format: PDF
    More information: Bioscope guide
  • Cinéma: annuaire de la projection fixe et animée
    Country: France
    Years: 1911-1914
    Description: Photography and film journal
    Number: annual volumes for what was originally a photography journal
    Available from: Gallica
    Format: PDF
    More information: Bioscope guide
  • Al cinema: settimanale di cinematografia e varietà
    Country: Italy
    Years: 1922-30
    Number: 439 issues
    Description: Weekly film magazine with stories, features, illustrations
    Available from: Teca Digitale piemontese
    Format: Java-based viewer
    More information: Bioscope guide
  • Cine Mondo: rivista quindicinale illustrata de cinema
    Country: Italy
    Years: 1927-31
    Number: 102 issues
    Description: Film trade journal
    Available from: Teca Digitale piemontese
    Format: Java-based viewer
    More information: Bioscope guide
  • Ciné-schola. Bulletin de la Ligue pour l’enseignement par la cinématographie
    Country: France
    Years: 1922
    Number: 2 issues
    Description: Bulletin covering the use of film in education
    Available from: Gallica
    Format: PDF
    More information: Bioscope guide
  • Eco film: periodico quindicinale cinematografico
    Country: Italy
    Years: 1913
    Number: 4 issues
    Description: Film trade journal
    Available from: Teca Digitale piemontese
    Format: Java-based viewer
    More information: Bioscope guide
  • The Era
    Country: UK
    Years: 1838-1900
    Number: Weekly issues to the end of 1900
    Description: Theatre trade journal which reported regularly on film exhibition from 1896 onwards
    Available from: British Newspapers (subscription service only)
    Format: JPEG
    More information: Bioscope guide
  • Figure mute: rivista cinematografica
    Country: Italy
    Years: 1919
    Number: 1 issue
    Description: Film trade journal with characteristic advertisements
    Available from: Teca Digitale piemontese
    Format: Java-based viewer
    More information: Bioscope guide
  • Filmnyheter
    Country: Sweden
    Years: 1923
    Number: 8 issues
    Description: A.V Svensk Filmindustri film company journal
    Available from: Virtual History Film
    Format: JPEG
    More information:
  • Films Pittaluga: rivista di notizie cinematografiche: pubblicazione quindicinale
    Country: Italy
    Years: 1923-25
    Number: 20 issues
    Description: Pittaluga film company journal
    Available from: Teca Digitale piemontese
    Format: Java-based viewer
    More information: Bioscope guide
  • Hebdo-film. Revue indépendante et impartiale de la production cinématographique
    Country: France
    Years: 1916, 1917, 1930, 1933, 1934
    Number: 149 issues
    Description: Film trade journal
    Available from: Gallica
    Format: PDF
    More information: Bioscope guide
  • Journal of the Society of Motion Picture Engineers
    Country: USA
    Years: 1930-62
    Number: 32 annual volumes (plus synopses of papers 1916-1930)
    Available from: Internet Archive
    Description: Film technicians’ journal with many key papers on motion picture technology
    Format: PDF, DjVU and TXT
    More information: Bioscope guide
  • Kinematograph and Lantern Weekly
    Country: UK
    Years: 1890s (when journal was Optical Magic Lantern Journal), early 1915, 1943-mid-1954, 1955-1971
    Number: This is an index to the journal only, and does not include the text of articles
    Description: One of the two leading British film trade journals of the silent era
    Available from: The British Cinema History Research Project
    Format: Filemaker database
    More information: BCHRP website
  • Il Maggese cinematografico: periodico quindicinale
    Country: Italy
    Years: 1913-15
    Number: 46 issues
    Description: Film journal with information on new releases
    Available from: Teca Digitale piemontese
    Format: Java-based viewer
    More information: Bioscope guide
  • Mon Ciné
    Country: France
    Years: 1922-25
    Number: 43 issues
    Description: French film fan magazine
    Available from: Virtual History Film
    Format: JPEG
    More information: Movingmags.com
  • Motion Picture Classic
    Country: USA
    Years: 1920
    Number: 1 volume covering monthly editions
    Description: Film fan magazine
    Available from: Internet Archive. See also the note at the end of this post
    Format: PDF, DjVU, TXT
    More information: Bioscope report
  • Moving Picture World
    Country: USA
    Years: 1913
    Number: Volume covering weekly editions April-June 1913
    Description: The leading American film trade journal of the early cinema period
    Available from: Internet Archive. See also the note at the end of this post
    Format: PDF, DjVU, TXT
    More information: Bioscope report
  • Photoplay
    Country: USA
    Years: 1925-30
    Number: 8 volumes, each covering six months of the weekly journal
    Description: The great American film fan magazine of the silent era
    Available from: Internet Archive. See also the note at the end of this post
    Format: PDF, DjVU, TXT
    More information: Wikipedia, Bioscope report
  • Picturegoer
    Country: UK
    Years: 1910s-1960s
    Number: Front cover images only
    Description: British film fan magazine
    Available from: Picturegoer Online which links to sales of original copies. Searchable only by name of actor
    Format: PDF, DjVU, TXT
    More information: Wikipedia
  • Popular Film
    Country: Spain
    Years: 1926-1934
    Number: 137
    Description: Spanish film fan magazine
    Available from: Biblioteca Nacional de España
    Format: PDF
    More information: San Francisco Silent Film Festival blog
  • Rassegna delle programmazioni
    Country: Italy
    Years: 1925-26
    Number: 4 issues
    Description: Pittaluga film company bulletin
    Available from: Teca Digitale piemontese
    Format: Java-based viewer
    More information: Bioscope guide
  • The Reel Journal
    Country: USA
    Years: 1924-26
    Number: 3 annual volumes of weekly journal
    Description: American film exhibitors’ journal, precursor of Boxoffice
    Available from: Internet Archive
    Format: PDF, DjVU, TXT
    More information: Boxoffice
  • Revue scientifique et technique de l’industrie cinématographique et des industries qui s’y rattachent
    Country: France
    Years: 1913-1914
    Number: 1 issue
    Description: Journal for the use of film in science and industry
    Available from: Gallica
    Format: PDF
    More information: Bioscope guide
  • A Scena Muda
    Country: Brazil
    Years: 1921-1955
    Number: 1136
    Description: Film fan magazine, with news, reviews, photographs, gossip, advertisements, including striking coloured cover photos
    Available from: Biblioteca Digital das Artes do Espetaculo
    Format: PDF
    More information: Bioscope guide
  • La Scène
    Country: France
    Years: 1921
    Number: 7 issues
    Description: Magazine covering the social scene, including theatre, film, music, the Arts and sport
    Available from: Gallica
    Format: PDF
    More information: Bioscope guide
  • Les Spectacles: Paraît tous les vendredis
    Country: France
    Years: 1921-1933
    Number: 366 issues
    Description: Entertainments journal
    Available from: Gallica
    Format: PDF
    More information: Bioscope guide
  • The Stage
    Country: UK
    Years: 1880-2007
    Number: over 6,500 issues
    Description: Theatre trade journal with substantial film coverage, particularly for the silent era
    Available from: The Stage (subscription service only, but note that annual volumes are available for free for 1908-1919 from the Internet Archive)
    Format: ActivePaper
    More information: Bioscope guide
  • Theater und Film Kino
    Country: Austria
    Years: 1919
    Number: 3 issues
    Description: Austrian theatre and film magazine
    Available from: Virtual History Film
    Format: JPEG
    More information:
  • Le Travail manuel, les sciences expérimentales et le cinéma à l’école
    Country: France
    Years: 1922
    Number: 3 issues
    Description: Film in science and education
    Available from: Gallica
    Format: PDF
    More information: Bioscope guide
  • Variety
    Country: USA
    Years: 1914-present day
    Number: Reviews only, selection from each year
    Description: Venerable American entertainment trade magazine
    Available from: Variety
    Format: PDF
    More information: Bioscope guide

This list only covers those journals which were active during the silent era, so it leaves out journals from later eras such as Image or Film Studies which are now available online, purely online journals like Bright Lights Film Journal or Screening the Past, and modern journals available from academic subscription sites such as Project Muse or JSTOR. It also leaves out digitised newspapers, an updated round-up of which will be the subject of another post.

If anyone knows of a silent era journal available on the Web (free or subscription) that isn’t listed above, please let me know so I can make the guide comprehensive.

Update 1: This post has been revised to incorporate some corrections and additions, and to add short descriptions (please will readers of French, Italian and Portuguese correct me for any errors of interpretation). Additionally, I have been informed about those silent film journals which are available through Google Book Search in the USA only: there are five volumes of Photoplay (1915, 1916, 1917 (1), 1917 (2), 1920), plus Motion Picture News (Vols. 20-24, 1919) and Moving Picture World (Vol. 3, 1908; Vol 4, 1909; Vol. 17, issues 1-6, 1913; Vol. 18, issues 1-7; Vol. 18, issues 8-13, 1913; Vol. 19, issues 1-7, 1914; Vol. 20, issues 4-6, 1915; Vol. 25, issues 4-6, 1915; Vol. 25, issues 7-9, 1915).

Update 2 (18 March 2010): It can now be reported that the issues of Motion Picture Classic, The Moving Picture World and Photoplay on the Internet Archive are part of the Media History Digital Library project, organised by David Pierce. Read more about this major media journal digitisation project on the Bioscope, here.

Update 3 (25 March 2010): Acknowledgments to the San Francisco Silent Film Festival blog, which is doing its own survey of digitised silent film journals, for the discovery of Popular Film available among the extensive range of digitised Spanish and Spanish-language digitised journals on the Biblioteca Nacional de España site.

Update 4 (5 April 2010): And the numbers just keep on growing – a further eighty-three (!) silent film journals from the Museo Nazionale del Cinema in Italy have been made available online. See this Bioscope post for details, and visit the new Journals section of the Bioscope Library for the complete list of all journals.

12 responses

  1. Thanks a lot for your great update.
    Theater und Film Kino is not from France, but from Austria, I supppose.

  2. It’s disappointing that so many volumes of the Moving Picture World and Photoplay have indeed been digitized, but are simply “snippet” view or no view at all. I cannot understand why any library or archive would wish to limit access in this way, especially with pre-1923 volumes that are surely free of any copyright issues. If we could only lobby the libraries somehow, we could save all the trouble of having to re-digitize all these same periodicals just to gain access for researchers!

  3. I though those Google Book Search offerings were fully available in the USA? I’m in the UK so I can’t tell. But do note the work of the Media History Digital Library in this post, http://bioscopic.wordpress.com/2010/03/18/photoplay-and-more/, which is not only digitising Photoplay and others but is looking at the issue of getting libraries to work collaboratively so that duplication of effort (i.e. re-digitisation) can be avoided.

  4. Does anyone know if the old microfilm collection “Film Daily & Film Daily Yearbook The Complete Collection, 1915-1970″ has been or will be digitized? Or is there any other way to access a full run of this publication? Online searches have been difficult, due to its changing titles, and I haven’t even been able to find whether any library in my (New England) area has the film.

  5. Thank you Teresa once again. The silent film journals from the Museo that are available online seem to be all those Italian titles listed above, but the other documentation is a treasure house all by itself and I’ll be writing a separate post on it very soon.

  6. More added to the Bioscope’s new Journals section, courtesy of Bruce Long’s Taylorology site:

    * Capt. Billy’s Whiz Bang, 1921: Nov., Dec.
    * Capt. Billy’s Whiz Bang, 1922: Jan., Feb., March, April, May, June, July, Aug.
    * Film Fun: May 1922
    * Filmplay: June 1922
    * Movie Pictorial: Dec. 1915
    * Movie Weekly, 1922: March 4, March 18, March 25, April 1, April 8, April 15
    * Pantomime, 1922: Jan. 21, Feb. 18, March 11, March 18, March 25
    * Screenland: April 1922

  7. Pingback: More silent films journals online – much more « The Bioscope

  8. Pingback: Looking back on 2010 « The Bioscope

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