Bebe Daniels on the front cover of A Scena Muda, 1921 no. 1
It is frustrating for the silent film researcher that, while there are some excellent online resources which provide with extensive acess to digitised newspaper collections, there are all too few film journals from our period that have digitised. Specialist resources are always going to be that much more difficult to finance. But look beyond the English language, and there are treasures to be found. In the first of two posts covering non-English digitised collections, let me introduce you to Brazil’s Biblioteca Digital das Artes do Espetaculo. This site makes available the runs of two Brazilian film journals, A Scena Muda (1921-1955) and Cinearte (1926-1942), digitised by the Biblioteca Jenny Klabin Segall. While it’s certainly going to help if you know Portuguese, the colour front covers (mostly of Hollywood stars) are a design delight all by themselves. Within you will find news, reviews, photographs, gossip, advertisements, and regular features on the Brazilian feature film.
A page from Cinearte, 1926 no. 7
The sites are easy to navigate. From the front page, click on As Revistas. You will then be presented with three drop-down boxes, from which you can choose which of the two journals you want to see, then select whether you want to browse by year or number, and then select from the range offered. Searching by year you get a row of thumbnails of the front covers. The documents themselves are in PDF format, of good quality, though they don’t appear to be word-searchable. However, there is an advanced search option, to be found under Pesquisa, where you can search across both journals for individual words (handy for name searches, for example). So well worth browsing even if Portuguese is one of those languages you’ve never quite grasped fully, and for judging the balance between Hollywood and the native industry in the Brazilian mind.
My thanks to Teresa Antolin for bringing this to my attention. Part two tomorrow.
Update (August 2011): The link for the site has now changed to http://www.bjksdigital.museusegall.org.br/busca_revistas.html