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Here, from one of today’s leading authorities on film history, is the story, told brilliantly and for the first time, of the pioneering movie makers who as early as 1905 traveled beyond the studio stages to make feature films on location—and in so doing recorded the real history and real life of their time. The War, the West, and the Wilderness is the result of more than a decade of passionate research by Kevin Brownlow, whose last book, The Parade’s Gone By… (hailed by Charles Champlin as “the definitive work on the silent era”) is regarded as a classic history of early motion pictures.
His new book is alive with the voices of the film-makers themselves, in their logbooks, in their letters and diaries, in their firsthand accounts of their adventurous journeys and cinematic innovations, and—even more immediate—in Brownlow’s interviews with cameramen, director’s, lighting technicians, and actors who relive those days, taking us with them to the Great War, to the West, ad into the Wilderness. It is the triumph of this book to reconstruct the dramatic moments when these men and women contrived, against ordinary odds, to bring to movie audiences for the first time, the look, the feel—the actuality—of large events and distant places, from the great battles of World War I to the South Seas with Jack London aboard the Shark, and the gold rush in Tonopah, Nevada. less