The vast majority of feature-length silent films made in America have been lost due to decay and neglect over the past 100 years, allowing an original 20th century art form to all but disappear, according to a study released Wednesday.
The Library of Congress conducted the first comprehensive survey of silent films over the past two years and found 70 percent are believed to be lost. Of the nearly 11,000 silent feature films made in America between 1912 and 1930, the survey found only 14 percent still exist in their original format.
About 11 percent of the films that survive only exist as foreign versions or on lower-quality formats.
During the rise of silent films between 1912 and 1929 – before network radio or television – going to the movies became the most popular form of entertainment. Movie theater attendance in United States averaged 46 million admissions per week in the 1920s in a country of 116 million people, according to the report.
Read the full article over at the NY Post.