Eugene Vazanna’s Silent Film Necrology provides information on over 9,000 deceased personalities who were in some way significantly associated with the silent era. A book of this type has been needed for quite some time, and we are indebted to Mr. Vazzana for filling in this void on the film history book market.
This book serves as a one-stop reference source for researchers seeking further information on a particular personality. The information varies in degrees of completeness in accordance to how much information was accessible , but most entries include birthdate, city of birth, death date, city where death certificate was registered, alternative names that the personality used, marriage partners, and other vital information when such is available. Also included for most entries is a listing of sources in which further information on the personality can be found – such as newspaper/magazine obituaries, articles in Classic Images, Films in Review and other publications, as well as books which include significant information on the personality. This information is extremely helpful, as it saves researchers many hours which would otherwise be required to track down such information sources. This is a book that I wish would have been available to me when I was working on previous articles and books.
Among the prominent information sources listed most often in Mr. Vazzana’s book are articles written by film historians Billy Doyle, author of The Ultimate Directory of the Silent Screen Performers (The Scarecrow Press, 1995), and George Katchmer, author of 80 Silent Film Stars (McFarland, 1991), as well as Evelyn Mack Truitt’s book, Who Was Who on Screen (R.R. Bowker Book Company, 1974). Mr. Vazzana’s own painstaking research work brings much of this information together in a single volume, as well as providing further information not covered by any of the previously-mentioned sources.
In the introduction, Mr. Vazzana acknowledges that the process of acquiring vital information on all of the silent screen personalities is an ongoing process. He provides valuable addresses of various government agencies, in the event that the researcher and reader should decide to do independent research to uncover information on persons not listed in the book. The book is further enhanced with a detailed abbreviation key, which also provides addresses for film-related organizations and publications mentioned.
The Silent Film Necrology is an extremely important reference book that should be available in every major public and university library in the country. In addition, anybody considering doing any writing or researching on the silent era should have a copy of this book if he/she has not yet purchased one. It is well worth the price!