The Silent London Poll of 2014: meet the readers

Louise Brooks
A wholly gratuitous, but festive, picture of Louise Brooks

Last month, I asked you beautiful people to fill in the Silent London survey – it was a little longer and more involved than usual, but with more free choice options, so thanks all for your time, care and patience.

The results are now in, and I now know a little more about you, your silent movie watching habits and what most impressed and entertained you this year. First I want you to meet the readers. Hello you, this is you:

Where you are

Most of you are in London understandably, around 39%. But the rest of you are more likely to be found in the rest of the world (36%) than the UK (25%) Global reach!

What you watch, how and where

Most of you, 40%, watch silents once or twice a month. Hats off to the seven percent of you who watch ’em more often than once or twice a week! The rest of you more or less evenly were divided between occasional viewers and the impressive group of you sitting down to a silent film once or twice a week.

Mixed news that only 10% of you do most of your silent viewing online: I mean, it’s cheering news if I assume that that means YouTube. But when I think about great, legit, online resources such as the European Film Gateway, or the BFIplayer, which is rapidly becoming a treasure trove of wonderful silent films, I want to say – get online!

Most of you, unsurprisingly, watch most of your silents on DVD and Blu-ray (40%) followed by the cinema (hurrah for the 31%). Seventeen percent of you watch silents predominantly at festivals. That’s fair I suppose. That 17% reflects the fact that when I asked you which silent film festivals you attended this year, 39% of you said you hadn’t attended any. Judging by the comments elsewhere in the survey and the emails and social media messages you send me throughout the year, I suspect this is due to geographical difficulties rather than lack of inclination. Here’s the rundown of the silent movie festivals you attended:

Festivals chart 2014


The “other option” box? The majority of you who ticked that said you’d been to the London Film Festival, which had a healthy selection of silents this year. Between that and the BSFF, a proud showing for London this year. Well done to the cockney contingent, and nice to see Slapstick just behind Pordenone too!

In the news

I also asked you how you kept up with silent cinema news – and it’s bad news for print, I am afraid, though I do appreciate that blog readers will be biased towards digital media:

News chart 2014

I also asked you for your favourite online source of silent movie news, and it was rather gratifying, if bewildering, to learn that 55% of plumped for … US. Thanks guys! Runners-up in this category were the wonderful PDF newsletter The Silent Treatment, the super-entertaining blog Movies Silently and the comprehensive website If you don’t know those sites, this is you nudge to catch up with them.

Coming soon on this site: your favourites of 2014.






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