No single change has been as decisive to the development of the motion picture industry as the introduction of sound at the end of the 1920s. While the classic Hollywood cinema of the 1930s with its quick-fire repartee remains part of the collective memory of the movie-going public, it is hard to say the same about films of the 1920s and earlier. Today, silent movies seem to belong somewhere way back in a dim, distant past, an exotic era still kept alive by niche television programs and a few specialist art-house cinemas. Of course, our ignorance of the silent era can also be put down to availability problems and the difficulty of tracking down silent movies. Quite simply only about ten per cent of them still survive.