Trade journals are an invaluable source of information on the film studios, legal issues (including censorship), technological developments, exhibitor-related issues and the production and distribution of individual films. Also, since a great many films of the silent era are irretrievably lost, plot synopses and and reviews in publications like these are often the only remaining source of information about certain films.
Many older trade journals are not indexed in any of the existing electronic databases or printed citation indexes; this means that in many cases, you must scan through every issue on microfilm or in print to find the information you want, a tedious but often rewarding process. Keep in mind that scanning through entire issues of trade journals allows you to examine your research topic in a broader context and may reveal important connections that you would have overlooked otherwise.
The American Film Institute Catalog does cite some trade journal articles about individual films under each title entry. It's also an invaluable source of information on production and release dates, which you can use to narrow your searches. Many film history books also cite trade journal articles that are not indexed elswhere.
The Media History Digital Library at the Internet Archive is a recently established project to digitize older trade journals and fan magazines and make them available for online access.
The following list highlights some trade journals and newspapers that you might find helpful for your research. Always check discoverE or EUCLID for the most complete and up-to-date information on our holdings.
Information about technical developments in cinematography and special features on individual films, inteviews with cinematographers, etc.
Holdings: 1920-1971 in microfilm; 1971- present in storage/stacks and Current Periodicals.
Publication of the American Film Institute.
While this journal on film special effects appeals to a broad audience, including fans, it contains useful information about special effects technology and many insider interviews.
Film Daily: see Major Film Periodicals for Media Research.
Exhibitors Film Exchange
Continued by: Exhibitors Herald; later merged with Motography.
Also: Exhibitors Herald-World
"Official journal of exhibitors booking from Chicago film exchanges."
Exhibitors Herald and Motography: the Independent Film Trade Paper
Exhibitor's Trade Review
An important source of information on avant-garde film production.
Holdings: 1955-1974 in microfilm; 1975 - date in Stacks.
Absorbed by American Film in 1989.
Major Film Periodicals for Media Research. (Alternate title: Film Daily & Film Daily Yearbook: The Complete Collection, 1915-1970.)
Woodbridge, Conn. : Research Publications, 1989-
108 reels + guide (for each series and part).
IIncludes Film Daily, Film Daily Yearbook, and predecessors such as Wid's Films and Film Folk.
Motion Picture Magazine
Continues: Motion Picture Story Magazine and Motion Picture.
Moving Picture News
Moving Picture World and View Photographer
Continued by: Exhibitors Herald and Motography
Later merged with Movie Mirror.
The longest-running and most influential paper on the entertainment industry.
Current issues held in Current Periodicals until replaced by microfilm.
Weekly Film Review
An Atlanta-based trade publication.