Esmerelda Inn to host “Bat Cave’s Silent Movie Era”

Published 3:18 pm Thursday, January 11, 2018

During the silent film era, nearly 400 movies were produced in North Carolina. Films were made in Asheville, Charlotte, Wilmington, Durham and many other locations.

But the center of North Carolina silent movie making may surprise you: Bat Cave.

Nearly every major film company of the era sent companies to this rugged and beautiful spot. Between 1912 and the mid-‘20s, more than 50 movies were produced there.

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And every one of those companies lodged at the historic Esmeralda Inn.

On Feb. 3, 2018, some of these incredibly rare films will return to the Esmeralda for a special evening called “Bat Cave’s Silent Movie Era.” 

Film historian and North Carolina silent film authority Frank Thompson will present an illustrated talk, showing excerpts from three films produced at Bat Cave and Chimney Rock including Brother Bill (1913), The Masked Rider (1916), and Gilded Lies (1921).

These motion pictures — all thought lost until recently —  will be accompanied by renowned pianist Marc Hoffman (

The event begins at 7:30 p.m. For more information on price, contact The Esmeralda Inn at or call (828) 625-2999.

Frank Thompson is a film historian and author of 43 books. His most recent are Asheville Movies Volume I: The Silent Era (March, 2017) and Nothing Sacred: The Cinema of William Wellman (co-authored with John Andrew Gallagher, February, 2018). He will have copies of Asheville Movies for sale at the event.

– submitted by Frank Thompson