Silent Players: A Biographical and Autobiographical Study of 100 Silent Film Actors and Actresses [NOOK Book]

Overview

"Filled with little known facts and personal remembrances of the stars of the silent screen, Silent Players profiles the lives and careers of the hundred best, brightest, or most unusual silent film actors and actresses. Anthony Slide shows that the unlikely plot twists in many silent films are nothing compared to the strange and often sad lives led by many of the men and women whose images flickered onscreen." "His subjects include shining stars Lillian Gish and Blanche Sweet, leading men William Bakewell and Robert Harron, gifted leading ladies ...
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Silent Players: A Biographical and Autobiographical Study of 100 Silent Film Actors and Actresses

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Overview

"Filled with little known facts and personal remembrances of the stars of the silent screen, Silent Players profiles the lives and careers of the hundred best, brightest, or most unusual silent film actors and actresses. Anthony Slide shows that the unlikely plot twists in many silent films are nothing compared to the strange and often sad lives led by many of the men and women whose images flickered onscreen." "His subjects include shining stars Lillian Gish and Blanche Sweet, leading men William Bakewell and Robert Harron, gifted leading ladies Laura La Plante and Alice Terry, ingenues Mary Astor and Mary Brian, and Hollywood's most famous extra, Bess Flowers, among others. As Slide explores their unique talents and extraordinary private lives, the result is a series of insightful portraits of the characters who symbolize an original and pioneering era in motion picture history." "In addition to being a lively look at the lives and careers of many of the American silent cinema's leading men and women, Silent Players also offers fascinating insight into silent film performance, from makeup to acting techniques and pantomime to the role of the director. Actress Ethel Grandin recalls the first panorama shot in the film Traffic in Souls, and actor Harold Lloyd explains how his comic films began with nothing more than a cast of characters and a few locations and emerged with plot and structure exactly nine hundred feet of film - a one-reeler - later." Slide offers a completely fresh view of many of the stars he profiles, repudiating the status of some and restoring to fame others who have slipped from view. He personally interviewed many of his subjects and knew several of them intimately, putting him in a unique position to tell the true stories of early film's most vibrant and appealing personalities.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Although these two books appear to be similar, they are actually very different in both intention and execution. Slide, founder of the journal Silent Picture and the distinguished author of more than 30 books related to the performing arts, presents a frank and fond collection of interviews and memories of 100 silent film stars, some of whom he knew personally. The criteria for inclusion are highly subjective; those who made the cut (e.g., Lillian Gish, William Bakewell, and Mary Astor) represent the author's "personal choice of some of the best, brightest or most unusual of silent players." The result is a fascinating, entertaining, and occasionally poignant work that invites the reader into the fabulous world of art, industry, and experimentation that was Hollywood in the 1910s and 1920s. The nature of the selection process means that this volume is more useful as a complementary resource, or even as a work to be read for its own sake, than as a stand-alone reference. A formidable work complete with biographies, filmographies, and photos, Katchmer's Dictionary profiles more than 1000 actors and actresses who appeared in silent Westerns. Katchmer, a noted columnist for Classic Images magazine, allows his voice and opinions to come through in each entry, making this a lively and informative read. Katchmer died in 1997 just after completing the research and writing for this work, which his son, John, assembled in final form. As with Silent Players, Katchmer's Dictionary describes lives and careers full of incident and accident. Both books are highly recommended for public or academic libraries where there is a strong interest in silent film or early film history.-Andrea Slonosky, Long Island Univ., Brooklyn, NY Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher
"His frank observations about the personalities of these actors, along with their recollections of silent filmmaking, creates a kind of meta-portrait of celebrity itself — its grandeur and its foolishness." — American Cinematographer

"Slide's approach, focusing on talented and vibrant personalities, differentiates this work from others chronicling the silent film era." — American Reference Book Annual

"Anthony Slide is an authority on silent films." — Beverly Hills Courier

"The grand master of silent film scholarship." — Choice

"Slide sets the standard for film research that other writers can study and emulate." — Daily Variety

"One writer who possesses the special insight necessary to any intelligent discussion of the silent movie is Slide." — Films in Review

"A fascinating, entertaining, and occasionally poignant work that invites the reader into the fabulous work of art, industry, and experimentation that was Hollywood in the 1910s and 1920s." — Library Journal

"Our preeminent historian of the silent film." — Lillian Gish

"Slide profiles 100 silent film stars — 57 of whom he knew personally — including such well-known names as Mary Astor, Lillian Gish, and Harold Lloyd." — Los Angeles Times

"Most cinemabilia collectors concentrate on films and personalities from the 1930's on, but there are other, more serious students of cinema interested in the earlier silent period, and they will welcome film historian Anthony Slide's Silent Players." — Massillon (OH) Independent, Hartford (CT) Courant

"Slide uses the lives of 100 stars to capture some of the diverse and creative charm of the period before sound was introduced to movies." — Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

"Immensely entertaining." — Sight & Sound

"If you love learning about the movies, you'll truly enjoy a classic in its own right." — WTBF Radio

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813137452
  • Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
  • Publication date: 2/1/2010
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 464
  • File size: 4 MB

Table of Contents

Preface ix
Acknowledgements xiii
A Personal Odyssey xv
Mignon Anderson 3
Mary Astor 7
William Bakewell 11
Lina Basquette 15
Madge Bellamy 19
Constance Binney 23
Priscilla Bonner 27
Hobart Bosworth 35
Evelyn Brent 39
Mary Brian 43
Gladys Brockwell 51
Kate Bruce 55
John Bunny 59
Ruth Clifford 63
Elmer Clifton 69
Miriam Cooper 73
Pauline Curley 79
Viola Dana 83
Bebe Daniels and Ben Lyon 89
Philippe De Lacy 97
Carol Dempster 101
Dorothy Devore 105
Richard Dix 109
Billie Dove 113
Claire DuBrey 117
Virginia Brown Faire 121
Bess Flowers 127
Howard Gaye 131
Lillian Gish 135
Dagmar Godowsky 141
Jetta Goudal 145
Ethel Grandin 153
Ralph Graves 159
Gilda Gray 163
Corinne Griffith 167
Robert Harron 173
William S. Hart 179
Alice Howell 185
Alice Joyce 189
Madge Kennedy 193
Doris Kenyon 199
J. Warren Kerrigan 203
Laura La Plante 209
The Legends 215
Lon Chaney
Charlie Chaplin
Greta Garbo
Buster Keaton
Rudolph Valentino
Harold Lloyd 221
Babe London 225
Bessie Love 229
Dorothy Mackaill 233
Mary MacLaren 237
Percy Marmont 241
Mae Marsh 247
James Morrison 251
Jack Mulhall 255
Mae Murray 259
Conrad Nagel 263
Nita Naldi 267
Mabel Normand 271
Jane Novak 275
George O'Brien 281
Gertrude Olmstead 285
Seena Owen 289
Jean Paige 293
Kathryn Perry 297
Olga Petrova 301
Mary Philbin 307
Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks 311
Arline Pretty 317
Esther Ralston 321
Charles Ray 325
Wallace Reid 329
Billie Rhodes 333
Charles "Buddy" Rogers 337
Clarine Seymour 341
Lowell Sherman 345
Pauline Starke 349
Gloria Swanson 353
Blanche Sweet 357
Constance Talmadge 369
Norma Talmadge 373
Alice Terry 377
Florence Turner 385
The Vamps 389
Theda Bara
Louise Glaum
Kitty Gordon
Olga Grey
Alice Hollister
Valeska Suratt
George Walsh 395
Henry B. Walthall 401
Kathlyn Williams 407
Lois Wilson 411
Margery Wilson 415
Claire Windsor 421
Fay Wray 425
Index 429
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2003

    Fascinating and infuriating

    The book is both fascinating and infuriating. I have a few other of Mr. Slide's books, and they are full of useful information, just like this one. This book has great profiles on a lot of lesser known, but still interesting actors and actresses. Some of the profiles are several pages and are in-depth. Others are a very short page or two. Mr. Slide met more than half of the people profiled in the book. For those people, he greatly comments on how these people treated him. The book also documents their talkie careers, their career decline and their lives before their death. The book does dish dirt on many prominent silent film people. While some of it is certainly true and deserves to be public record, sometimes he speculates on things like sexual relationships that seem unlikely (Ralph Graves and Mack Sennett!). Mr. Slide apparently finds it hard to believe that older women who live together can do so as friends not have a sexual relationship. I don't know Mr. Slide, but he really lets his personality show through in this book. For one thing, he does not have a sense of humor. Of the comedians, he only wrote admiringly of Harold Lloyd and Alice Howell. He has very poor opinions of Mabel Normand and John Bunny. He says Bunny's comedy 'contains nothing creative' and 'one wonders if audiences ever did laugh at his work.' Chaplin, Keaton, Langdon, and Raymond Griffith are barely mentioned. Laurel & Hardy and Charley Chase are ignored. He talks of Arbuckle as if Roscoe really did rape and murder Virginia Rappe. Mr Slide seems to remember everyone that made an anti-semetic remark to him. Surely people of this era were just as bigoted toward blacks and other ethnic groups. Yet D.W. Griffith is the only person (remembered by Blanche Sweet) remembered as making a racist remark, and that was before BOAN and INTOLERANCE. (At least he did say in the preface that he decided not to profile Patsy Ruth Miller because of her racist views and he usage of the n-word. Mr. Slide seems obsessed with determining everyone's sexual orientation, and who had affairs with whom. By the end of the book, you are almost disappointed if a person profiled just married once and didn't sleep with anybody else. In the case of William Haines, J. Warren Kerrigan, Ramon Novarro (only mentioned in the book) and a few others, their sexuality certainly was an important part of their story and certainly affected their careers. After 'outing' so many people, I was actually surprised when he said that he had determined that George O'Brien is NOT bisexual. Surely, just like the general population, silent actors got crotchety in their old age. The best chapters are actually the ones where Slide spent a lot of time with the person, like Jetta Goudal (!) and Blanche Sweet. Mr. Slide also calls anybody who does not agree with his political views 'right-wing'. In an otherwise glowing profile on Lloyd, he calls THE CAT'S PAW (1934) 'unfortunately right-wing'. I'm not a conservative, yet his judgements of the subjects' political views are unusually harsh. The most shocking line in the book to me was, 'Nowhere is the tragedy of Clarine Seymour's death more pointed than here; if only she might have lived and [Carol] Dempster died, how much better would Griffith have fared in the coming decade.' While I agree that Dempster wasn't a very good actress, this is really some bizarre wish. So anyway, it is a fun, fascinating read. Having said that, Kevin Brownlow's books have better interviews with their subjects, and Eve Golden's GOLDEN IMAGES book has better profiles of obscure silent film stars.

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