Charming and classically handsome, John Gilbert (1897--1936) was among the world's most recognizable actors during the silent era. He was a wild, swashbuckling figure on screen and off, and accounts of his life have focused on his high-profile romances with Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich, his legendary conflicts with Louis B. Mayer, his four tumultuous marriages, and his swift decline after the introduction of talkies. A dramatic and interesting personality, Gilbert served as one of the primary inspirations for the character of George Valentin in the Academy Award--winning movie The Artist (2011). Many myths have developed around the larger-than-life star in the eighty years since his untimely death, but this definitive biography sets the record straight.
Eve Golden separates fact from fiction in John Gilbert: The Last of the Silent Film Stars, tracing the actor's life from his youth spent traveling with his mother in acting troupes to the peak of fame at MGM, where he starred opposite Mae Murray, Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, Greta Garbo, and other actresses in popular films such as The Merry Widow (1925), The Big Parade (1925), Flesh and the Devil (1926), and Love (1927). Golden debunks some of the most pernicious rumors about the actor, including the oft-repeated myth that he had a high-pitched, squeaky voice that ruined his career. Meticulous, comprehensive, and generously illustrated, this book provides a behind-the-scenes look at one of the silent era's greatest stars and the glamorous yet brutal world in which he lived.
|Publisher:||University Press of Kentucky|
|Product dimensions:||6.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.40(d)|
About the Author
Eve Golden is the author of five theater and film biographies, including Anna Held and the Birth of Ziegfeld's Broadway; The Brief, Madcap Life of Kay Kendall; and Vernon and Irene Castle's Ragtime Revolution.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Sounds like a Valley Girl wrote it. I borrowed this book from a friend and still felt like I overpaid. Golden's writing is childish and she skims over the first part of Gilbert's life -- his entire childhood -- in just a few pages. The rest of the book is just as shallow. Any fan of John Gilbert, or those hoping to discover Gilbert for the first time, will be sorely disappointed.
Unless you're interested in Eve Golden's every waking thought on her subject, as a substitute for fact, DON'T buy this book. Read "Dark Star," by his daughter, Leatrice Gilbert Fountain, available on this site and elsewhere on used-book sites. That book is admirably objective and much better written. As other reviewers have noted, in Eve Golden's book, she interjects much too much of herself and her opinions, and the book is also somewhat sloppily written, and cries out for a good editor to curb Golden's excesses and clean up her writing. It was like reading a long, sloppy term paper that had been dashed off in the middle of the night because it was due the next morning. John Gilbert is an unjustly forgotten star worthy of rediscovery. And he deserves much better than this cobbled-together biography...
This is author Eve Golden's finest work. She has thourghly researched John Gilbert's life and his films. For over eighty years the story was told how his "squeaky" voice ruined him for the talkies and Eve shows us that this isn't true. She also offers different points of view on his his feud with MGM's Louis B. Mayer but lets the reader decide which is fiction or fact. This book on John Gilbert is a wonderful companion to Leatrice Gilbert Fountain's book on her father and a great tribute to one of the greatest of film stars.