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Silent Stars Hardcover – 31 Dec 1998

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 497 pages
  • Publisher: Random House USA Inc (31 Dec. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679438408
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679438403
  • Product Dimensions: 24.2 x 18.4 x 3.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,240,210 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"No tell-all, this book recreates the excitement the actors provoked while illustrating the nature of their appeal . . . Learned and wholehearted, the book is classic Basinger fare: effortless history that . . . establishes its necessity . . . [an] excellent tribute to the silent film era."--Publishers Weekly --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

JEANINE BASINGER is Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies and Curator of Cinema Archives at Wesleyan University. Her many books on film include A Woman's View: How Hollywood Spoke to Women, 1930 - 1960 (1995), American Cinema (1994), The "It's a Wonderful Life" Book (1990), and The World War II Combat Film (1986). --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 42 people found the following review helpful By S. Hapgood VINE VOICE on 4 Aug. 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was very much a labour of love for Ms Basinger, and it shows, as it's a simply gorgeous read. The author does an in-depth analysis of many Hollywood actors of the 1920s who, these days, rarely are remembered, let alone given the credit that is their due. She divides the book into types of actors, and this works very well, so for instance we get the cowboys, the flappers, the magnificent femme fatales (the successors to the vamps) etc. Some actors, such as Mary Pickford, merit a chapter to themselves, and deservedly so. Basinger reminds us that Pickford wasn't simply a grown woman who specialised in playing little girls (or sometimes little boys) with lots of curls, but a hard-nosed and extremely astute businesswoman, who set up her own production company, in an era when it was virtually unkown for a woman to do such a thing, and had been supporting her entire family since she was 6-years-old.
Basinger delights in bringing out another side to the actors, for instance Gloria Swanson, who had a magnificent and regal public image, was also a highly-skilled comedian, and could do physical slapstick comedy on a par with Chaplin (who she of course impersonated brilliantly in "Sunset Boulevard"). Marion Davies has had a rough press in showbiz history, (largely "thanks" to Orson Welles' "Citizen Kane") dismissed as Randolph Hearst's pampered mistress. In fact she was a brilliant comic actress who could, arguably, have gone a lot further WITHOUT Mr Hearst's support. Hearst often objected to what Marion was expected to do in films, wanting to keep her as a pretty, serene woman. For instance, he vociferously refused to let her be hit with a custard pie in "Show People".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By john wright on 8 Mar. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This has to be the best book about silent movies in Hollywood since Kevin Brownlow's 1969 masterpiece 'The Parades Gone By'.Basinger knows her subject and her enthusiasm comes across on the printed page in a highly readable fashion. The near 500 pages are lavishly illustrated. In discussing the careers of some 20 or so stars ranging from Rin Tin Tin through the Keystone Kops to Mary Pickford we gain a real insight into the workings of early Hollywood. Well worth seeking out for anyone interested in the period. Incidentally, her later companion volume 'The Star Machine' which looks at the studio system in the 30's and 40's is even better and has career profiles of many overlooked stars such as Eleanor Powell, Tyrone Power, Loretta Young and Irene Dunne among others.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I loved this book terrific reply explained the ins and outs of the early cinema and its actors and actresses of that reintroducing some new n( to me) stars and characters written in a pleasant easy style
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