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Silent Stars Paperback – 1 Nov 2000

4.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 510 pages
  • Publisher: Wesleyan University Press (1 Nov. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0819564516
  • ISBN-13: 978-0819564511
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 2.6 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 592,268 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

.Basinger is the perfect guide to movies past, passionate, savvy, discerning, funny, not only in love with her subject, but able to convey the reasons for her enthusiasm.. Los Angeles Times"

.Basinger's fascinating, evocative and at times provocatively revisionist Silent Stars measures the distance between celebrity and fame, and restores key early movie idols to their proper depth of field . . . She has hunted down and screened hundreds of extant silent movie prints . . . This buttresses her critical insights, allowing her to report in meticulous and convincing detail how each star's films present more sides and talents than we were aware of.. New York Times Book Review"

.While Chaplin, Gish, and Garbo are still remembered, many silent-era celebrities have faded from view. Here Basinger discovers a Mary Pickford who was more tomboy than golden girl; a Gloria Swanson with Chaplinesque physicality, and a Marion Davies who, contrary to the mythology of 'Citizen Kane, ' was a talented actress held back by her relationship with William Randolph Hearst. Particularly enjoyable are accounts of such exotics as kohl-eyed Pola Negri, whose white Rolls-Royce was upholstered in white velvet, and the lovable German shepherd Rin-Tin-Tin, who kept Warner Bros. solvent through the twenties and finally died in the arms of Jean Harlow.. The New Yorker"

.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"

Los Angeles Times"

New York Times Book Review"

Publishers Weekly"

"Basinger is the perfect guide to movies past, passionate, savvy, discerning, funny, not only in love with her subject, but able to convey the reasons for her enthusiasm." --"Los Angeles Times"

"Basinger's fascinating, evocative and at times provocatively revisionist Silent Stars measures the distance between celebrity and fame, and restores key early movie idols to their proper depth of field . . . She has hunted down and screened hundreds of extant silent movie prints . . . This buttresses her critical insights, allowing her to report in meticulous and convincing detail how each star's films present more sides and talents than we were aware of."--"New York Times Book Review"

"While Chaplin, Gish, and Garbo are still remembered, many silent-era celebrities have faded from view. Here Basinger discovers a Mary Pickford who was more tomboy than golden girl; a Gloria Swanson with Chaplinesque physicality, and a Marion Davies who, contrary to the mythology of 'Citizen Kane, ' was a talented actress held back by her relationship with William Randolph Hearst. Particularly enjoyable are accounts of such exotics as kohl-eyed Pola Negri, whose white Rolls-Royce was upholstered in white velvet, and the lovable German shepherd Rin-Tin-Tin, who kept Warner Bros. solvent through the twenties and finally died in the arms of Jean Harlow." --"The New Yorker"

"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"

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).


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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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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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