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Silent Stars [Paperback]

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Retail Value $ 34.95  
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Item Number 93530  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   497
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1.25" Width: 7" Height: 9.25"
Weight:   2.55 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 30, 2000
Publisher   Wesleyan
ISBN  0819564516  
EAN  9780819564511  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Film scholar Jeanine Basinger offers a revelatory, perceptive, and highly readable look at the greatest silent film stars -- not those few who are fully appreciated and understood, like Chaplin, Keaton, Gish, and Garbo, but those who have been misrepresented, unfairly dismissed, or forgotten.

Included are Valentino, "the Sheik," who was hardly the effeminate lounge lizard he's been branded; Mary Pickford, who couldn't have been further from the adorable little creature with golden ringlets that was her film persona; Marion Davies, unfairly pilloried in Citizen Kane; the original "Phantom" and "Hunchback," Lon Chaney; the beautiful Talmadge sisters, Norma and Constance. Here are the great divas, Pola Negri and Gloria Swanson; the great flappers, Colleen Moore and Clara Bow; the great cowboys, William S. Hart and Tom Mix; and the great lover, John Gilbert. Basinger also includes the quintessential slapstick comedienne, Mabel Normand, with her Keystone Kops; the quintessential all-American hero, Douglas Fairbanks; and, of course, the quintessential all-American dog, Rin-Tin-Tin.

Through concise biographies, explorations of filmographies, and captivating still shots, Jeanine Basinger offers remarkable insight into both the on- and offscreen lives of the cinema's first stars. Basinger shows an incredible knack for getting past the average movie fan's barriers to appreciating silent film actors: the larger-than-life acting style, frequently goofy plots, and general difficulty in finding films of all but a few luminaries like Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. Deft plot synopses, careful explanations of the skills needed for silent acting, and a genuine affection for the movies she's describing allow Basinger to give the reader a real sense of why these early actors were so beloved--and why they are so deserving of tribute. Mary Pickford, long unfairly maligned for playing saccharine little girls, is revealed to be a shrewd and highly professional performer, involved in every aspect of film production, careful to expand beyond her audience's expectations of her, and possessing deft comic flair. The lives and careers of two silent cowboys, the soulfully stoic William S. Hart and the flamboyant Tom Mix, are also compared and contrasted--oddly enough, to the detriment of neither. The book also covers the great sex symbols like Pola Negri and Rudolph Valentino and takes a welcome dive into the comedies of Mack Sennett. Equally engaging as browsing material or a cover-to-cover read, Silent Stars gives voice to both the sung and unsung pioneers of film. --Ali Davis

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More About Jeanine Basinger

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Jeanine Basinger is the chair of film studies at Wesleyan University and the curator of the cinema archives there. She has written nine other books on film, including "A Woman s View: How Hollywood Spoke to Women, 1930 1960"; "Silent Stars," winner of the William K. Everson Film History Award; "Anthony Mann"; "The" "World War II Combat Film: Anatomy of a Genre"; and "American Cinema: One Hundred Years of Filmmaking," the companion book for a ten-part PBS series."

Jeanine Basinger currently resides in Middleton, in the state of Connecticut.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Silent Stars is a Sound Discussion of Famed Faces of the Fabled Flapper Era  Nov 26, 2007
Silent Stars is a 1999 book by renowned film historian Jeanine Basinger. She is Chair of the Film Studies Program at Wesleyan University and is often seen on Turner Classic Movies making comments about cinema.
I have read and reviewed her fine book "The Star Machine" and found her writing so fetching I decided to order this older book on the Silent film era. The book is a delight in its countless black and white photographs of the stars and the detailed but succinct recounting of the careers of some of the era's most notable stars.
Basinger recounts the career of Mary Pickford "America's Sweetheart"
(who was actually Canadian born) and her athletic superstar husband of swashbuckling films Douglas Fairbanks Sr. This couple were more famous than Angelina and Brad! Doug and Mary were beloved of the public until their divorce and the coming of sounds ended their careers.
Mabel Normand was an early slapstick comedian who made her fame and fortune with Max Sennett's Keystone Kops. Max was in love with the flighty
Mabel though the two never wed. Mabel died young in 1930 as the era of pie in the face fun ended.
Her chapter on cowboys Tom Mix and William S. Hart tells us that Mix was the precursor of drugstore singing cowpokes like Roy Rogers and Gene Autrey. Hart focused on realism in the Western oaters he starred in during his fabled career. The chapter on Rin-Tin-Tin and animals stars was good. I was surprised to learn that Rinny died in the arms of Jean Harlow!
Basinger looks at the Talmadge sisters; worldy sirens such as Gloria Swanson and seductive Pola Negra(the lover of Charlie Chaplin and Rudolph Valentino)and the mysterious and subllime Greta Garbo. Flappers Colleen Moore and the "It" Girl Clara Bow are also profiled.
Major chapters deal with Valentino, Marion Davies (longtime mistress of publishing tycoon William Randolph Hearst); Lon Chaney "the man with a thousand faces" and John Gilbert who loved Garbo and who died young from drink and a ruined career in the talkie era were interesting.
Basinger screened countless old silent films prior to writing this book. Her work is readily understandable to a general reader making it easier to comprehend than such technical works on silent films as those by Kevin Brownlow such as his "The Parade's Passed By." This is a fun book to take with you to the beach or on your next business trip.
Silent but not Forgoten  Nov 23, 2007
I absolutely loved this book. I am always looking for a good book and this one gave me different people to look further into and discover. Not only did I enjoy this book but it led me to thers that I enjoyed to by reading about them in this one first.
A Thorougly Enjoyable Book  Jan 27, 2005
I wanted to learn more about the silents, and started with "The Parade's Gone By". It was good, but a bit too technical. What I really wanted was to know about the great personalities of the silent screen, and this book fills the bill. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and would have liked even more profiles. Each chapter deals with a silent star, some quite well known, some not so. There is also an excellent overview of silent films in general. The author writes in an enjoyable, easy-going manner, but there is plenty of information, and great photos. There are wonderful takes on Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, Rudolph Valentino, Pola Negri, Gloria Swanson, The Talmadge Sisters, Lon Chaney, John Gilbert, and so many more, even Rin Tin Tin! Really a great read, with some unforgettable tid-bits. (You'll never believe what Pola Negri said she would always remember Valentino for, or where Rin Tin Tin drew his last breath). Wonderful book.
They had faces then . . . those silent screen icons known as Clara, Lon, Pola, Gloria, Mabel, John, Mary, Douglas, Rudolph --- even Rin-Tin-Tin. From the pen (and meticulously researched and always thoughtful mind) of film scholar Jeanine Basinger comes this must-have tome, as important for its reconstructed historical chronicle as it is for its wit, humor and revelatory insights. Those expecting gossip will find it; those yearning for an academic, yet never boring, read will find it as well. The 300-plus photos are an added treat; was there anyone more handsome than Ramon?
Silent Stars--an essential reference work  Jan 26, 2003
There is very little I can say about this book except that i totally and completely recommend it to anyone who loves silent pictures as much as I do.

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