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Broken Silence: Conversations with 23 Silent Film Stars
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on August 15, 2009
Format: Library Binding
Mr. Ankerich should be commended for this wonderful compilation which provides a glimpse into the over-all life stories of twenty three stars of the silent era (the primary focus being their careers in films). What made this book even more interesting to me is the fact that most of the stars featured in this book are people who do not generally have a great deal of detailed information out there about them. Mr. Ankerich was fortunate enough to be able to personally interview each star and the book abounds with many personal accounts and stories of firsthand experiences. This well-written book is both an engaging read and excellent reference source (with a complete filmography at the end of each star's chapter).
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
Many thanks to McFarland Publishers for re-issuing Broken Silence and The Sounds of Silents,(and so resonably priced) they are wonderful books and all film lovers should have them.

Mr. Ankerich has done a skillful job in getting 23 film stars to talk about their personal lives and their thoughts on making films in the silent era. In 2011, these stars are gone, but these books leave a wonderful history of the film era. I also love the footnotes Mr. Ankerich added on other stars as they connect to the person being intervied.

I urge anyone who is interested in film history to purchase these books, you won't be sorry
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 16, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Mr. Ankerich did film scholarship a favor by interviewing bread and butter stars from the Silent Era, all of whom have since passed away. These were mostly actors and actresses whose fame did not transcend the immediate time frame they appeared in films, but who had their moments in the sun and could talk about their life and careers, referring to many films that have since been lost. They seem a hearty bunch for the most part, wherein Hollywood is frequently but one portion of their long lives.

Few of these performers will ever get the attention they receive here, so this book is worthwhile.
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VINE VOICEon October 4, 2013
Format: Paperback
This is a book of recorded memories of film stars from silent era. There are few notable stars in this book that includes; Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Lew Ayres and Eleanor Boardman. The rest of them are less known actresses which includes; Lois Moran, Madge Bellamy, Ethylene Clair, Dorothy Revier, Patsy Ruth Miller and many others. Each star is discussed in a separate chapter and part of their biographies is also described. The book is an interesting read and does not go into depth to any degree.

Over the years, I have seen many movies of 1920s and 1930s on TCM and have become familiar with many less known stars, but I have not been able to read about them as there are no books about them. They did not dazzle like Mary Pickford, Joan Crawford, or Gloria Swanson, but offered commendable performances in the movies, and it is refreshing to read about them in this book and relate to their movies I have seen on TCM.

Some of the interesting facts about these stars may be summarized as follows: For example, actors like Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Eleanor Boardman, and Ethylene Clair did not have any ambitions to become film stars. But Lew Ayres, Marion Mack, and Dorothy Gulliver had burning ambition to be the stars of the silver screen. Lois Moran, Joyce Compton and others were pressured by their mothers to go into acting. But Gladys Walton, Patsy Ruth Miller and Dorothy Janis were discovered by talent scouts during their visits to Hollywood.

The Kiss, the last silent film of MGM starred Greta Garbo with Lew Ayres who was supposed to be a college student with whom Garbo had love interest. He recalls that she was intensely shy and was "charming in almost maternal way." Lew Ayers was married to actress Ginger Rogers for eight years and Janet Gaynor and Mary Brian were bridesmaids at their wedding.

Actress Eleanor Boardman and Greta Garbo were great friends. When Boardman was going to marry director King Vidor in August 1925, Garbo and John Gilbert were also to wed to make it double wedding. At the last minute Garbo got cold feet and never showed up for wedding. In this book Boardman recalls as how Louis B Mayer, head of MGM spoke lightly of Garbo after she didn't show up, and Gilbert was so irked by the insults about Greta Garbo, he slugged the guy. That was the end of his film career. Boardman vividly recalls this incident in the book.

Actress Ethylene Clair was almost abducted at gun point across the border to Tijuana, Mexico so that her friend Hinshaw could marry her. She refused his proposal, but apparently the fear of being killed by a gunshot; she went along and tied the knot at the office of the justice of peace. She was crying throughout, but the minister married her anyway and later told her that she was happiest bride he had ever seen. He thought she was crying out joy and happiness. Clair also recalls working with actress Louise Brooks and calls her as the "nastiest gal" she has ever seen.

Actor Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., describes how he met Joan Crawford; he marries later but to the objection of his father Doug Fairbanks, Sr. He narrates another interesting fact as how he comes in the middle of on-again-off-again romance between John Gilbert and Greta Garbo while doing the 1928 movie, "A woman of affairs" in which both Gilbert and Garbo are the main stars. Gilbert would ask him to deliver love message to sulking Garbo. He recalls that Garbo was "absolutely charming, and very friendly." Referring to his step-mother Mary Pickford, "She was very thoughtful and just absolutely charming." He was close to her until her death in 1979. He never forgot her unselfish attempts to bring the father and son together in friendship. There are numerous stories like that you can read in this book and it is definitely a fun read.

1. Forgotten Movie Stars of the 30's, 40's, and 50's: classic films, old movie stars, classic movies, motion pictures, Hollywood
2. The First Female Stars: Women of the Silent Era
3. Silent Stars
4. Movie Star Homes: The Famous to the Forgotten
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Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I learned a lot here. It's always a treat to hear about what the early days and the silent era was like from the people who had a bigger or smaller part in it. And it's bery interesting to hear from old timers what they do and don't remember, you get an insight into what made an indelible memory.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 26, 2012
Format: Paperback
...that at least 50% of it is the footnotes and filmography on each interview...so there is not really much text. I was a little disappointed as the interviews were fairly short, and often the pages listing the films and every player in each of the, were longer than the chapter itself.

I had never heard of most of the actors portrayed in this book and I have read many books on the early days of Hollywood. It is a shame that so many actors who were considered stars in their time are not known at all now.

Most of them had good memories of their Hollywood days, with a few having left their careers early and never looking back. None were bitter, no juicy stories here.
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on February 13, 1999
Format: Library Binding
This is best interview book ever done on silent cinema. Mr. Ankerich should be commended for a fabulous job well done. It is well worth the effort to track down a copy at the used bookstores. I'd pay up to $65 for it.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 1, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Usually I love this type of book as I am a fan of the period but it seems little of importance was presented in this collection. While I like the idea of speaking with lesser known actors and actesses it turned out to be pretty boring. Had high hopes for this book but they were not met.
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on February 13, 1999
Format: Library Binding
This is best interview book ever done on silent cinema. Mr. Ankerich should be commended for a fabulous job well done. It is well worth the effort to track down a copy at the used bookstores. I'd pay up to $65 for it.
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