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Silent Players: A Biographical and Autobiographical Study of 100 Silent Film Actors and Actresses Hardcover – September 27, 2002


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: The University Press of Kentucky; First Edition edition (September 27, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081312249X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813122496
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 7.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,943,958 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Although these two books appear to be similar, they are actually very different in both intention and execution. Slide, founder of the journal Silent Picture and the distinguished author of more than 30 books related to the performing arts, presents a frank and fond collection of interviews and memories of 100 silent film stars, some of whom he knew personally. The criteria for inclusion are highly subjective; those who made the cut (e.g., Lillian Gish, William Bakewell, and Mary Astor) represent the author's "personal choice of some of the best, brightest or most unusual of silent players." The result is a fascinating, entertaining, and occasionally poignant work that invites the reader into the fabulous world of art, industry, and experimentation that was Hollywood in the 1910s and 1920s. The nature of the selection process means that this volume is more useful as a complementary resource, or even as a work to be read for its own sake, than as a stand-alone reference. A formidable work complete with biographies, filmographies, and photos, Katchmer's Dictionary profiles more than 1000 actors and actresses who appeared in silent Westerns. Katchmer, a noted columnist for Classic Images magazine, allows his voice and opinions to come through in each entry, making this a lively and informative read. Katchmer died in 1997 just after completing the research and writing for this work, which his son, John, assembled in final form. As with Silent Players, Katchmer's Dictionary describes lives and careers full of incident and accident. Both books are highly recommended for public or academic libraries where there is a strong interest in silent film or early film history.
Andrea Slonosky, Long Island Univ., Brooklyn, NY
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"His frank observations about the personalities of these actors, along with their recollections of silent filmmaking, creates a kind of meta-portrait of celebrity itself -- its grandeur and its foolishness." -- American Cinematographer



"Slide's approach, focusing on talented and vibrant personalities, differentiates this work from others chronicling the silent film era." -- American Reference Book Annual



"Anthony Slide is an authority on silent films." -- Beverly Hills Courier



"The grand master of silent film scholarship." -- Choice



"Slide sets the standard for film research that other writers can study and emulate." -- Daily Variety



"One writer who possesses the special insight necessary to any intelligent discussion of the silent movie is Slide." -- Films in Review



"A fascinating, entertaining, and occasionally poignant work that invites the reader into the fabulous work of art, industry, and experimentation that was Hollywood in the 1910s and 1920s." -- Library Journal



"Our preeminent historian of the silent film." -- Lillian Gish



"Slide profiles 100 silent film stars -- 57 of whom he knew personally -- including such well-known names as Mary Astor, Lillian Gish, and Harold Lloyd." -- Los Angeles Times



"Most cinemabilia collectors concentrate on films and personalities from the 1930's on, but there are other, more serious students of cinema interested in the earlier silent period, and they will welcome film historian Anthony Slide's Silent Players." -- Massillon (OH) Independent, Hartford (CT) Courant



"Slide uses the lives of 100 stars to capture some of the diverse and creative charm of the period before sound was introduced to movies." -- Register of the Kentucky Historical Society



"Immensely entertaining." -- Sight & Sound



"If you love learning about the movies, you'll truly enjoy a classic in its own right." -- WTBF Radio


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Customer Reviews

For one thing, he does not have a sense of humor.
Bruce Calvert
There are many more, such as actress Viola Dana's supposed sexual appetite which spans more than that of a football team's alone!
J. Rose
This book is a storehouse of information on actors and actresses of the silent film era.
Jane Austen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 52 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 18, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Anthony Slide is somewhat infamous among movie buffs for his truly unctuous writing style, arrogantly putting forth his own opinions as fact and lambasting any opinions to the contrary. Movie fans have to put up with his nonsense for years in the vintage films publication CLASSIC IMAGES with his malicious reviews of other author's works, often completely trashing excellent books because of a single trivia error he found (and no, I am not a book author trashed by him in case you are wondering). The insufferable Slide always gave the impression he was slumming in that good-natured fan publication, fortunately a few years ago he finally decided he had lived in the trailer park too long and haughtily left the magazine much to the delight of most of the readership.
Slide has written numerous books on silent movies, none of them particularly good except for the D.W. Griffith filmography which I suspect was due mainly to his co-writer, Edward Wagenknecht, a beloved silent film historian. Indeed, despite his many years writing (Slide must be sixtyish now), I certainly would not rank him on the level of Wagenknecht, Kevin Brownlow, James Card, and William Everson as an important, influential silent film scholar-historian despite the compliment by the always kind Lillian Gish that adorns the dust jackets of many Slide books. Slide is more of a critic than a historian or scholar and unfortunately he tends to be the Rex Reed of silent movie writers. Typical Slide views are his dissmissal of Greta Garbo's films while spending one of the largest chapters praising his personal friend starlet Mary Brian to the heavens. Miss Brian was quite a beauty and well-loved in the industry but she was in no way a great star and was not at all a good actress.
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52 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Calvert on March 24, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The book is both fascinating and infuriating. I have a few other of Mr. Slide's books, and they are full of useful information, just like this one.
This book has great profiles on a lot of lesser known, but still interesting actors and actresses. Some of the profiles are several pages and are in-depth. Others are a very short page or two. Mr. Slide met more than half of the people profiled in the book. For those people, he greatly comments on how these people treated him. The book also documents their talkie careers, their career decline and their lives before their death.
The book does dish dirt on many prominent silent film people. While some of it is certainly true and deserves to be public record, sometimes he speculates on things like sexual relationships that seem unlikely (Ralph Graves and Mack Sennett!). Mr. Slide apparently finds it hard to believe that older women who live together can do so as friends not have a sexual relationship.
I don't know Mr. Slide, but he really lets his personality show through in this book. For one thing, he does not have a sense of humor. Of the comedians, he only wrote admiringly of Harold Lloyd and Alice Howell. He has very poor opinions of Mabel Normand and John Bunny. He says Bunny's comedy "contains
nothing creative" and "one wonders if audiences ever did laugh at his work." Chaplin, Keaton, Langdon, and Raymond Griffith are barely mentioned. Laurel & Hardy and Charley Chase are ignored. He talks of Arbuckle as if Roscoe really did rape and murder Virginia Rappe.
Mr Slide seems to remember everyone that made an anti-semetic remark to him. Surely people of this era were just as bigoted toward blacks and other ethnic groups. Yet D.W.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 6, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Anthony Slide seems to be working out some deep-seated psychiatric dysfunction whenever he writes about silent stars. His recent work, Silent Players, shows an enormous amount of disrespect towards his subjects---most of whom are long dead and cannot provide a rejoinder. While Mr. Slide apparently has a good grasp of most of the subject matter, his favoritism is painfully obvious---those stars whom he liked personally received favorable treatment, while those he did not like (usually those who refused to submit to his interviews) were lambasted and ridiculed, i.e., calling Mary Philbin "braindead." What gives Mr. Slide, whom, as far as we know, can't act his way out of paper bag, the right to judge these people personally, not just artistically? Too often his work reads like the personal likes and dislikes of a frustrated little boy who doen't always get his way. What a shame. Mr. Slide should exhibit more class toward those who are dead, especially since they possessed far more talent than he.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By mwreview on May 31, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book by noted silent movie expert Anthony Slide features a photo and approximately three pages of biographical text (although some have as little as one page of text) on the following actors and actresses: Mignon Anderson, Mary Astor, William Bakewell, Lina Basquette, Madge Bellamy, Constance Binney, Priscilla Bonner, Hobart Bosworth, Evelyn Brent, Mary Brian, Gladys Brockwell, Kate Bruce, John Bunny, Ruth Clifford, Elmer Clifton, Miriam Cooper, Pauline Curley, Viola Dana, Bebe Daniels and Ben Lyon, Philippe De Lacy, Carol Dempster, Dorothy Devore, Richard Dix, Billie Dove, Claire DuBrey, Virginia Brown Faire, Bess Flowers, Howard Gaye, Lillian Gish, Dagmar Godowsky, Jetta Goudal, Ethel Grandin, Ralph Graves, Gilda Gray, Corinne Griffith, Robert Harron, William S. Hart, Alice Howell, Alice Joyce, Madge Kennedy, Doris Kenyon, J. Warren Kerrigan, Laura La Plante - The Legends: Lon Chaney, Charlie Chaplin, Greta Garbo, Buster Keaton, Rudolph Valentino; - Harold Lloyd, Babe London, Bessie Love, Dorothy Mackaill, Mary MacLaren, Percy Marmont, Mae Marsh, James Morrison, Jack Mulhall, Mae Murray, Conrad Nagel, Nita Naldi, Mabel Normand, Jane Novak, George O'Brien, Gertrude Olmstead, Seena Owen, Jean Paige, Kathryn Perry, Olga Petrova, Mary Philbin, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, Arline Pretty, Esther Ralston, Charles Ray, Wallace Reid, Billie Rhodes, Charles "Buddy" Rogers, Clarine Seymour, Lowell Sherman, Pauline Starke, Gloria Swanson, Blanche Sweet, Constance Talmadge, Norma Talmadge, Alice Terry, Florence Turner, - The Vamps: Theda Bara, Louise Glaum, Kitty Gordon, Olga Grey, Alice Hollister, Valeska Suratt; - George Walsh, Henry B. Walthall, Kathlyn Williams, Lois Wilson, Margery Wilson, Claire Windsor, and Fay Wray.Read more ›
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