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Silent Stars Paperback – November 1, 2000
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
One of the things that comes across immediately is that Ms. Basinger is a big fan, and she presents her writing as much from a fan's perspective as a critical or historical point of view. However, where Ms. Basinger does herself in is by letting herself gush too much. Bringing something personal to the table is not necessarily a bad thing, and it's kind of nice to see that she's so ardent in her work. Her problem in trying to write in a more familiar manner is a disservice to her overall work. She takes the reader out of the stories she is telling, which are mostly very enjoyable and compelling, by interjecting her own sly comments. Besides that, it's still worth appreciating the variety Ms. Basinger provides as she discusses the flappers, cowboys, romantic leads, cosmopolitan women (Gloria Swanson), action stars (Douglas Fairbanks), character actors (Lon Chaney) and even Rin Tin Tin.
Silent Stars is a great read if you have any kind of love of film or history. Ms.Read more ›
Yes, the tone is uniformly passionate and admiring. Basinger is an advocate, and dare I say fan? But she's exceedingly good at linking history of the times with the work; summarizing the films, and hitting the high spots. I couldn't have gushed any better on the subject of Fairbanks myself. (And thanks for including a treatment on THE NUT, my all-time favorite Fairbanks film.)
There are small errors throughout, that you would have thought an astute preview reader or editor would have caught, but I can't say that they seriously detract from the pleasure of reading this book.
Now, Ms. Basinger, how about a series?
Writing in a conversational tone, Ms. Basinger covers stars such as Mary Pickford, Clara Bow & Rudolph Valentino; hardly forgotten or underappreciated! She works hard to fairly critique their films & influence on their times, & does a good job at it while ignoring or glossing over the scandals & more interesting details of their private lives. For that aspect of early cinema I recommend Kenneth Anger's "Hollywood Babylon". The only silent star written about who I feel truly deserves to be included as forgotten or underappreciated is Colleen Moore. Every other chapter, while well written & interesting, does not pursue the avowed purpose of this book. Players who are mentioned while discussing the main stars such as Barbara LaMarr, Alma Rubens, Vilma Banky, Wallace Reid, Francis X. Bushman seem to be much better candidates. It made me wonder if the author's choices were dictated by which films she was able to screen, since so many films from before 1940 are now lost.
The other fault to my mind is that there is no progression to this book. Each chapter is written as a stand-alone essay, & it is easy to see that Jeanine Basinger works as a college professor, since the tone of the book is often that of a lecture (there are even humorous asides & 90's references that seem to be hold-overs from classes of sleepy students!).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Interesting and filled with differed things on all those that were written about in other books about silent films and the actors and actresses.Published 2 months ago by teresa hedegaard
This is a formula book coming out of the Turner Channel. The information is not new, but the
format is splendid! Really easy to read. Decent prose. Thankfully Ms. Read more
I thoroughly loved this book. Not only did the author write lovingly and respectfully about each actor covered in this compendium of silent screen stars, but she also provided... Read morePublished 9 months ago by C. S. MCBRIDE
Enjoyed thoroughly......love silent era cinema and a bit of personal info re the stars.Published 15 months ago by mikeff
Jeanine Basinger is second to none in her knowledge and love of old Hollywood. These were the first stars of cinema and their lives are a fascinating read.Published 16 months ago by Tiger
I was able to get this book from the library and am glad I did as I won't be buying it. The information presented on the selected silent stars is fairly basic- I didn't learn... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Jill
In all fairness I haven't read this book yet, but as a fan of the silent movie era, I have to say that just about everyone featured in this book was an A-list movie star of the... Read morePublished on December 29, 2013 by gmallard