Olive Thomas: The Life and Death of a Silent Film Beauty Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0786429080
ISBN-10: 0786429089
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Full of beautiful photography and rare candids...this is the perfect tribute to a woman that many have long forgotten --The Midnight Palace

About the Author

Film historian Michelle Vogel is the author of Marjorie Main (2006), Children of Hollywood (2005) and Gene Tierney (2005). She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Product Details

  • File Size: 6158 KB
  • Print Length: 212 pages
  • Publisher: McFarland (March 21, 2007)
  • Publication Date: March 21, 2007
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002UNMCUQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #443,721 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Samantha Glasser VINE VOICE on April 30, 2007
Format: Paperback
Olive Thomas is a mystery in modern times to those who are familiar with her story. She began on the Ziegfeld stage as one of the most talked about beauties. Her looks led her to the silver screen where she was hailed as the princess of Selznick Studios. She married into Hollywood royalty when she wed rambunctious Jack Pickford who eventually was the only source for clues to her demise. Thomas died at age 25 thanks to swallowing mercury bichloride pills in a Paris hotel during their second honeymoon. Whether this was a suicide, a murder, or an accident is left to history.

Also included at the end of Olive's story is a filmography for her career including synopsis, cast lists, and the status of the film today.

One major flaw with this book is that Vogel seems unfocused. There is a lot of information about Jack Pickford and Marilyn Miller, information that really has little to do with Thomas. The story jumps around chronologically and suggests many different conclusions to Thomas' death, but no solid explanation. Also, her early life is barely touched upon; her stage and screen career and early death are the focus. Granted, the information is valuable because so little is available, but the format of the book is disappointing, especially for its price. Vogel seemingly did not intend to create the definitive biography on Thomas as she often isolates her information to a time period. She references the "recent" release of The Flapper on DVD and has a fascination with translating dollar amounts into modern prices.

This book is certainly entertaining, though brief, but hardly stands as a worthy evaluation of Olive Thomas' career.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was extremely disappointed in this biography. Little of Olive's early life and the development of her personality is touched on. Granted, there isn't much material out there to draw on, so I am sympathetic to the author's attempt to write a definitive biography of this interesting young woman. However, why this book is so expensive is beyond me. I was left with absolutely no new knowledge or insight into what made (and still makes) Olive such a fascinating study. It would have been more apt to title the book: The DEATH of a Silent Film Beauty. Building a biography around the mystique of her death is not my idea of time or money well spent.
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Format: Paperback
While I agree that a book length biography of Olive Thomas was long overdue, I found myself disappointed with this book. I hoped that there would be a more in-depth look at Olive's early life, but it was quickly skimmed over while her career in the Ziegfeld Follies was barely discussed. Furthermore, the author arrived at the story of Olive's mysterious death before page 100.

Maybe it isn't possible to delve any further into Olive's story, but I don't think that's true. This book is a good start, but it's not the definitive biography of the tragic Olive Thomas. Since her death was the main focus of this book, it should have been titled "The Death of a Silent Screen Beauty."

However, if you are interested in the history of early Hollywood, check this book out.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Michelle Vogel's biography of tragic actress Olive Thomas is very well researched. She found and excerpted dozens of movie magazine articles and interviews about Olive and bad-boy husband Jack Pickford. Unfortunately at this late date, is was probably difficult to find any information about her early life.

Ms. Vogel also has an extremely detailed filmography, with multiple trade magazine reviews. These are very helpful for films that no longer exist. The book is also filled with excellent photos.

My only quibble with this book is that it spends a little too much time on the reported sightings of Olive's spirit at the New Amsterdam theater in New York. It certainly deserved a mention in the book though.

The defining moment in Ms. Thomas' life was her death, and the book rightly spends a third of its length in discussing all of the different stories and scenarios about what caused her early death. Her investigation of the tragic event of Olive Thomas death makes for gripping reading, and you won't want to put this book down until Ms. Vogel reveals the likely scenario of what actually happened. I would recommend this book to anybody who is interested in biographies of actresses, especially those from the silent film era.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought this book after reading a fictionalized biography told by the ghost of Olive Thomas called The Forgotten Flapper. Up till then I'd never heard of her and since I enjoyed that book so much I naturally wanted too read a real biography of her. Well, this book is pretty dull. It contains almost nothing of her early days and very little about her time with the Follies. This book is mainly comprised of newspaper and magazine stories of her death. How many times can you read about the same event? It touches lightly on the sightings of Olive's ghost in the theater where the Follies were held. Then it ends with a listing of all her films in exhaustive detail, almost none of which are still in existence. Overall, a very dull account of a young woman who lead a lively life.
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