- Hardcover: 464 pages
- Publisher: University Press of Kentucky; First Edition edition (September 27, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 081312249X
- ISBN-13: 978-0813122496
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 16 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,646,388 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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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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.
"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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For mostly selfish reasons, I was a little disappointed by this book because many silent player names (well known or otherwise) I run across and would like to look up I do not find in this book. I was also disappointed in the biography on the actor about whom I know the most because I run a tribute website on him. I did not learn much new about him through this book which surprised me because he was very famous between 1914-16 and Slide knew several actors and actresses who worked with him (i.e. Lillian Gish). As many other reviewers have noted, there is a lot of gossipy information in this book (Slide calls it "revisionist, almost revolutionary"). Everything from Robert Harron dying a virgin to Mary Pickford's drunken rages aimed at her husband Buddy Rogers. Certainly, one would be hard pressed to find such stories in other books. One of the best features in the book, however, are the photos. Every star has a full page photo (except for those in the "Legends" and "Vamps" chapters who have a smaller photo and only a paragraph of text). Many of the photos seem to be quite unusual. I had never seen the photo used in this book of my website subject before. Slide does not use the commonly seen publicity shots for this book, which is nice. If the above names intrigue you and you like a bit of controversy, I recommend this book but, as a reference guide to silent movie stars, I was disappointed in it.
Many of the persons mentioned are famous such as Doug Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, Greta Garbo and Fay Wray. The vast majority of those discussed are of actors I am not acquainted with nor will most readers know who they are.
All of the persons are interesting with stories to tell about the early days of D.W, Griffith, Cecil B. DeMille and Fred Niblo and other directors who made the movies, the stars and the way in which movies were produce in a bygone era.
Slide knew several of the actors on a personal basis and includes humorous and sad stories of his dealings with them.
This work could be used as an a handy reference tool for students of silent film and can also be read cover to cover for profitable pleasure.
This work along with the fine work of Kevin Brownlow allows t he new student to pre-sound film a good basic grounding in who the people were who were on the screens of America long ago.
Some of the personal stories are quite sad while others have happy endings; truly reflecting the good old days of cinema.