I like to read a lot of different things, but one of the genres I enjoy are biographies about silent/classic film stars. I thought I would share with you some of the titles that I would recommend. And some that I would say not to waste your time on.
The first of course is the book I finished reading over a month ago called Dangerous Curves Atop Hollywood Heels by Michael Ankerich. Oh how Jessica loves this book! The research done by the author was just incredible, which I definitely appreciate. Another plus, it covered some ladies who have been almost forgotten like Lucille Ricksen and Martha Mansfield. Go out and buy it now, if you cannot afford it at this time (especially with the holidays) I will let you borrow my copy for sure. I love it that much. And you, of course ;)
Next would be Silent Players by Anthony Slide. Slide is a film historian, and I love hearing him talk because he is so knowledgeable, and also because I love his accent. This book has wonderful biographies that are just enough to give you a real taste of the actor he is writing about. From the top of my head, I can recall that he covered Mignon Anderson, Gladys Brockwell, and of course the greats are covered too. The copy of this book that is in the library system I work at has a plate in it dedicated to me. It has my stamp of approval!
Silent Lives by Lon Davis is another one that contains little biographies of a number of stars. Problem is, I know I read it and liked it, but I can't really remember much else! I do remember really liking it though, so check it out.
Silent Movies by Peter Kobel is a beautiful book. It has a lot of information in it and beautiful pictures. It is a great coffee table book, which is where mine is sitting right now. Trust me, it is hard to read while laying in bed cuz it is a big one.
As far as star biographies go, I cannot recommend enough David Stenn. He wrote Clara Bow: Runnin' Wild and Bombshell about Jean Harlow. I read both books and absolutely loved them. He includes a lot of information, and you can tell he admires these ladies because he writes very sympathetically towards them. The Jean Harlow book had me crying when he was talking about her final days and how she suffered. Now, I don't cry easily, especially at books, so that is something. Two great books about two of my idols.
Vamp by Eve Golden was a good one too. It is about Theda Bara, if you couldn't already tell by the title. I am so happy someone wrote a biography about her, and Eve Golden is such a great author anyway, so I think she did Theda justice. I don't remember much about the book since it has been a few years since I read it, but I do remember I finished the whole thing, which again means something coming from me. If I don't like a book, I don't waste my time finishing it. Make sure to check out Eve's other books as well.
Nazimova by Gavin Lambert. I was kinda scared when I requested this book and it came in because it is a thick one. And normally when a book is that thick, it can read very much like a textbook and not be very interesting. That is not the case in this book. I was captivated from beginning to end. I don't know if it was the subject matter or the writing, but I would like to believe it is both. Alla Nazimova was such a dynamic force so her story itself is incredible and I grew to love her even more after reading Lambert's work.
Okay...now I gotta be careful talking about these next books because I found out the hard way that a Facebook friend of mine is a friend of the author and I made my opinions known on his wall. Not in a thrashing, bad way, but it wasn't completely positive either. Michelle Vogel wrote biographies about Olive Thomas and Olive Borden, and, well, they are not my favorites...which sucks because I love the Olives!! The Olive Thomas book was kinda boring and choppy and the quotes from magazines was overwhelming to the point where I felt like I was reading a bad research paper that I had written the night before. It wasn't the worst book that I have read, but it wasn't my favorite. The Olive Borden book was a little bit better, but not by much. I ended up skimming through the rest of it because I couldn't just lay back and read the whole thing. Vogel also wrote a book called Hollywood Blondes that has so many mistakes, it will make you cringe. Which, again, sucks because it has some of my favorites in it and could really be a good book!
As far as autobiographies go, check out The Times We Had by Marion Davies. Her life in Hollywood and with Hearst in her own words is very endearing and I thought it was a good read. I of course recommend My Wonderful World of Slapstick because it is by Buster! Duh! He was such a humble and funny man, that is a lovely view of his life by the man himself.
I do remember picking up Life of a Star by Pola Negri, but I don't remember what I thought of it. Oops!
These are just a few of the ones I have read, but it gives props to the best. What about you guys? Read any good books lately? :)
All these books sound amazing i wish i could read them! I am also an avid reader as well as a writer and one of my goals is to write a book about florence la badie one day since there are none devoted exclusively to her who was such a beautiful and fascinating woman. It is such a joy to be able to read about themstars of the silent screen. I will definetely have to get one of these books you recommended.ReplyDelete
I will have to really look up some of these books...you have me salivating at the thought of having these books:) I am also one who loves to read and always read in bed much to my hubby's annoyance but what does he know:)I do know what you mean about the large book in bed. I did that once and I fell asleep and let go of the book and blammo! Right on the head!! That woke me up but quick and gave me a slight headache to boot.ReplyDelete
FYI...I ordered the book-"Dangerous Curves...":)ReplyDelete
Oh, please do write the Florence book Suilyaniz, because I want to read it! I want to know more about her supposed affair with Woodrow Wilson and how it could have attributed to her death. I have only heard bits and pieces, and can't seem to find much more.ReplyDelete
Birgit, I did the big book to the face the other night! I am reading one called "Queen, Empress, Concubine" and I was nodding off and it knocked me in the nose and scared me to death! Haven't learned my lesson :pReplyDelete
Oooh! I am so excited you ordered the book! You will definitely have to tell me how you like it!
I am working on the book now. I hope it will be published in the future so more people know her story. But because both florence and wilson are deceased i think it will never truly be known if he had a hand in what i believe was her murder. But florence doesnt seem like the kind of woman to me that would have a consentual relationship with wilson. I wonder what the truth is.ReplyDelete
That is true about a lot of the unsolved cases in Hollywood's history, all the major players are long gone. It is unfortunate. Why do you believe she was murdered? Like I said, I haven't been able to delve too deeply into her death, so it just seems like a tragic accident.ReplyDelete
I really look forward to your book!!!
i believe she was murdered because it seems to be a fact that her car brakes were cut.that was found out when her car was inspected according to what ive found online. i hope its just a rumor or something. but if she was murdered the only onw i can think of who would want to do something like that to her would be wilson. Hope my book is published one day so you can read it and tell me what you think. As for Florence i really hope it was just a tragic accident as you said.ReplyDelete
Probably someone associated with Wilson, or maybe even his wife. She had a lot of control over him after his stroke. I just hope her beautiful soul is happy and at peace.ReplyDelete
Im sure she is at peace and we will see her up there one day.ReplyDelete
I have been off for awhile and remembered to look here...I completely and utterly forgot to send you as much info as I have on the book i have about Florence. I will find the book and shall write all the info i have on it...I am so sorry but I know you will find it very interesting.ReplyDelete
Don't apologize Birgit! I feel like I should constantly apologize to my readers because I don't get to write on here as often as I like. Real world interferes with all the fun I say! Please, take your time, no worries! I do look forward to reading the information you have though. Would it be easier to send it through e-mail or snail mail? Let me know!ReplyDelete
Great suggestions!! Hey, can you believe that our local library has only TWO shelves dedicated to old Hollywood? And less than half of the books on there are on silent films!! It's pathetic D:ReplyDelete
Oh that is awful! One of the great things about my library system is that we have access to a catalog that we can request from libraries throughout the state. So, 90% of the time, I can get my hands on some great/old stuff!ReplyDelete