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Book At the Center of the Frame: Leading Ladies of the Twenties and Thirties

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At the Center of the Frame: Leading Ladies of the Twenties and Thirties

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | At the Center of the Frame: Leading Ladies of the Twenties and Thirties.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    William M. Drew(Author)

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Through the oral histories of ten prominent actresses, William Drew takes the reader on a behind-the-scenes tour of Hollywood's Golden Age.

Silent Stars is a fond yet perceptive look at some overlooked, misunderstood, or underappreciated stars of the silent era. With wit, enthusiasm, and a refreshing lack of condescension, Basinger (film studies, Wesleyan Univ.) surveys the lives and careers of stars like "America's sweetheart" Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Lon Chaney, and even animal star Rin-Tin-Tin (whose exploits helped save the fortunes of one studio). She explores Valentino's sexual ambiguity, shows that John Gilbert's high voice did not doom his film career in talkies, and explains that Marion Davies's status as the mistress of William Randolph Hearst overshadowed her considerable gifts as a comedienne. In her excellent introduction, Basinger also notes that the silence allowed audiences to bond with their favorite stars and that the easily translated title cards made international fame possible--though, incredibly, some studies were reluctant to reveal actors' names, which they feared would lead to exorbitant star salaries. This book deserves to take its place next to Kevin Brownlow's classic The Parade's Gone By (LJ 2/15/69). Drew's (Speaking Silents) oral history-based book focuses exclusively on lesser-known leading ladies of the late 1920s and 1930s. After giving a bit of background, he lets each actress--including Constance Cummings, King Kong star Fay Wray, and Claire Trevor (best known for her Oscar-winning turn in John Huston's Key Largo)--tell her own story. They discuss the different paths that brought them to Hollywood and the divergent turns their lives took after the days of stardom. The inclusion of many personal details here may put some readers off, but the appended filmography is valuable. Silent Stars is highly recommended for public libraries; At the Center of the Frame is for large academic and special libraries.-Stephen Rees, Levittown Regional Lib., PA Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

4.5 (11554)
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Book details

  • PDF | 392 pages
  • William M. Drew(Author)
  • Cooper Square Press; 1st edition (September 28, 1999)
  • English
  • 4
  • Biographies & Memoirs

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Review Text

  • By Rick on July 1, 2014

    Wonderful!

  • By Tee on June 7, 2003

    I was surprised that I didn't really enjoy this book especially since I love the era and am a big fan of at least three of these ladies (Billie Dove, Anita Page, Claire Trevor). The big problem for me is that the "interview" chapters are all written in "as told to" format and makes the ladies all sound like one voice. Even so, it's easy to tell which stars Drew was partial to and which he didn't particularly like. The photographs are great but so many are reproduced tiny, about 2x2. The book is printed on beautiful paper stock though and we get so few books these days on classic Hollywood (especially concerning the lesser lights) you might still want to check this one out.

  • By Sarah Baker on June 12, 2000

    This book, as well as Drew's "Speaking of Silents", is a must-read for anyone interested in silent film history and the transition to sound. Not only does it document changes within the film industry, but it also documents these actresses' stories--in their own voices. I can't recommend it highly enough!

  • By Courthouse Academy on March 14, 2003

    I have thoroughly enjoyed this book, and it appears to be very true to character. I can at least state this to be true about Anita Page, as she is my aunt. It is a very fun read!

  • By Franklin Aasen on August 24, 2001

    This book was better than I expected. If one enjoys reading about the early Hollywood stars this book is a must. Well written, plenty of photos and the in-dept interviews are a treat to read. Recommended!!!!!


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