Thirty-Six Overlooked Films of Classic Movie Stars

It’s rather easy to rattle off the most well-known films of famous silver screen stars. And I’m rather glad those movies are still bringing attention to faces who are no long with us, but who contributed greatly to the popularity of moving pictures.

However, it would be a shame not to dig deeper into the filmography of these stars as there is much of their work that is just as deserving of attention. Some, because of the quality of the production and others simply for great entertainment value.

I made my own list of classic films that I feel are overlooked and worth highlighting. Obviously, it’s rather subjective and definitely not comprehensive. So if I’ve left out one of your favorites or you disagree with my choices, I’d love to hear from you! Continue reading “Thirty-Six Overlooked Films of Classic Movie Stars”

Silent Film Review – The Scarlet Letter (1926) – The Silent Movie Day Blogathon

I confess to having little appreciation for the classics of literature. I often find the stories to be long-winded, moralistic and rather dreary. However, thanks to my high school English class (I won’t mention how many years ago) I was exposed to some of these revered tomes.

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s famous tale of adultery, The Scarlet Letter is one I had a very strong reaction to. To this day, I clearly remember how angry I felt reading about Hester Prynne and the price she pays for having a daughter out of wedlock. I couldn’t understand why she would spare the father of her child by keeping silent. Nor could I forgive the minister for allowing her to bear the shame and scorn of their Puritanical community alone. It gave me a great disgust of human nature and the level of hypocrisy it can sink to.

Needless to say, it’s not a story I have desired to revisit. However, as so often happens with me, a case of serendipity had me willing to watch what is considered the best of the film adaptations of Hawthorne’s novel.  I’ve been intentionally delving more into the world of silent film. Recently I’ve read a handful of biographies of silent film stars which keep referring to Lillian Gish as one of the great actresses of that era. As it so happens, I also just recently watched Captain Salvation which starred Lars Hanson. When TCM decided to air The Scarlet Letter, which co-stars both Gish and Hanson in their first film together, well…I took it as a sign. Continue reading “Silent Film Review – The Scarlet Letter (1926) – The Silent Movie Day Blogathon”

Book Review – John Gilbert: The Last of the Silent Film Stars by Eve Golden

It’s only in recent years that I’ve developed an appreciation for silent film, much less for the people who made up of the world of early Hollywood.

John (“Jack”) Gilbert was one of silent film’s success stories but also one of Hollywood’s great cautionary tales. He was a real star. But not the kind affixed in the firmament. Gilbert was more like a shooting star; a man who toiled unnoticed for years, slowly climbing his way up, until he flashed brilliantly across the screen for a handful of years before experiencing a sad descent. Continue reading “Book Review – John Gilbert: The Last of the Silent Film Stars by Eve Golden”

Book Review – Memoirs of a Professional Cad by George Sanders

George Sanders was one of classic Hollywood’s most popular character actors who was occasionally cast as the leading man. He often played elegant, suave villains whose acerbic wit made his performances memorable.

It turns out that famed onscreen wit was an extension of Sanders himself. It is also what has made his autobiography one that many reviewers rave about. I have long meant to read his Memoirs of  a Professional Cad and finally made time to do so. Continue reading “Book Review – Memoirs of a Professional Cad by George Sanders”

Book Review – A Twist of Lemmon by Chris Lemmon

Can you believe that it is only in recent years that I have gained a deep appreciation for Jack Lemmon’s skill as an actor? And yet despite my new found sense of awe, I really don’t know much about the man himself.

You would think this would lead me to discover more about him through a typical biography or documentary, but no. Instead,  I picked up a book written by his son Chris Lemmon.

A Twist of Lemmon is exactly the type of book I love to read about a celebrity I respect. Just about anyone willing to diligently research can write a good biography. But it is rare to get the personal perspective from the subject’s friends or family, which is exactly what I’m interested in. And it is a quick little read at under two hundred pages. Continue reading “Book Review – A Twist of Lemmon by Chris Lemmon”

Book Review – Without Lying Down: Frances Marion and the Powerful Women of Early Hollywood by Cari Beauchamp

I blame Melanie Benjamin. It was my discovery of her fictionalized portrayal of the friendship between Mary Pickford and Frances Marion in The Girls in the Picture, that sparked my interest in Marion. In a serendipitous moment, I also just happened to watch the Marion directed, Pickford starring silent film The Love Light around the same time. Recently, I happened across Cari Beauchamp’s biography of Marion and that spark has now grown into a flame. Continue reading “Book Review – Without Lying Down: Frances Marion and the Powerful Women of Early Hollywood by Cari Beauchamp”