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Hollywood?s Most Famous Silent Film Actresses: The Lives and Careers of Greta Garbo, Gloria Swanson, and Mary Pickford

Charles River Editors

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ISBN 10: 1539839982 / ISBN 13: 9781539839989
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2016
Condition: Good Soft cover
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Title: Hollywood?s Most Famous Silent Film ...

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Publication Date: 2016

Binding: Paperback

Book Condition: Good

About this title

Synopsis:

*Includes pictures *Includes the actresses' quotes about their lives and films *Includes online resources and a bibliography for further reading At the end of the 20th century, the American Film Institute compiled a list of the 25 greatest actors and actresses in Hollywood over the past 100 years, but only a select few worked all the way back in the silent era of films, before “talkies” revolutionized the industry at the end of the 1920s. Among them was Mary Pickford, who was ranked 24th but was arguably the most influential actress when it came to creating the career template for all actresses who followed, from name changes to salary. Like many actresses of the early 20th century, “Little Mary” got her start by acting on the stage, and she eventually made it to Broadway. By the time she had finished her run there, she had caught the eye of film director D.W. Griffith, who would go on to make Birth of a Nation and was working for the Biograph at the time. Over the next several years, Pickford became the most famous actress in the industry, with only Charlie Chaplin rivaling her in popularity, to the extent that one film reviewer wrote she was “the best known woman who has ever lived, the woman who was known to more people and loved by more people than any other woman that has been in all history." Of all the great movie stars, there may be none more enigmatic than Greta Garbo, who remains internationally famous despite the fact her life and career raise more questions than answers. How did a Swedish actress with very little film acting experience in her native land arrive in the United States and achieve instant stardom? Most actresses had to wait years before they were offered starring roles in major films, yet Garbo was ushered to the front of the line and perched atop the MGM pantheon at a time in which it was the studio par excellence. How was she able to transition from silent films to “talkies” so fluidly, giving many of her most decorated performances during the 1930s? While stars like Charlie Chaplin never recovered from cinema’s transition to synchronized sound, Garbo flourished, which is made all the more amazing by the fact she had a foreign accent that could easily have alienated American audiences and threatened her career. Finally, and perhaps most mystifyingly of all, why would Garbo retire in 1941, at just 36 years of age and two years removed from Ninotchka, arguably her most acclaimed film? At the same time, for as famous as Greta Garbo is as an actress, her films are not remembered so positively, if they are remembered at all. While Garbo herself was nominated on three occasions for the Academy Award for Best Actress, only one film of hers, Grand Hotel (1932), was even nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture. For the most part, Garbo acted in films that were seemingly well beneath her, which was certainly the case with her films from the silent era. It goes without saying that the most enduring image of Gloria Swanson is the famous shot of her in Sunset Boulevard (1950), head tilted backward, stating, “Alright, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close up.” Indeed, for many, the very mention of “Gloria Swanson” conjures the name of “Norma Desmond,” her character in Sunset Boulevard, directed by Billy Wilder. That the shot of Desmond requesting her close-up remains indelibly imprinted in the minds of so many speaks in large part to the power of Sunset Boulevard, one of the most revered films of its times and the most famous film of Gloria Swanson’s career. By dint of her performance in the film, Swanson has become almost synonymous with Hollywood’s silent era. In many respects,

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