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Kyle Kersten was a true friend of TCM. One of the first and most active participants of the Message Boards, “Kyle in Hollywood” (aka, hlywdkjk) demonstrated a depth of knowledge and largesse of spirit that made him one of the most popular and respected voices in these forums. This thread is a living memorial to his life and love of movies, which remain with us still.

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Favorite Silent Actresses


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255 replies to this topic

#1 Natalie Webb

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Posted 20 February 2017 - 12:34 AM

Glad this is posting again. Very off and on. Anyway, I've seen Amarilly and Sparrows (also not a fave). Before actua;;y SEEING Pickford in films, I always assumed her stuff would gag a maggot. So it is a wonderful surprise to discover her as a talented, charming actress who had such a terrifif sense of fun and put it in her work. It's so easy NOW to see why she was so popular. That screen personality coupled with her amazing business sense and power in early Hollywood makes her one of the most interesting women in film history. Still love Swanson and Gish, but Pickford certainly deserves all the fan support we can give her!

I was hesitant about watching Mary Pickford too, but I was also pleasantly surprised! I love Stella Maris (1918), her talent is completely on display; she plays two roles in the film and does a marvelous job with both! It also brings up some interesting situations that leave you thinking long after the movie is over. The plot centers on two individuals: one a beautiful, crippled rich girl (Stella Maris) who has lived a sheltered life and believes the world is wonderful and knows nothing of hardship, and the other a plain orphan who has only seen the ugly side of life and never felt love. I was so intrigued to see how Stella Maris would react as she found out what life was really like, it kept me hooked!


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#2 Natalie Webb

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Posted 20 February 2017 - 12:23 AM

"Male and Female" is lots of fun. I love the way everyone play their parts so seriously. Gloria gives a great star performance. And ooo lala, that Thomas Meighan is another hunk-a-rama that I thought was so classy. You all should definitely read Swanson's memoirs, "Swanson on Swanson," because she goes into great detail about making this movie. I think "Morocco" is fabulous because it stars two incredibly gorgeous immotals. Marlene and Gary Cooper. He's even prettier than she is.

Male and Female (1919)was a very fun movie, and at the same time, it made me think. After I watched it, I kept thinking about its message about class and society and the Henley poem used in the film- it was such an interesting movie! I thought it was interesting (trying not to ruin anything for anyone who hasn't watched it, but there may still be spoilers) that although Thomas Meighan and Lila Lee were the servants they could still be free (trying not to give anything away!), it was Gloria who was tied down and encumbered by her wealth. A unique movie with Gloria and one of my favorite Thomas Meighan movies.



#3 Natalie Webb

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Posted 20 February 2017 - 12:05 AM

Actually Swanson played Glory Swanson on the "Hillbillies." Apparently she was the only movie star the Clampetts had ever heard of because her films were just getting to whatever town they came from in the Ozarks. The poor Clampettes had never seen "talkies." My vote for best performance by an actress---ever---goes to Swanson for Sunset Boulevard. Fabulous from opening scene on.... And to think she lost the Oscar to Judy Holliday for that piffle, Born Yesterday!!!!

She was fabulous in Sunset Boulevard (1950), one of my favorites! One of my favorite scenes is her New Year's Eve "party", her facial expressions are so good! She was wonderful in Beyond The Rocks  (1922).



#4 Natalie Webb

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Posted 20 February 2017 - 12:00 AM

I really enjoy Constance Talmadge, she is so fun and can make almost any movie enjoyable. Agnes Ayres was excellent in Forbidden Fruit (1921) and came across as very likeable on screen, definitely one of my top favorites. Nita Naldi played a marvelous vamp, but could also portray vulnerable characters as she did in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920), I always enjoy watching her. May McAvoy could be intense, shy, whatever the part was, I love her in The Enchanted Cottage (1924) and Lady Windermere's Fan (1925). Janet Gaynor is also very sweet and very talented.



#5 VivLeighFan

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Posted 09 February 2017 - 07:13 PM

Clara Bow and Lillian Gish are my favorites. I watched "It" on Youtube and I've loved her ever since. She was a natural. My favorite Gish films so far are Broken Blossoms, Orphans of the Storm, and The Night of the Hunter. I really want to see the movie she did with Bette Davis during her later years. I also like Lupe Velez, Alla Nazimova, and Leatrice Joy.
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#6 flickerknickers

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Posted 25 November 2003 - 09:41 AM

Mary Pickford's movies are so tragically overlooked today. When I watch something as wonderful as "Amarilly of Clothes Line Alley", I'm amazed that Pickford was creating gems like this nearly a century ago. Mention her name to our so-called young and up and coming film makers of tomorrow and they give you a blank look and that horrible question: "Whose zat?"

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Posted 25 November 2003 - 02:11 AM

Thanks, Coffeedan, I agree! They're great movies. I love Tess of the Storm Country and buncha others.

#8 coffeedan1927

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Posted 24 November 2003 - 06:39 AM

It's okay, Antar. I too have a high tolerance for Miss Pickford. Her films are so well made they almost sparkle. Among my favorites are STELLA MARIS and TESS OF THE STORM COUNTRY. She's so good playing a double role in STELLA, it chills you.
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#9 littletramplover

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Posted 20 October 2003 - 10:26 PM

Ooooh! Good girl for mentioning Buddy Rodgers! Isn't he just too cute for words?!? :)

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Posted 15 October 2003 - 07:03 PM

She's not my absolute favorite, but I have a high capacity for Mary Pickford flix. I hope that isn't unhealthy.

#11 iburnttheboys

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Posted 15 October 2003 - 12:12 PM

Clara Bow, Buddy Rogers, Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd MY favorites :)
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#12 littletramplover

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Posted 17 September 2003 - 03:48 PM

I love the ladies from the silent era-- they were fantastic, weren't they?

Janet Gaynor is probably my favorite actress from the silent era, although Clara Bow, Gloria Swanson and Pola Negri come in very close behind her. Janet Ganyor was just phenomenal in every aspect of her work. Her performanes are absolutely captivating. And CLara Bow is just too cute for words!

My *least* favorite Actress from the silent era?? MAE MURRAY. Ugh, I just CANNOT STAND her!!!
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#13 thrutheflowers

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Posted 07 July 2003 - 10:18 PM

Well, I'm far too sleepy to read all of the posts in this thread so if somebody has already mentioned Louise Brooks I apologize. She is by far the best silent film actress and not to mention the most intelligent and erotic as well. :)

#14 haroldhickory

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Posted 18 June 2003 - 07:19 AM

Here are some of my favorites:

Anna May Wong (not particularly her big starring effort - "Toll of the Sea", but all those other movies where she played the unsympathetic supporting player)

ZaSu Pitts (not so much "Greed", but, again, as a supporting player - I just love ZaSu)

Colleen Moore

Edith Storey

Mabel Normand

Marion Davies

Jobyna Ralston

Doris Kenyon

Lillian & Dorothy Gish

Lupe Velez


I have not seen "The Cheat", so I can't include Fanny Ward in my list.

And, of course, there are many other actresses from the period I would have liked to have seen - Marie Doro in particular. Blum's "Pictorial History of the Silent Screen" shows stills of dozens of them whose films are all lost today. :(

#15 flickerknickers

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Posted 11 June 2003 - 09:14 AM

Two must-see silents that I watch repeatedly are the l914 "The Cheat," starring the fabulous Fannie Ward and directed by Cecil B. Demille. And the l920 Louise Glaum movie, "Sex." "The Cheat" moves along at break-neck pace as it recounts how a 'social butterfly,' Ward, steals $10,000 from a charity and she goes to sexy Sessue Hayakawa who gives her the money--but he later brands her when she reneges the role of mistress. She shoots him but her husband takes the blame and goes to trial.There's a sensational trial and Fannie is a knockout. "Sex," is terrific fun. Glaum was a Theda Bara clone but she had her own style of glamour. The movie features beautiful costumes, sets, photography and lighting. Glaum has charisma galore. She plays a fast-living dancer and plays around but at the end, she learns humility. Both movies are fun,great to look at a chance to see what the best-dressed film actresses of the silents wore!

#16 haroldhickory

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Posted 11 June 2003 - 07:08 AM

punkkitten...I've never seen "Stella Maris", but you might be interested to know that Milestone Video is in the process of releasing almost the complete catalog of Mary Pickford features in beautiful prints. TCM has also shown a number of them.

As a side point, I recently purchased a copy of "Without Lying Down" from Milestone. It's a documentary about Frances Marion (sp?), the scriptwriter for many of Pickford's films. The tape also has Pickford's "A Little Princess" after the documentary. I bought the tape because I'm a big ZaSu Pitts fan, and "A Little Princess" was one of her first appearances on film. I really enjoyed Pickford in this one. The ending seemed a bit rushed (and possibly truncated), but it's well worth the money, in my opinion.

#17 flickerknickers

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Posted 10 June 2003 - 02:50 PM

I'm watching the Haines/Chaney goodie this weekend since it's supposed to be another rained out event. I would love to have watched Billy and Lon during breaks of "Tell It To the Marines." I've read where Billy found Lon Chaney extremely handsome and sexy. Lon reportedly had a few personal quirks of his own. I rewatched Billy in "West Point" again last weekend and just loved it. I'm also re-reading "Wisecracker" the bio on Haines. He must have been the Hollywood party boy to end all partyboys!

#18 alix1929

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Posted 10 June 2003 - 10:52 AM

Oh, was I in heaven! A William Haines movie! For some reason I had never seen this one until yesterday (taped the Silent Sunday Night movie) and I enjoyed it. Haines looked so youthful, slim and sexy. He had great eyes, didn't he, and sure knew how to use them. I think since this was made in 1926, he'd have been just 26 years old. Also impressive was Lon Chaney in a "non-traditional" role for him. He was excellent as drill sergeant O'Hara. Kind of felt sorry for him, as he hopelessly pursued lovely Eleanor Boardman.

I also thought the titles were well written. I snickered and giggled throughout this movie. Oh yes, and while I'm on the subject, the "new" score to this movie was well done too. It wasn't annoyingly modern and seemed to fit the mood and action involved. Let's give this composer a chance to do more scoring!

Any other thoughts on this one?

#19 flickerknickers

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Posted 10 June 2003 - 10:14 AM

punkkitten, I, too, absolutely love "My Best Friend" with Mary Pickford and her future husband, Buddy Rogers. He simply knocked me out the first time I saw him in this sparkling gem. To me he symbolized that clean-cut All-American young guy from the Jazz Age. I wish he had gone further in movies. You might really enjoy Clara Bow's movies, especially "The Wild Party", which is among her first talkies. Gloria Swanson and Rudolph Valentino were both love gods of the Silents. I've seen several of them at revival houses here in NYC, along with big symphony orchestras and these glamorous stars of old simply thrilled everyone at these revival showings. On the big screen, you can really understand how they became our first 'Love Gods' because their millions of fans literally worshipped them, as if they were real deities.

#20 punkkitten257

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Posted 09 June 2003 - 04:44 PM

I'm only 17, but I have really gotten into silent films. It's disappointing that some people know nothing about them.
Two years ago, I was watching a documentary on Lillian Gish when they mentioned her friendship with Mary Pickford. I thought I recognized the name, so I checked out "Mary Pickford: Rediscovered" from the public library. For anyone who loves Mary Pickford, this is a must-read! It has some really beautiful pictures and great information about her life and works, including some of her lost films!
She was an absolutely amazing actress as well as a filmaker. I've read every book I could find about her, and I honestly think she is one of the people without whom cinema would not exist today.
I think my favorite Pickford film is either "My Best Girl" or "Daddy-Long-Legs", but I have yet to see many of her other movies due to their unavailability.
I really want to see "Stella Maris"- has anyone seen it? What was your opinion?




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