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Guest Alix

Favorite Silent Actresses

258 posts in this topic

Guest Alix

Who are your favorite silent film actresses? Clara Bow? Lillian Gish? For the sake of discussion, why don't you tell a little bit about why you like the star(s) you name.

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Guest Alix

Okay, just to get the ball rolling here's one of my favorites: Clara Bow --they just don't get any better than Clara! She personifies what I think of when I think of a 1920's "modern" girl. She was beautiful, perky, and full of that 1920's energy! She had a great figure and wore the clothes of the period well. What I like most is the way Clara communicates with her eyes! She had beautiful eyes,and knew how to "work" them.

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Guest Cindy

Lillian Gish! She is truly one silent actress, who could do it all! From the serious to comedic! I have to thank my brother for introducing me to Lillian. I was never really into silent movies until I started watching Lillian!

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Guest Lcacicia

Hads down my favorite is Marion Davies. She brings a warmth and humor to her roles. Some of her best silents are the ones that Frances Marion wrote for her. You can't go wrong with either of them.

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Guest MM

Gloria Swanson was the Greatest of them All. She did everything first, and with style. She created the genre of the "glamourous Movie Star". If you are a fan of the silent era then "Swanson on Swanson" is required reading. Although at times it's a little shocking, she gives a much more realistic viewpoint of the early days of movie making. Today it's hard to imagine, but in the 'teens and early 1920's, she was the most famous woman on the planet!

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Guest Alix

"Swanson on Swanson" is an excellent book, and I agree should be required reading for any fan of the silent era. If I might ask, what did you think of "Sunset Blvd?" I thought she was fabulous in it. I have seen only a couple of her silentsm, one her transitional period talkies,and of course, "Sunset," but she was one of the greats!

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Guest wanderingchild

Gloria Swanson would have to be my favorite too, and as for her autobiography I agree that its a wonderful book! I haven't quite finishedreading it yet, but what I have read I have really enjoyed!

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Guest MM

Sunset Blvd. is one of my favorite films. Are you old enough to remember when the played a reoccuring role on the Beverly Hillbillies?

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Guest Alix

It looks like part of your message got cut off. I definately remember "Beverly Hillybillies" growing up. Who from SUNSET BLVD. had a reoccuring role?

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Guest jeryson

I dearly love to get out my Clara Bow tapes and watch this phenomenon over and over. In "Our Dancing Mothers", she steals the show from would-be star Alice Joyce, as Alice's fun-loving, wild-living but lovable daughter. In "The Wild Party", Bow is amazingly good. Her voice is perfect. But we know now what a horror she had of the microphone. Bow could do anything--much like Bette Davis. And to think Hollywood always looked down at her, even when she was the most popular star in the world! More movies, please TCM, of the great Clara. Not to be overlooked is the marvelous work Garbo did in her silents. Especially "Wild Orchids" and "The Kiss." Wish we could have a whole festival of these two greats at a good time slot--like 6 p.m. or 7 or 8 p.m. I can't stay up at 2 to catch them.

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Guest Alix

Clara Bow is one of my favorite actresses. And when you said, "More movies, plase TCM, of the great Clara," let's have movies like CALL HER SAVAGE (notorious pre-Code), HOOPLA (her last film), KICK-IN (the movie where she reportedly had a nervous breakdown), MANTRAP (silent film), and others we haven't seen broadcast before. Clara's fans all over the country would be in "red-headed heaven!"

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Guest Alix

Who did she play? Oh my gosh--La Belle Swanson on the Beverly Hillybillies? I'm in shock!

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Guest MM

Gloria Swanson played herself on The Beverly Hillbillies. Swanson was the Clampetts favorite movie star. The story line was that Gloria was selling off her estate, and the Clampetts thought she was bankrupt. They made a new silent movie at the studio that Jed Clampett owned. The movie starred Gloria and the members of the Clampett Family.The Clampetts thought they were saving Gloria's estate.

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Guest drednm

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!!!!

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Guest Alix

She was definitely great in SUNSET BLVD. I'd love to see the movies she made with Joseph Kennedy as her producer, like WHAT A WIDOW and THE TRESSPASSER. I don't know if they even exist or are ever shown.

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Guest drednm

This is the only Swanson silent (made with Kennedy) I've seen. TCM shows it now and then. It was never completed but enough exists to get the gist of the film. As you, Alix, I've been asking for The Trespasser, Swanson's smash talkie debut, for some time. TCM also shows Swanson's Sadie Thompson too. She's excellent.

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Guest Alix

I'd love it if someone would dig way down deep in the vaults and pull out something we've not seen. Like you, I've seen QUEEN KELLY numerous times, and feel like it's only "ok." Swanson looks beautiful (of course) but it is the wild queen, Seena Owen, who really commands your attention! Do you know anythingh about her? Did she do other movies? I sure don't remember seeing her in anything else. I'd love any info on her!

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Guest Alix

Just asking. This is another one of Clara Bow's transitional films I've never seen. I was wondering if anyone had seen it, and if so, could you tell us what it's like.

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Guest kafor

Alix: I ,like you, did not know very much about Seena Owen and your questions awakened my curiosity. She has a very impressive filmography of 53 silent movies from 1915 to 1932, shortly after she retired in 1933. The movie you speak about,"Queen Kelly", was next to her last movie "Officer Thirteen (1932).Seena Owen was born in the Pacific Northwest in Spokane, Washington on November 14, 1894. Her first film was "A Yankee From The West" in 1915 under the name of Signe Auen when she was 21 years old. The following year Seena appeared in D.W. Griffith's epic picture "Intolerance" as Arrarea. In 1919, Seena played Barbara Riggs in the well-received "A Fugitive From Matrimony". This very adept actress appeared in several quality films during her career. Seena married George Walsh (1916-1924)(divorced). Seena died at age 72 on August 15, 1966.Thanks for jogging my curiosity!

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Guest drednm

This has become, perhaps, my favorite silent film of all time. The breadth of this film and technical wizardry still amzes me every time I see it. It appears in many chopped-up versions. TCM's is probably the best (no surprise). I wrote an article about Constance Talmadge (as the Mountain Girl) being the first feminist heroine in US cinema. She is amazingly good. Unfortunately, this is the only performance of hers I've seen. Talmadge retired rather than attempt talkies and all her other silent films have apparently vanished. Mae Marsh, Robert Harron, and Miriam Cooper are also fantastic in the modern story arc, one that utilizes rapid cross-cutting, a film technique that must have left 1917 film audiences quite dizzy. Daily Variety ran an article a few months back using Intolerance as an example of early filmmakers' use of historic or biblical films as excuses for showing scantily clad women. Please! This film is so much more than near-naked babes cavorting. The acting, technical innovation, and of course the Babylonian sets are among the best of the silent era--and they all stand the test of time.

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Guest Alix

I had no idea she had such a lengthy filmography! She is so wild and outrageous in QUEEN KELLY that she really draws your attention to her in every scene she's in. Wonder why she bowed out after 1932? So sad that so many great silent stars faded from the scene when they should have been great leaders in the talking era. Thanks for researching her!

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Guest drednm

Apparently after The Trespasser, Swanson was in a string of bombs. Like so many other silent stars, she was very expensive. It got to the point where she was afraid of one more bomb (which would have finished her), so she kind of faded away. She did one minor (and bad) comedy in the 40s, and then the great comeback in Sunset Boulevard. Because she was so big, any bomb practically made headlines. Her failures were not private. I think she had all the talent, looks, and starpower to have been a huge star during the 30s, but..............

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Guest jeryson

On the day Swanson died, I went to the old Regency Film Repertory Theater here in Manhattan to see a tribute to her. The film that night was "Music in the Air," an extremely light concoction from the early 30s. Swanson looked great but she came across as flat and artificial. She vamped in great clothes by Travis Banton, sang a song in a light, dry voice but it was like her great star voltage had died. I also nearly met Swanson one day on Fifth Avenue in the seventies. I saw this stunning looking little woman just strutting her stuff. She wore a beautiful leopard fur coat, matching turban, white silk scarf, tiny shoes. When she passed me by her face was radiant.It was Christmas and she carried her trademark rose.A note on Intolerance: this is one of the great marvels in film history. When I rave about this one and "Greed" and "Tol'able David", people's eyes glaze over. They've never heard of any of them. And yet you never find any of these great ones listed on the hysterically funny American Film Institute's of l00 Greatest Movies. They always smack "Citizen Kane" (spare me) at the top.

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Guest Alix

Did you dare speak to her? I think I'd have been so shocked I wouldn't have known **what** to say! Did you just watch her walk by? Tell more! Tell more!! The outfit you described sure sounds like something Gloria would have worn. Did she have a reputation for being friendly to fans? I know some stars were known for their kindness (Clara Bow, for example) and others are legendary for not (Garbo).

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