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Favorite Silent Actresses


Guest Alix

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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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  • 13 years later...

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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  • 2 weeks later...

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.

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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).

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"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.

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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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