Once upon a time, Hollywood stars were worshipped like gods and goddesses. No photographers were trying to snap pants-less crotch shots as someone stepped from a car. Nor were they terrorizing people in traffic and threatening the lives of innocent bystanders with their self-aggrandizing stunts.
If you want to see an example of creativity as "intelligence having fun," watch the opening sequence from 1920's The Scarecrow as the 5'6" Buster Keaton and 6'3" Joe Roberts sit down to one of the most elaborately choreographed breakfasts you will ever see in your life.
There is a folk tale / fairy tale feel to this month's San Francisco Silent Film Festival. The festival's upcoming winter event, a now annual day-long series of screenings at the Castro Theater, takes place on Saturday, February 16.
Mary Pickford: Queen of the Movies was published to mark the 120th anniversary of the birth of the silent era's most accomplished, most popular and most beloved stars. Recently, its author answered some questions about her new book and the importance of Pickford.
You've probably heard old-timers talk about how movie stars aren't as good as they used to be. This is a little unfair -- plenty of fine actors are working in the movies -- but in one respect, the new stars really aren't a patch on the stars of yore.
Is cool necessary for a public life? I think it helps. There seems to be a yearning -- even a need -- for shading and variation in tone and color and meaning. Celebrity requires it if a celebrity is to survive.
The cost of maintaining a family secret often turns out to be far more dramatic than previously imagined. This summer, the San Francisco Silent Film Festival screened two classics that showed the devastating effect such secrets can have on a family.