Hola! I’ve been out of town for a awhile but am back just in time for the Five Stars Blogathon hosted by Classic Film and TV Cafe, celebrating National Classic Movie Day–my kind of holiday!
In true Silent-ology style, I decided to focus on my top 5 utmost favorites from the silent era, rather than film in general. So let’s count down to number 1:
5. Louise Fazenda
And obscure performer today, Louise was once one of the most popular slapstick comediennes and was generally known for her persona of a playful country bumpkin. She embodies many of my favorite silent comedy tropes–Keystone zaniness, quaint costumes, rural hijinks, great performances, wacky pratfalls–and in real life was noted for her friendliness and tireless charity work. Regular readers know that I’ve been researching Louise’s life and career, and recently wrote a long piece about her here.
4. Colleen Moore
Oh yes, Miss Flaming Youth herself! One of the major female stars of the Jazz Age, Colleen embodied the concept of the modern flapper–forever vivacious, fun-loving, and of course sporting a sleek bob and stylish clothes. To me, she seemed to retain more girlish innocence than rivals like Clara Bow, and her comic timing was excellent. She is forever one of my very favorites!
3. Robert Harron
While he was unfortunately gone too soon, “Bobby” was one of the finest talents of the 1910s. Under the tutelage of D.W. Griffith himself, he gave sensitive performances in True Heart Susie, Hearts of the World, Intolerance, and many more–his range was astonishing. I love his quiet intensity and boyish, unassuming charm. Lillian Gish later said that “something about him caught the heart,” and I agree. I wrote a long piece on his life and career here.
2. Lillian Gish
Not for nothing has Lillian been called the “First Lady of the Cinema.” Her extraordinary talents are well known to anyone with even a passing knowledge of silent film. Plus, she was a genuinely classy woman–at least one biographer attempted to find some sort of “dirt” on her, and basically ended up rending his garment in vain. You are everything, Miss Gish.
I know, I know…this is a tremendous shock. Totally out of left field.
So if I did name my top 5 favorites from cinema in general? That’s unbearably difficult, but I might have to say Buster, Lillian, James Stewart, Lucille Ball…and Johnny Depp! With his liking for unique character roles and elaborate makeup/costume effects, he’s one of today’s actors that embodies a little of the old Hollywood spirit, I’d say. And it doesn’t hurt that his favorite actor is Buster, who often gets brought up in Depp’s interviews!
So what are your top five favorite silent actors? Or, just actors in general? Feel free to share!