Silent Film’s Last Hurrah: The Remarkable Movies of the Long 1928

McFarland. Mar. 2023. 211p. ISBN 9781476668956. pap. $39.95. FILM
Meuel’s (Women Film Editors) latest book marks a specific, prolific time in silent-film history that signaled the end of an era as Hollywood transitioned to sound. This title covers films from the end of 1927 to early 1929. Each chapter details a silent-film star or director and a renowned film of theirs from that period. These include Buster Keaton’s Steamboat Bill, Jr., Mary Pickford’s My Best Girl, Gloria Swanson’s Sadie Thompson, Charlie Chaplin’s The Circus, Harold Lloyd’s Speedy, and Joan Crawford’s Our Dancing Daughters. Meuel analyzes what made these films special and provides details about the stars’ personal lives and their other notable works. For some, the introduction of talkies marked the end of their careers, whereas others continued to flourish. Film-history fans will enjoy Meuel’s contextualization of some of the greatest silent films and biggest actors. The book’s content is also easily accessible for newly interested readers without a larger film-history background.
VERDICT Great for libraries with lots of movie buffs, especially fans of silent films and classics, and for institutions with film studies programs.
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