Douglas Fairbanks and the American Century by John C. Tibbetts

By John C. Tibbetts

Douglas Fairbanks and the yankee Century brings to existence the preferred celeb of his day, the personification of the Golden Age of Hollywood. At his height, within the kids and twenties, the swashbuckling adventurer embodied the recent American Century of pace, chance, and competitive optimism. The essays and interviews during this quantity carry clean views to his lifestyles and paintings, together with analyses of movies by no means ahead of tested. additionally released right here for the 1st time in English is a first-hand construction account of the making of Fairbanks’s final silent movie, The Iron Mask.

Fairbanks (1883–1939) was once the main vibrant and strenuous exponent of the yankee Century, whose dominant mode after 1900 was once the mass advertising and marketing of a burgeoning democratic optimism, at domestic and out of the country. in the course of these first a long time of the 20 th century, his satiric comedy adventures shadow-boxed with the illusions of sophistication and customized. His characters controlled to mix the yank Easterner’s adventure and pretension and the Westerner’s promise and enlargement. because the masculine personification of the previous global aristocrat and the recent global self-made man―tied to culture but emancipated from history―he built a uniquely American aristocrat striding right into a new age and sensibility.

This is the main whole account but written of the movie occupation of Douglas Fairbanks, one of many first nice stars of the silent American cinema and one of many unique United Artists (comprising Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, Charles Chaplin, and D. W. Griffith). John C. Tibbetts and James M. Welsh’s textual content is principally wealthy in its insurance of the early years of the star’s occupation from 1915 to 1920 and covers intimately a number of motion pictures formerly thought of lost.

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American advertising, American newspapers, American politics, American municipal administration, American hypocrisy, American money-madness, American business—such subjects have been the food of American farce and as a consequence the latter has frequently proved to be the most stimulating, corrective and derisorily tonic page in the native dramatic catalogue. . 15 Loos herself stated her objectives with characteristic snap and verve: Forget the symbolism and fairy stuff. Go out in the kitchen and write the history of the cook, and you will probably have a much more interesting story than any tiresome allegorical abstractions about humanity.

Fix-It will be discussed here (the others, including the westerns and the costume films, are examined later in these pages). We begin with the team of Anita Loos and her future husband, John Emerson (who married in 1919). The diminutive Loos (1888–1981) was a veritable wunderkind of the American cinema. “Anita Loos, the demitasse librettist, is a great help to our hero,” enthused Photoplay in 1917. ”7 While barely out of her teens, Loos sold her first scenario to the Lubin Company, an opus entitled, The Earl and the Tomboy.

They were written by somebody named Anita Loos. Emerson thought them great material for Fairbanks and told Griffith so. The Great Man remained unimpressed. ” Bewildered, Emerson wanted to know why Griffith had bought so many of the stories. “I like to read them myself ” was Griffith’s famous rejoinder. ”26 Emerson prevailed and soon he, Loos, and Fairbanks—“The Great Triple Alliance,” declared Variety27—quickly crafted in the next few months two of the most idiosyncratic and successful pictures of this stage in Fairbanks’s career: His Picture in the Papers and The Matrimaniac.

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