Silent Hollywood

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Noted journalist Karl K. Kitchen traveled to Los Angeles from 1919 onward to write a series of articles on the secrets and glamor of the nascent Hollywood.

He witnessed Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, and Mary Pickford at work, and they invited him into their homes so he could also describe them at play. Kitchen takes the reader on a tour of the studios (Keystone, Famous Players-Lasky, Fox) and on location (Brown’s Ranch). We meet the stars (Rudolph Valentino, Fatty Arbuckle, William S. Hart, Jackie Coogan, Pola Negri), as well as directors like D.W. Griffith, Mack Sennett, and Cecil B. DeMille.

As art and commerce fight for domination he also details the increasing industrialization of the motion picture process. Hiram Abrams (United Artists), Marcus Loew (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer), and Adolph Zukor (Paramount) outline the economic science and systems needed to sell movies to the public while still retaining a healthy profit margin.

Ultimately, Chaplin reflects these changes and tensions in society, where men are being turned into machines and being treated like them too, with his film Modern Times—his last silent movie.

Collected in this volume for the first time are 43 articles by Karl K. Kitchen, which give a privileged and intimate portrait of Hollywood’s silent era. After reading this book, perhaps you will come to understand that, as Kitchen writes, “Hollywood is simply a state of mind."

The Author: Karl K. Kitchen (1885-1935) was a journalist for the New York Sunday World and author of several travel books.

The Editor: Paul Duncan is a best-selling film historian and the editor and co-author of The Charlie Chaplin Archives.
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