Large portions of this book are reprints of interviews and articles from Hollywood magazines to newspapers that date back to the early 1920s. Anyone kLarge portions of this book are reprints of interviews and articles from Hollywood magazines to newspapers that date back to the early 1920s. Anyone knows periodicals of that era generally were not accurate; or that they usually glossed over the truths if not outright lied about Hollywood and its stars. That is why further research was seriously needed here. I don’t mind if an author makes references to dated articles or even republishes them in their entirety, but it is when they become the primary source of the story that I consider lazy, pointless and poorly researched.
My conclusion is that the book lacks any proper substance to be called a true biography. Author Michelle Vogel claims that everything that is known about Olive Thomas and her death are within these pages. If that is the case then the book should have been titled “Olive Thomas: her life and death according to popular media”, then feasibly my expectations would have been less.
Even so, some portions of the book are somewhat interesting, and the photographs are nice, but none are adequate enough for me to rate it above the 2 stars nor justify its cost....more
“This book came into being because of the urging, pleading insistence and nagging of a young newspaper man from Tennessee named Jeffrey Carrier.” And“This book came into being because of the urging, pleading insistence and nagging of a young newspaper man from Tennessee named Jeffrey Carrier.” And so begins Patsy Ruth Miller’s delightful, witty, and down-to-earth Hollywood memoir.
Written in a chatty conversational tone, Patsy gives us a firsthand account of the people and places she has come across over the years. A good deal of her recollections includes well known friends, acquaintances and co-stars such as: Gloria Swanson, Greta Garbo, John Gilbert, literary giant F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Barrymore, Douglas Fairbanks Jr.(whose introduction opens the book), Mary Pickford, Tom Mix, Ronald Colman, William Powel, Clark Gable, Howard Hughes and many, many others. For example, the weekend parties she spent at the famed Hearst Castle as a guest of Marion Davis and publishing mogul William Randolph Hearst during the 1920s. Other guests at these festivities included Charlie Chaplin, Norma Talmadge, and Mayor Jimmy Walker among others.
Equally important are Patsy’s highpoint of her film career and the actors she worked with. For instance, Patsy describes the rapport she develops with her co-stars, Rudolph Valentino and (to a greater degree) Alla Nazimova while filming “Camille” (1921) – Patsy’s first movie. Likewise, there is a chapter on Lon Chaney, who she co-starred with in the classic silent film, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (1923) as Esmeralda - the role Ms. Miller is best remembered.
In addition, Ms. Miller describes her many travels abroad. Once, while visiting Tahiti in 1931 with former silent screen actress Lila Lee, Patsy had a terrifying experience which involved Lila’s jealous lover Australian film director John Farrow (father of Mia Farrow). Frankly, she had me scared stiff. Then, there was the time she visited an opium den in Paris and hobnobbed with Parisian criminals. She also speaks of a funny occurrence she experienced in a bar during the sexually notorious Weimar era in the 1920s Berlin and later her impressions of a Berlin under Nazi's rule. These are only samplings of the extraordinary stories you will read about Hollywood, New York, London, and Budapest to Berlin.
Unfortunately, there are few memoirs by silent screen stars; for that reason, this book is enormously valuable. In fact, according to biographer Michael G. Ankerich (who interviewed Miller in “Broken Silence” and claims Pasty’s memoir is his favorite),says film museums around the world requested copies of her book for their libraries after it was first published in 1988 and that Pasty proudly autographed a copy for former president and Mrs. Ronald Reagan.
For those who are looking for a full filmography of her movies you will be pleased to find them at the end of her book by way of title, year, synopses, casts, credits, notes and even vintage reviews. Oh, and I don’t want to forget to mention that there are photos too; plenty of photographs from Ms. Miller’s own splendid collection.
My only criticism (and it’s a minor one) is that Patsy jumps around a tab too much in a few places and that made it a bit vexing to read at times. I presume she wanted to record her thoughts as fast as they came to her, seeing that she was already in her 80s when she reluctantly started her memoirs. Still, that didn’t take any of the enjoyment I had in reading it.