It’s World Book Day! Celebrate with the Silent Stars!

Today is World Book Day, which is obviously the most important day of the year. And what better way to celebrate it than with silent movies? After all, it’s the most literate cinema possible.

I love books. My house is overflowing with books. Bursting at the seams. As a toddler, my first word wasn’t mama or dada. It was book. This is a lifelong obsession but, hey, I could be collecting body parts of something. Count your blessings.

One of the stupider aspects of Edgar Rice Burrough’s Tarzan series is the idea that a young man raised by Apes could teach himself to read and speak English solo with just a few Dick and Jane books. Um, no, Edgar. The 1918 movie toned down nonsense a bit but we still get a young Tarzan immediately comprehending that B is for Boy.

Read my review here.

I don’t know about you but I can’t stand people reading over my shoulder. It seems that Harry Liedtke doesn’t either, not that Pola Negri’s Carmen cares. This is from the 1918 Ernst Lubitsch-helmed version of the operatic tale, retitled Gypsy Blood for the American market.

Read my review here.

Alla Nazimova enjoys audiobooks, especially when they are being read to her by Rudolph Valentino. This is from Camille, a perfectly smashing adaptation of the Dumas novella.

Read my review here.

Sure, we love reading but what about writing? Here’s a secret: I was obsessed with obtaining and writing with a feathered quill pen when I was a kidlet. This obsession only increased when I saw Groucho Marx’s splendid quill in Duck Soup. Renee Adoree’s pen is more subdued in Monte Cristo (as in The Count of) but she makes up for it with tastefully draped pearls.

Read my review here.

This is my favorite book/reading GIF of all time, bar none. Can’t we all relate? It’s from the 1927 edition of Chicago, the original film version of the play that would become a musical.

Read my review here.


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8 Replies to “It’s World Book Day! Celebrate with the Silent Stars!”

  1. Having a close friend who studies entomology for fun, and has the collection to prove it…let’s just say that books are definitely better, collection-wise 😉

    And yes, we also have an absolute ton of ’em. Books seem like shells you’ve grown out of, and thus are very hard to part with- which is as it should be. So fascinating to leaf back through them, even (especially?) the oldest faded ones filled with dog-eared pages and margin notes in smeary pencil jots. And nothing cheers the heart more than a new book haul, unless it’s a new haul of silents on dvd!

    Love all the .gifs, particularly Chicago and Pola!

  2. As I recall from reading the first few books, Tarzan taught himself to read English but not to speak it. Admittedly still extremely unlikely, but at least theoretically possible.

    1. With perfect grammar? Including commas and semicolons? Um, no. That’s about as likely as a kid finding a pile of building materials and constructing the Taj Mahal.

  3. When we moved to a smaller house last year I had to let go of many books (and DVDs) and am now filling my retirement by replacing them 😀

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