Greetings! I wanted to try something a little different today so I decided to share some of the over-the-top silent era books I have been reading/have read.
I am a huge fan of kitsch and overblown romances in the 19th and early-20th century style. (As in written in, not just set in.) Fortunately, so were silent movie people. On that note, here are some of the public domain books I have been entertaining myself with.
Obviously, your mileage may vary with these books so please just enjoy them as you choose. And since these are romances very much of their time, most feature a little light kidnapping.
The Eagle’s Mate by Anna Alice Chapin
A 1914 yarn about a wild and sexy mountaineer named Lancer who falls in love with a valley girl (as in “lives in a valley” not “like, totally, as if!”) named, are you ready for this, Anemone. My dream is to one day have a reading to see who can go the longest without tripping over the heroine’s name.
The book was made into a film the same year with Mary Pickford in the lead and James Kirkwood both directing and starring. It was thought lost for years but a print surfaced in 2000. Yay!
The Unafraid by Eleanor M. Ingram
A 1913 novel set in Montenegro with a heroine named (groan) Delight and a hero named Stefan. It was adapted into a 1915 film directed by Cecil B. DeMille and stars Rita Jolivet and House Peters. A copy is held by the George Eastman House and DeMille reused the costumes and sets to make the delightfully bonkers The Captive, which gender swapped the kidnapping and starred Blanche Sweet.
The Great Divide by William Vaughn Moody
This popular play was released in book form and then adapted into a 1915 motion picture with… House Peters. (Howdy, House!) I have reviewed it but it’s not yet available on home video. It’s all about the old west and, of course, abduction because Tinder was not yet a thing, I guess.
The Penalty by Gouverneur Morris
Fans of the Lon Chaney picture will notice major differences between the 1913 novel and the 1920 film. To be honest, I think the screenplay is better than the original and I have all the details in my review.
I hope you enjoyed this little whirlwind tour!
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