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Oscar Apfel: Articles


Rediscovering Silent Film Star with Million Dollar (Adjusted) Back

Kitty Gordon: Silent film star with the 'most beautiful' and most heavily insured back. Rediscovering a long-forgotten silent film star: Kitty Gordon It seems almost unthinkable that there are still silent film stars who have not been resurrected, their lives and movies subject to detailed, if not always reliable, examination. Yet I am reminded by Michael Levenston, a Canadian who has compiled what is best described as a “scrapbook” of her life and career, that there is one such individual – and not just a “name” in silent films, but also from 1901 onwards famed as a singer/actress in musical comedy and on the vaudeville stage in both her native England and the United States. And she is Kitty Gordon […]


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Rediscovering Silent Film Star with Million Dollar (Adjusted) Back



'Phil-for-Short': Early Feminist Tale

Made in 1919, the year before women gained the right to vote in the United States, the ultimately disappointing (and sleep-inducing) Phil-for-Short tells the story of an unconventional young woman (minor 1910s leading lady Evelyn Greeley) who sets her eyes on a geeky professor of Greek. The problem is that the professor (minor 1910s leading man Hugh Thompson) had been previously hurt by his conniving former fiancée, and is thus unwilling to have anything to do with the opposite sex. At that point, woman starts chasing man. (See synopsis.) Directed by the prolific Oscar Apfel – by 1920, Apfel had directed more than 70 shorts and features – from a screenplay by Clara S. Beranger (a specialist in stories focusing […]


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'Phil-for-Short': Early Feminist Tale