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Anita Loos

Anita Loos and John Emerson

Anita Loos and John Emerson reviewing an intertitle in 1919, the year they married. Photograph: Rex/Shutterstock

Anita Loos is one of my favourite Hollywood characters. She wrote the best silent film intertitles (bar none), brilliantly snappy 1930s comedies and the deathless comic novel Gentlemen Prefer Blondes too. The fact that the Slapstick festival in Bristol is paying tribute to her this month was excuse enough for me to devote my latest Guardian column to hymning her praises.

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Violent ends

 

The Great Train Robbery (1903)

The Great Train Robbery (1903)

The Great Train Robbery (1903) is a fast, exciting, single-reel western that ends with a memorable burst of gunfire, directed straight at the audience. Or does it? I got stuck into that question for the endings column in the February 2016 issue of Sight & Sound magazine. For the same issue, I previewed a new season of 1940s cinema and reviewed a new Blu-ray edition of The Birth of a Nation.

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Doug

Douglas Fairbanks

Douglas Fairbanks

My latest Silent but deadly! column is about one of silent cinema’s biggest stars,. Douglas Fairbanks is hardly a forgotten name these days, but it’s rare that he is given his due. So I wrote about that, and Tracey Goessel’s brilliant new biography of Fairbanks, for the Guardian.

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Charlie and Peggy

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I reviewed Taschen’s The Charlie Chaplin Archives for Sight & Sound this month. It’s a massive book, devoted to a giant star, and really rather gorgeous. I also reviewed Undercrank Productions’ new DVD of Baby Peggy films, headlined by The Family Secret (1924). And now I can’t help but imagine how wonderful it would be to have seen Charlie Chaplin and Baby Peggy in a film together. Aw, not to be.