Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Alma Rubens, Silent Snowbird

Lately, I've been reading Alma Rubens, Silent Snowbird, a new book edited by Gary Rhodes and Alexander Webb. The book contains a short biography of the early silent film star, as well as Rubens' sensational 1931 memoir.
Dark-eyed and distant Alma Rubens was one of the first female stars of the early feature film industry in the 1910s. She was a major star by 1920, but before the decade was over her screen career was marked and marred by cocaine abuse. She died in 1931 at age 33 - a Hollywood beauty, a casualty of Hollywood "snow," yet much more. As an actress she was versatile, demonstrating a talent that was ahead of its time with her gentle and subtle expressions.

This book contains Rubens’s autobiography, a text titled This Bright World Again that was serialized in newspapers in 1931. Ghost-written or not or somewhere in between, this long forgotten document deals with Rubens’s addiction and despair. In addition, a new biography of Rubens takes the reader from her birth in San Francisco through an impoverished upbringing, three short-lived marriages, and her career in pictures for Triangle Film, Cosmopolitan, Fox and other production companies. The story of her film career mingles with a tale of desperate drug addiction that led to hospital stays, violence and deception.
Alma Rubens, Silent Snowbird is interesting, and well worth checking out. The book contains some illustrations, and a filmography.

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