When I came across a book on Kindle store by Paul Merton about the Silent Film era there were two thoughts that crossed my mind. The first was why is the comedian / improviser from the Comedy Store and Have I Got News For You writing a book about silent film and the second was ‘oh I love silent comedy and I need to read this book.’
From reading the first few pages it became incredibly obvious why Paul had written a book about this topic – it is one thing he is truly passionate about. Since I am a huge fan of Charlie Chaplin I thought it would be interesting to read and learn more about the era and the rest of the actors.
The book takes a look at the Silent Film Era and looks in detail at the careers of Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, Laurel and Hardy. These are the faces that made the silent film industry what it was and this book looks at how they got into film, the production, their films and their personal lives that also effected some of their decisions. It is a really interesting and in detail look at the era whilst ever so often having a reflection by Paul Merton as to how the films had an impact on his life.
There are many great reasons to like this book – the in depth look at the stunts that the actors did in those times, risking their lives over and over again to make their films different and unique, the struggles the actors had and also the triumphs.
I enjoyed this book and felt it was really well written. It is obvious that Paul really knows his Silent Film and it is an insightful read into the era. About 2 years ago I read the Charlie Chaplin autobiography and because I still remembered a lot of it I skipped over the parts about his life. I would say that he gives a great in depth detail about his life throughout this book.