Synopses & Reviews
Hollywood's Silent Closet provides a banquet of information about the pansexual intrigues of Hollywood between 1919 and 1926, compiled from eyewitness interviews with men and women, all of them insiders, who flourished in its midst. Not for the timid, it names names and doesn't spare the guilty. If you believe, like Truman Capote, that the literary treatment of gossip will become the literature of the 21st century, then you will love Hollywood's Silent Closet. Hollywood's Silent Closet is a vivid portrait of the decadent, homosexual, and gossipy world of pre-talkie Hollywood. It's an Info-Novel where 90% of everything in it is true. It represents the greatest collection of star-studded scandal ever assembled on the film stars of Hollywood's Silent Era. Valentino, Ramon Novarro, Charlie Chaplin, Fatty Arbuckle, Pola Negri, Nazimova, and many others figure into eyewitness accounts of the debauched excesses that went on behind closed doors. It also documents the often tragic endings of America's first screen idols, some of whom admitted to being more famous than the monarchs of England and Jesus Christ combined. Many of the interviews that went into the compilation of this book were conducted between 1940 and 1974, as the subjects were nearing the end of their lives and were willing, at last, to reveal scandals and insights that had previously been repressed by their own fears and by the media machines of the studio system. Marriages of convenience are the norm as intra-male peccadillos (and lots of lesbian love, too) are swept under the potted palms of the Edwardian age. The hero of this tale is the amiably cross-dressing Durango Jones, a wide-eyed neophyte from Kansas, circa 1919, who hits Hollywood during its Pre-Code excesses, and stays for a sexual feast wherein the banquet consists of many of the era's most flamboyant sex symbols. And although technically, this title has been formatted as a novel rather than a straight-line biography, there's the sometimes disturbing sense that this book is genuinely historical as well as being a jolly and rollicking piece of very savvy entertainment. This is high-testosterone Hollywood at its most compulsively readable. The 60s didn't invent sex-the stars of the Silent Screen did. --Cruiser. Who slept with Mary Pickford's three husbands, her two brothers-in-law, and even her brother? The hero of Hollywood's Silent Closet, that's who --Trova Roma.
Hollywood at the dawn of the Talkies was one of the most gossippy and sexual places on Earth. This anthology of star-studded scandal from the 1920s provides insights and eyewitness accounts of the sometimes sordid pastimes of most of the great lovers of the Silent Screen. It also documents the often tragic endings of America's first screen idols, some of whom became incredibly wealthy during an era when many newcomers to America arrived almost broke. Their fame was unimaginable, even by today's standards: Some of the stars of the Silent Screen admitted, almost regretfully, to being more famous than the monarchs of England and Jesus Christ combined. Hollywood's Silent Closet is the most intimate and most realistic novel about sex, murder, blackmail, and degradation in early Hollywood ever written. Specific names are not spared in this glittery compilation: They're all here--the brave, the coquettish, the heroic, and the merely silly, with eyewitness accounts of the bar-room and boudoir antics of Valentino, Francis X. Bushman, Ramon Novarro, John Barrymore, Charlie Chaplin, the Gish sisters, Nazimova, Pola Negri, Fatty Arbuckle, and the most famous cross-dresser of his era, Julian Eltinge. There's even a breakdown of the most famous unsolved murder in the history of film: the unexplained death of noted Hollywood director William Desmond Taylor. Narrating this info-novel, and providing the glue that binds the anecdotes together, is the incomparable Durango Jones, a blue-eyed Kansas cowboy, go-getter, and professional star-fucker that everyone in Hollywood most wants to either emulate or emasculate. Exploiting his role first as Chaplin's chauffeur, then as procurer and errand boy to thestars, he's not afraid to be a switch-hitter, jumping cooperatively between roles, on both the screen and in the boudoir, that only the most skilled of actors and diplomats can play. If you opt to read this book, don't expect an formalized recitation of academic history. What you get, instead, is a compilation of the loose-lipped gossip that was bandied about drunken dinner parties of Hollywood (and committed to memory by most of the listeners), by witty, bitchy, and sometimes venomous participants in the Hollywood scene. Are all of the anecdotes in this info-novel true? Only the participants in the power struggles will ever really know. But if you believe, like Truman Capote, that "the artful presentation of gossip will become the literature of the 21st century," and if you believe, as we do, that where there's smoke there's fire, you'll find much to amuse, distract, and instruct you in this book. In the words of a critic at the Gay London Times, "Hollywood's Silent Closet is a brilliant primer for the Who's Who of Early Hollywood." Encyclopedic and witty, and based on years of interviews with aging participants in the Hollywood scene, it's one of the few books that deserves a place both in film archives and within the private libraries of sexually sophisticated readers. After reading this book, many will continue to believe that important events in human history often begin, somehow or somewhere, between the sheets.