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Silent Era Home Page  >  Books  >  King of the Movies: Francis X. Bushman
 
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King of the Movies
Francis X. Bushman

By Lon and Debra Davis

 

cover

BRIEF NOTES

King of the Movies: Francis X. Bushman
By Lon and Debra Davis

BearManor Media : Albany, Georgia : 2009
ISBN 978-1-59393-452-1 : 368 pages : trade paperback : $24.95

Kindle e-book edition: $9.95.

Reviewed by Carl Bennett
Francis X. Bushman was among the earliest and most-popular film matinee idols. His Essanay partnership with costar Beverly Bayne was so successful it carried them both into theater-packing feature films produced at Metro Pictures. Best remembered today for his smouldering performance as Messala in the mega-epic Ben-Hur (1925), Bushman’s career was a fascinating rise to popularity and fall to semiobscurity — soon to be all too familiar in its length and pattern to film fans — that culminated in a series of bit roles and radio appearances until his death in the 1960s.

This satisfying biography follows a predictable chronological flow but, along the way, provides a respectable wealth of information about the star’s life and career.

Among the supplemental material is a Bushman chronology, an extensive photograph section, and a fairly detailed Bushman filmography which improves on previously published information.

 
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