in about 100 words or less
Author: Kalton C. Lahue; Publisher: A.S. Barnes and Company Inc., Hardcover, 244 pages; ISBN 049807802
I recently had the great fortune of receiving a hardcover edition of Lahue’s “Gentlemen to the Rescue” still wrapped in the original cellophane packaging. This gift was from my mother who recovered it from the common area of her apartment, where the many aging tenants practice a form of silent barter in books. Within this wonderfully preserved volume are 30 short essays accompanied by numerous photographs of silent screen actors, such as King Baggot, John Barrymore, Sessue Hayakawa and Rudolph Valentino. A companion piece to his previous book “Ladies in Distress” (1971), Lahue laments the loss of the “true” hero in motion pictures, and suggests that we “didn’t do so badly modelling ourselves on Milton Sills, Tommy Meighan and Doug Fairbanks”. Though these folks now seem unlikely role models, this love letter to the silent screen is as interesting for its perspective on the silent era, as it is for its description of these heroes (Klaus Ming December 2015).