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Bessie Love

Bessie Love had an up and down career, and had too many roles in which her talents were wasted. Hollywood found her difficult to type. Tiny with a girlish face, she played innocent young girls, flappers, sweet leading ladies, and only occasionally had a role she could put her teeth into. Her best known film is The Lost World (1925), where she has little to do but be alternately winsome and terrified. But she is a strikingly un-helpless heroine in the peculiar comedy The Mystery of the Leaping Fish (1916), and gives a brilliant performance in the bittersweet Frank Capra comedy The Matinee Idol (1928). She got a well deserved Academy Award nomination for her performance in MGM's first all-talkie Broadway Melody (1929), but soon her career settled back into routine films, so she packed off to England, appearing in films and television into the 1980s. Even when given nothing better to do than look charming, Bessie Love is always a welcome presence in any film.

On the Web

The Internet Movie Database filmography

The Silent Ladies photo gallery

Bio on Golden Silents

Another Bessie Love photo gallery

Love's entry in The Blue Book of the Screen (1923)

Love's entry in Stars of the Photoplay (1924)

Review of The Matinee Idol on Silent Film Sources Monthly News

Review of Rubber Tires on Silents are Golden

Review of The Lost World on Silents are Golden

Dress parade, feature of the month in Silents are Golden

Rubber Tires feature of the month on Silents are Golden

Silent Films Available on Video

Intolerance (1916)
Available from Image Entertainment (DVD)
Reggie Mixes In(1916)
Available from Movies Unlimited
The Sea Lion (1921)
Available from Movies Unlimited
The Lost World (1925)
Available from Image Entertainment (VHS and DVD)
Soul-Fire (1925)
Available from Nostalgia Family Video
The Young April (1926)
Available from Movies Unlimited
Rubber Tires (1927)
Available from Movies Unlimited
Dress Parade (1927)
Available from Facets
The Matinee Idol (1928)
Released by on DVD by Columbia-Tristar and available from Amazon.com and other DVD dealers

Further Reading

Love, Bessie. From Hollywood With Love. N. Pomfret VT: David and Charles, 1977.

Lahue, Kalton C. Ladies in Distress. South Brunswick and New York: A.S. Barnes and Co., 1971. p. 171-178.

Franklin, Joe [and William K. Everson].Classics of the Silent Screen. New York : Citadel Press, 5th ed., 1971 (originally published 1959): p. 197.

Unsung Divas

©2001, by Greta de Groat. All Rights Reserved

Last revised November 27, 2008