vp19 (vp19) wrote in carole_and_co,

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The complete (671 pages!) Mack Sennett

That's Carole Lombard, playing the title role in "The Campus Vamp," a two-reel college comedy made in 1928, while she was part of Mack Sennett's troupe. Sennett did quite a lot to hone Carole's comedy skills (though they wouldn't be fully utilized until the mid-1930s), but many stars -- from one-time love Mabel Normand to Fatty Arbuckle to Gloria Swanson to Charlie Chaplin -- owe a lot to him. Heck, even after sound arrived, Sennett assisted careers (his two-reelers with Bing Crosby helped the singer feel at home in front of the camera).

Now, writer and film historian Brent E. Walker has put together a massive (671 pages) volume about Sennett and the more than 1,000 films he was associated with in one form or another between 1908 and 1955 (five years before his death). It's called "Mack Sennett's Fun Factory," and while the price is forbidding (you'll likely have to pay at least $100 for it), from the reviews I've seen of it, it's apparently worth every penny.

There are also some 280 photographs, most of them never before available. Walker's research is voluminous, and much of it comes from Sennett's papers, which the filmmaker donated to the Margaret Herrick Library in 1951.

I'd like to tell you more about it, but I've yet to see a copy; I'd especially like to see what it says about Lombard's films for Sennett (virtually all of which survive, although unfortunately no one has assembled them into a DVD compilation).

As one reviewer to amazon.com wrote, "Attention all educators: This book belongs in every library in existance." I won't disagree. (All seven reviews to date at amazon.com give it five stars, a testament to its apparent brilliance.)

To order the book, go to http://www.amazon.com/Mack-Sennetts-Factory-Brent-Walker/dp/0786436107/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top. The publisher's site is http://www.mcfarlandpub.com/book-2.php?id=978-0-7864-3610-1.

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