Praise for OLIVE THOMAS: EVERYBODY'S SWEETHEART:
Leonard Maltin's Video View:
If the name Olive Thomas doesnít ring a bell, that may be because she died in 1920... but she still has devoted fans and followers, several of whom collaborated on a fascinating documentary thatís just out on DVD along with one of her surviving feature films, The Flapper.
Thomas was born poor, but when she moved to New York in the teens she was soon being celebrated as the cityís most beautiful woman... a favorite of illustrators, a featured performer in the Ziegfeld Follies, and ultimately a movie star. She lived fast and died young, which is certainly part of her mystique... but the feature film on the new Milestone DVD shows that she had talent and charm to match her beauty.
I will confess that I didnít know much about Olive Thomas, but thanks to the empathetic and well-researched documentary, narrated by Rosanna Arquette, Iím now a fan. You can learn more at milestonefilms.com. You can read more about movies at leonardmaltin.com.
National Board of Review:
Milestone also offers THE OLIVE THOMAS COLLECTION, highlighting a forgotten star of the late teens with a compelling documentary, OLIVE THOMAS: EVERYBODY'S SWEETHEART (2004), and her quintessential feature, THE FLAPPER (1920). The documentary by Andi Hicks and Sarah Baker is riveting; they do a brilliant job of bring the world of the Ziegfeld Follies and early Hollywood to life. Ollie Thomas' romance with Jack Pickford (brother of Mary) is explored as well as her stage and screen career, and her ultimately tragic (and mysterious) end just a month before her 26th birthday. THE FLAPPER, directed by Alan Crosland (THE JAZZ SINGER) and scripted by Frances Marion, the foremost female screenwriter during the '20s and early '30s, is a time capsule of the era, a coming of age comedy about a girl who gets mixed up with the wrong sort and has to redeem her name. Olive Thomas had a vibrant, sexy girl next door quality that made her a huge attraction, and her star quality is certainly in evidence in THE FLAPPER. Look for Norma Shearer and her sister Athole (the first wife of Howard Hawks) in small roles as boarding school girls.
Milestone Film and Video has unearthed, and restored, what is perhaps Ms. Thomas' best and most successful feature film, The Flapper (1920), and included it on The Olive Thomas Collection, along with Andi Hicks and Sarah Baker's 2004 documentary Olive Thomas; Everybody's Sweetheart.
It is perhaps in the viewer's best interest to screen the documentary prior to watching the feature. Baker and Hicks do a commendable job of using rare photos and appropriate interviews to present Olive's rise from a mining town in Pennsylvania, early marriage to an abusive husband, and winning a Most Beautiful Girl contest that she entered on a whim. This led to stardom with the Ziegfeld Follies, a film career that initiated the first real success for the Selznick studio, a tumultuous marriage to actor Jack Pickford, and her eventual death by poisoning, which has been discussed as probably an accident, possibly a suicide, and maybe murder.
The interviews presented in the documentary are commendable in that Olive Thomas comes from an era that is too far back in history for eyewitness accounts. One of the Ziegfeld heirs, a Selznick descendant, family members, and film historians offer interesting information to accompany the many rare photographs and existing film clips that illustrate Olive's story. Actress Rosanna Arquette offers a clear narration throughout, the understanding and appreciation evident in her delivery. The film clips are especially impressive when one considers how little of Olive's screen work survives (an essential example is the sequence from a recently discovered piece of film that was found, among others, in a recent excavation of someone's swimming pool).
Read the full review at Rogue Cinema.
Please contact Sarah Baker at email@example.com for further information.