The Missing Link Reviews

Shooting Star by Chili Bouchier
Shooting Star: The Last of the Silent Film Stars

by Chili Bouchier. Atlantis Books. Softcover. 246 pages. 8.00

 

Published in 1996 in readiness for the celebration of the Centenary of Cinema, Chili Bouchier has been a part of the film industry for almost seventy years. Born in London in 1909, she still delighted audiences of the 1980's from the stage and as a frequent celebrity on TV. shows.

Chili Bouchier in Maria Marten 1928Her work in the horror genre is minimal, but one of her earliest film credits is for the part of Rachel, Carlos the gypsy's sister in Maria Marten (1928). Her only big scene is when she plunges a knife deep into her heart when the wicked Squire Corder, (Warwick Ward), spurns her love.
In 1935 Chili appeared in The Ghost Goes West, but her role was drastically cut due to overshooting.

With a dozen silent films to her credit, she soon became known as Britain's first sex symbol. The press gave her such taglines as "England's Clara Bow" and "England's IT Girl". Mostly Chili was found cast in the role of a vamp as most alluring women of her day were, but after her appearance in 1931's CARNIVAL, her status as a star was firmly established. She later worked with perhaps the greatest vamp of them all, German actress Brigitte Helm in THE BLUE DANUBE, not surprisingly cast as "the other woman".Chili Bouchier

Chili's autobiography reads like a Who's Who of British film personalities and a slew of stars from stage and screen are mentioned with affection together with a whole host of anecdotes. Chili also recalls her encounters with some unscrupulous admirers and her agonising experiences with the film industry in Hollywood. Even the trials and tribulations of performing on location under the continual threat of Hitler's air-raids is dealt with a sense of gratitude for the experience.

SHOOTING STAR is a fine testament to a woman who by now is probably Britain's only surviving silent screen star**. These first hand recollections of early film practices provide invaluable information as well as providing a warm hearted account of this century's bygone era.

**Sadly Chili Bouchier passed away on 10th. September 1999, just a few weeks before her 90th. birthday. Her body was discovered in her flat on Edgware Road, London.

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