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.
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
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
**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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