Monday, August 23, 2010

Beautiful Edna, the Last Unsmashed Idol

By now you may have guessed that Norma Desmond is my classic movie guru - wisdom wrapped in warped glamorous illusion and delusion. "They took the idols of the world and smashed them!" Somehow, they all became real. And even those who managed to maintain their god and goddess-like state while alive were revealed as all too real after death. But not Edna Purviance.


Beautiful Edna Purviance was Charlie Chaplin's leading lady. It was all about Charlie, always, and so Edna served as the pretty girl, the lovely background. She was sweet and placid, not really an actress. But you know how sometimes it's the quiet person in the background that you can't help noticing? There was just something about her.


Edna's star did not shine without Chaplin and so she faded from view and, eventually, from memory. It seems no one, least of all Edna, was interested in pursuing her life in public.


Like a beautiful painting once viewed and then hidden away, Edna remains a mystery. There were no biographies, only little stories about her written in the margins of some other famous people's lives.Tempting tidbits. Watching her with Chaplin you could ask "who was Edna?", but there are no answers. No voices. Only a face and graceful form. Is she a blank slate? A silly empty girl? Or is she the fascinating darling with skin as soft as rose petals and laughter as sweet as tinkling bells? In the magic that is conjured in the dark she stakes a claim on my imagination and will not leave. She is my creation. My Edna can be like no one else's Edna. Through neglect, a forgotten idol is spared.


Will my last idol be smashed? Linda Wada, the conquistador who cracked the code of Edna, is writing Edna's biography. And I do want to know everything. I can't help myself. But my own private Edna will be gone.


To learn all about Edna, visit www.ednapurviance.org and be prepared to be charmed.






11 comments:

Edna's Place said...

Really appreciated your support over the years. There are certainly a lot of Edna fans out there, like yourself, quietly watching in the dark. (I 'quietly watch from an attic' and met more people from around the world, than I ever met in person, before I started my site.) Some great people too! Thank goodness for the internet. Cheers, and best with your site!

bobnjeb said...

Thank you so much.

MrEssanay said...

Hello Chickflick,
Happy to have found you.
Edna was by far Charlie's most beautiful leading lady. We will celebrate Edna's 115th birthday with a screening of "A Woman Of Paris" at our museum on Oct. 17. I hope you can get by for this party.

Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum

FlickChick said...

Thanks so much! Boy - I sure wish I could, but am on the other side of the country. However, Niles is on my list of places to visit when I come out west next year.

Anonymous said...

Nice post. Thanks

Anonymous said...

О! Es evidente que hay mucho que aprender acerca de esto. Creo que hizo algunas cosas buenas en características también. Sigue trabajando, gran trabajo!

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Kimd said...

Agree 100%.The Chaplin movies...and I'm a huge fan,were too frenetic.Afte Edna joined the gang they became more romantic I guess is the word.But I do wish there was more to read about Ms.Purviance.She sems like a wonderful person.

marynarkiewicz said...

They will be showing A Woman of Paris on March 19th here in Portland, Oregon. http://www.nwfilm.org/screenings/32/292/

kimd said...

So glad to hear that a full length biography is being written about Ms.Purviance.Look forward to it.Cheers.

Anonymous said...

I love Enda!