Tuesday, January 16, 2018

"The Girls in the Picture"

Melanie Benjamin is the author of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling historical novels The Swans of Fifth Avenue, about Truman Capote and his society swans, and The Aviator's Wife, a novel about Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Previous historical novels include the national bestseller Alice I Have Been, about Alice Liddell, the inspiration for Alice in Wonderland, and The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb, the story of 32-inch-tall Lavinia Warren Stratton, a star during the Gilded Age.

Benjamin applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, The Girls in the Picture, and reported the following:
From page 69:
All through the film, Mary's hand gripped my arm. She was as feverish as I was, her fingernails digging deeper and deeper until, when at last she let go, I had four distinct red marks in my flesh. But I didn't mind. The two of us were one - one living, breathing, stupefied being, wholly and entirely transfixed. Just like everyone else in the audience caught up in this sweeping, emotional vortex that sucked us all in and wouldn't let go until the very end, when the hero and heroine were together at last, and the image faded to the ultimate title.
This is such a perfect example of how Mary Pickford and Frances Marion bonded over their passion for film. On this page, they are seeing for the first time D.W. Griffith's epic film, The Birth of a Nation. They're in the audience, just like everyone else. And they're blown away by the huge step forward that this represented at the time. While we today rightly remember this film as a disturbing example of blatant racism, in 1915 when it premiered, it was acknowledged to be a groundbreaking film. This was the first film that had an original score written for it (to be played by orchestras in the movie houses), the first to use fade in/fade out technique, the first to use rapid cutting to indicate thrilling action. So Mary and Frances are just as blown away by its artistry and technique as the rest of the audience; this passage establishes their shared love and ambition for this new art form.
Learn more about the book and author at Melanie Benjamin's website.

The Page 69 Test: Alice I Have Been.

The Page 69 Test: The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb.

My Book, The Movie: The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb.

The Page 69 Test: The Aviator's Wife.

The Page 69 Test: The Swans of Fifth Avenue.

--Marshal Zeringue