The Girls in the Picture: A Novel
by Melanie Benjamin
Hardcover- $15.38

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Swans of Fifth Avenue and The Aviator’s Wife, a “rich exploration of two Hollywood ...

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  "A Test of Friendship" by Betty56 (see profile) 01/16/18

I thoroughly enjoyed “The Girls in the Picture” by Melanie Benjamin and learned a lot from it. That is why I have come to love the genre of historical fiction – I always learn something new. I knew very little about the early days of the movie industry and nothing really about Frances Marion and Mary Pickford. This book is the story of the intense friendship between Frances and Mary. In the era of silent films, Mary Pickford was loved and adored by everyone in America. Much of her popularity was due to the excellent screenwriting of Frances Marion, a true pioneer of her time.
Ms. Benjamin took me into the glitz and glamour of the time, and also the intense rivalries. From stage productions to silent films to “the talkies”, she brought it all to life. It was no secret that this was a man’s world, but Mary and Frances broke into that world and made it their own.
Mary had to work from a very early age to support her siblings and her mother. Thus she never had a childhood, and never had a friend - until she met Frances. They understood each other and, more so, Frances understood and shared Mary’s passion for the film world. Frances instinctively knew how to write for the character.
The book addresses the history of the film companies and the partnerships and mergers that took place. Many of the best known names appear in the story – Cecil B. DeMille, Adolph Zukor, Louis B. Mayer, Charlie Chaplin, Lillian Gish, Gloria Swanson, Greta Garbo, and more.
The latter portion of the book addresses the tumultuous love affair and marriage of Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks. Mary and Frances had promised each other that they would never let men come between them. (How often have we heard that one?) As Mary ages and finally is no longer able to maintain the persona of the little girl with the golden curls she loses her fans and her husband. Thus begins her downward spiral into alcohol and insanity.
In the meantime, Frances has maintained a more realistic view of life, especially after spending time in Europe filming the impact of the war on women. Frances has also been “struck anew by how universal my world was, how what we did on a soundstage in Hollywood could travel across the ocean to the battlefields of France.”
Frances soon recognizes that Mary is losing touch with reality and fights to save her lifelong friend. But can she after all the accusations of jealousy and blame Mary throws at her? This is a true test of friendship.

 
  "the girls in the picture" by Carolynr (see profile) 04/14/18

you can read the summary for yourself.
If you like historical fiction and books about old hollywood, you will like this. The story of the lives an d friendship of Mary Pickford and Frances Marion, it really tells a lot about the treatment of women in the workplace during that time, specifically the hollywood studios.
Was a good read.

 
  "Fabulous!" by lpollinger (see profile) 09/17/19

Mary Pickford and Frances Marion became fast friends when they were both just starting out in Hollywood. Mary as a silent screen star and Frances as a screenwriter. The novel travel from the early nineteen hundreds to the late 1960’s following the careers and turmoils of these two ladies.
This is a very well written and informative look and the early years in Hollywood.

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