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Douglas Fairbanks: The Great Swashbuckler (2005)

Douglas Fairbanks, the screen's great swashbuckler, charmed millions with his energetic athleticism, his boyishly handsome good looks, and his sparkling charisma. Whether it was fighting ... See full summary »

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Keri Leigh ...
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Annette Lloyd ...
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Sparrow Morgan ...
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Lynn Stevenson ...
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Douglas Fairbanks, the screen's great swashbuckler, charmed millions with his energetic athleticism, his boyishly handsome good looks, and his sparkling charisma. Whether it was fighting off tyrannical land-owners in "The Mark of Zorro," slashing the king's guards in "The Three Musketeers," sliding down sails in "The Black Pirate," springing in leaps and bounds in "Robin Hood," or riding a winged horse across the night sky in "The Thief of Bagdad," Douglas Fairbanks was in his element as an action hero of grandiose costume dramas. But behind all of his achievements on the screen, there was another side to Douglas Fairbanks and this unique biography will reveal some of that man behind the mask. So swing into action and swashbuckle your way through this documentary. This is one adventure worth telling.

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9 August 2005 (USA)  »

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Good Documentary
13 April 2012 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Douglas Fairbanks: The Great Swashbuckler (2005)

*** (out of 4)

Keri Leigh (Curator Fairbanks Museum), Annette Lloyd (Celebrity Biographer) and Sparrow Morgan (Film Historian) discuss the life and films of silent screen legend Douglas Fairbanks who was the original swashbuckler. The documentary talks about Fairbanks early childhood, him getting interested in acting, working with D.W. Griffith, meeting Mary Pickford and then moving into some of the greatest silent action pictures. The 90-minute documentary does a very good job at going through Fairbanks entire career and especially through some of his sound pictures, which is good because they're often completely overlooked or not discussed at all. Of course, his relationship with Pickford gets a lot of the attention as we hear about how the two met, their love affair and the wait they both went through before getting married. Their legendary home is discussed in detail as is their eventual break-up. Those unfamiliar with the work of Fairbanks will certainly enjoy this as you really do get a lot of information and there are plenty of clips shown from his films. There are some funny stories about his original contract and how he originally only wanted to work with Griffith but the legendary director wasn't thrilled with his acting style and didn't know what to do with him. There are also some other funny stories about Pickford and Fairbanks allowing fans, media and friends to their home and the actor refusing to serve alcohol while it was illegal. I think the one problem is that the interviews were filmed rather cheaply, with some poor sound and I never could tell if they were reading from cue cards or what.


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