So many people make the all together too hasty assessment that silent film consists solely of over acting backed by a loud, haunting piano. In fact, silent film is a mind boggling art form in and of itself. I like to think of it as a type of dancing; no words, just movement. Lillian Gish once described the feeling as “Painting a picture with yourself”. Sad to relate, most people just don’t understand the concept of silent film; like Tennessee Williams famously penned “I don’t want realism, I want magic.” These actors and actresses were not trying to be fit the parts they played, they were trying to create the parts they played. Theda Bara never made herself into Cleopatra, she made Cleopatra into Theda Bara. These were not Characters, they were personalities. Whether it be Pola Negri, Charlie Chaplin, Greta Garbo, Clara Bow, or Lon Chaney; each star became a roll and invented a lifestyle to suit it. These are the gods and goddesses that became the first modern Icons.