Monday, September 12, 2011

Arline Pretty: Forgotten Serial Heroine.

I recently “discovered” a silent film actress while I was doing some research and I thought her name, Arline Pretty, was too good to be true, but perfect for a silent film star. After going through her filmography, I decided that a tribute would be most appropriate to an actress that found success doing serials and was a leading lady to Douglas Fairbanks, Sr.

Arline Pretty (her real name) was born in Philadelphia on September 5, 1885 and was educated in Washington, D.C., where she was a member of the Columbia Players. She wanted to be a Broadway star but instead was lured to Tampa, Florida, to appear in local films aimed at promoting the city as a production center. Arline was briefly with Universal and then joined the Vitagraph Company in 1915.

Arline starred in Vitagraph’s serial, “The Secret Kingdom” in 1917. She made an appealing serial heroine and followed “The Secret Kingdom” with “The Hidden Hand” (1917) and “A Woman in Grey” (1920), both released by Pathe. The serials made Arline tremendously popular and she received thousands of fan letters and cards. Arline was also a leading lady to Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. in “In Again-Out Again” (1917).

In the 1920’s, Arline’s career was generally limited to second female leads in minor productions. She did appear in a couple of Metro films starring Viola Dana. Arline’s last silent film was “Virgin Lips” (1928) produced by Columbia. Arline died on April 14, 1978. She was 93 years old.

Even though Arline Pretty is largely forgotten today, her pioneering achievements in film made a lasting and significant contribution to early American cinema.


  1. Silent, Thanks you for the wonderful post and lovely pictures. What a great name for a silent film actress, another one of the forgotten stars of silent films who should be re-discovered.

  2. Dawn, I'm glad you liked my post and pictures. I will be writing tributes of silent film actors and actresses that are forgotten or obscure in the following weeks. It's surprising how many there are.

  3. Awesome!! I will be looking forward to reading them.

  4. Beautiful woman, SFF -- it's a good thing too. Think how awfu it would be to grow up with a name like that and be ugly! LOL! I've never seen a silent serial. I wish I had an unlimited movie budget - things like that you have to buy!


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