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Biography on Vincente Minnelli

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Biography on Vincente Minnelli

Postby Professional Tourist » April 15th, 2009, 10:59 pm

As of yesterday, 14 April 2009, a new biography on Vincente Minnelli has been released by St. Martin's Press, Vincente Minnelli: Hollywood's Dark Dreamer by Emanuel Levy. The notices I've seen so far have been mixed, but some of them are pretty good. The biography is said to delve into Minnelli's personal life, as well as his career, which would be refreshing. [One of the things I disliked about Minnelli's own autobiography was that it was almost all work, work, work.] The sources used sound like they would be interesting, and probably reliable.

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Re: Biography on Vincente Minnelli

Postby moira finnie » September 22nd, 2009, 5:08 pm

Hey PT,
I just thought I'd mention that I recently read this biography. I'd read Minnelli's own circumspect autobiography and even though I'm not a big fan of Emanuel Levy's rather strict auteur tendencies, this book certainly portrays aspects of Vincente Minnelli's life and career in a fair light with many details about his pre-Hollywood and often glamorous and fascinating life in Chicago and New York in the '30s and '40s. Levy paints the director's colorful, lonely childhood and adolescence beautifully, bringing to light the young man's longing for beauty and his efforts to educate himself aesthetically from an early age. He touches on Minnelli's conflicted sexuality in passing, (without over-emphasis) and acknowledges that the man's gift for blending music, movement and color on screen was unsurpassed by anyone else in Hollywood in his time.

The author writes about the all too familiar facts of his marriage to Judy Garland with compassion for both parties, and points out that from Minnelli's desperate to help point of view, Garland and her very well paid (and easily gulled) psychiatrists and medical doctors did his wife little good. Btw, the author asserts that this experience is one of the reasons that psychiatry may often be portrayed in a negative light in his movies, (The Cobweb, Two Weeks in Another Town, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever).

One area that I'm not sure that Levy entirely illuminated well was the tightrope that Minnelli had to walk throughout his professional life at MGM, surviving the studio's many regime changes and long fall from grace from the halcyon days when he was such an innovative commercial filmmaker there. Overall, it is a good bio, though I would love to see a well illustrated book analyzing Minnelli's movies in detail someday.

One quibble: the photos are not imaginatively chosen and are sometimes mislabeled! Where was the editor?!
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Re: Biography on Vincente Minnelli

Postby charliechaplinfan » September 23rd, 2009, 2:18 pm

Thanks for your review Moira, I'll bear it in mind with Xmas on the horizon.

ps. sorry for mentioning 'that' word so soon.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin


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