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All About Ava Gardner with Kendra Bean & Anthony Uzarowski on 7/29 & 7/30

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All About Ava Gardner with Kendra Bean & Anthony Uzarowski on 7/29 & 7/30

Postby moira finnie » July 28th, 2017, 2:16 pm

Welcome! Here's the spot to post your queries for our visiting authors to discuss the life and career of Ava Gardner.
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In Kendra Bean & Anthony Uzarowski's new take on the life of movie icon, "Ava Gardner: A Life in Movies" (Running Press), the co-authors shift the focus from the publicity writers' descriptions of her as"the world's most beautiful animal" to her real life as a person who was an imperfect but vibrant human being and working actress. If you would like to learn more about Ava Gardner, the individual, please join us at The Silver Screen Oasis on Sat., July 29th & Sun., July 30th for an online Q & A about the actress' life and career.

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She was an astonishing beauty when young (and a more interesting one when older). as well as a movie star, and a wife to three dynamic but rather wearying men. As Anthony Usarowksi explains, beyond all that, Ava Gardner “was a real person, and she was an actor as well. There is a legacy there that needs to be looked at. It’s not just image.” The pair have fashioned a beautiful coffee table book that celebrates Gardner's humor, friendships, and vulnerability as well as making a thoughtful inquiry into the contrast between how a woman looks and how she feels in society.

Described by critics as "a compelling, photograph-rich portrait of a complex, talented actress," the book can be found at the links below, as can a link to the Silver Screen Oasis Guest Authors Index where you are welcome to post a question (simple registration is required to post queries). All are invited on July 29 & 30. :Please join us in this celebration of all things Ava!

To Purchase a Copy of "Ava Gardner: A Life in Movies":
https://tinyurl.com/ybjf6as6

The Silver Screen Oasis Guest Authors Series:
viewforum.php?f=69

The Authors:

Kendra Bean, who visited the Silver Screen Oasis in 2013 to discuss her book, "Vivien Leigh: An Intimate Portrait," is a historian and curator. She runs the popular classic film blog VivAndLarry.com. Her writing has also been published by the British Film Institute and Bright Lights Film Journal, and she has lectured on cinema at the National Portrait Gallery (London), Victoria and Albert Museum, the BFI, the San Francisco Presidio Officers' Club, and the Walt Disney Family Museum. She lives in London. Kendra's earlier visit to the SSO can be viewed here:
viewtopic.php?f=36&t=6379&p=139078#p139078

Anthony Uzarowski has an MA in Film Studies from University College London. He has written articles and essays on different aspects of classic and contemporary cinema, with his work published in The Guardian, Film International, and Queerty. He lives in London, where he works at the British Library.

A podcast with the authors can be heard here: http://ticklishbusiness.podbean.com/e/b ... uzarowski/
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Re: All About Ava Gardner with Kendra Bean & Anthony Uzarowski on 7/29 & 7/30

Postby moira finnie » July 29th, 2017, 7:22 am

Good morning, Kendra & Anthony!

Thank you so much for participating here and please know that as I perused your book in a store prior to purchase recently, a stranger and I shared an exchange about the exceptional beauty of your book, which, unlike many today, features well-reproduced photos, an elegant font and a thoughtful style and content.

We will try to keep in mind that you are answering from five hours away in the UK, so let's get rolling by asking what drew you to your subject, Ava Gardner?

How did you become writing allies?

In light of the economic demands in the publishing industry and Ava Gardner's relative (but hardly deserved) obscurity, how did you convince The Running Press to publish what appears to be such a fine book?

Did the success of Kendra's first book on Vivid Leigh play a role in their decision to publish?

For our readers, both authors, posting as kendrajbean and AnthonyUzarowski, may be answering all questions.
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Re: All About Ava Gardner with Kendra Bean & Anthony Uzarowski on 7/29 & 7/30

Postby kendrajbean » July 29th, 2017, 8:38 am

Hello!

Thank you for having us as guests here at Silver Screen Oasis. We are both looking forward to chatting with you all.

moira finnie wrote:what drew you to your subject, Ava Gardner?

How did you become writing allies?

In light of the economic demands in the publishing industry and Ava Gardner's relative (but hardly deserved) obscurity, how did you convince The Running Press to publish what appears to be such a fine book?

Did the success of Kendra's first book on Vivid Leigh play a role in their decision to publish?


Great questions, Moira! I'll answer for my part and let Anthony talk about his own experience.

Ava was actually not someone I knew very much about when we started this project. I had to read all of the biographies and watch all of the films to catch up with Anthony's knowledge! But I was looking for another project to do after Vivien Leigh (who I am still interested in researching further) and my agent rightly suggested that I should probably move away from Vivien for a while. I want to be known as a film historian, and not just the 'Vivien Leigh lady'. Anthony and I had been friends for quite a while prior to this. We actually met through my website http://vivandlarry.com and when I moved to London for grad school in 2010, we met in person and became really close. As we both had degrees in film studies and were both lovers of classic cinema, we thought it would be fun to team up.

Yes, I definitely think the Vivien book helped in terms of getting another contract with Running Press. They were keen to work together again as Vivien has been pretty successful. And luckily they really liked our Ava proposal. Running Press has the resources to publish books of this quality.

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Re: All About Ava Gardner with Kendra Bean & Anthony Uzarowski on 7/29 & 7/30

Postby Sue Sue Applegate » July 29th, 2017, 8:56 am

Kendra and Anthony, we are so thrilled that you have taken time out of your busy schedules to share your expertise with us here at The Silver Screen Oasis. Thank you both!

While researching about Ava, did you find that there were any parallels in the lives of Vivien Leigh and Ava Gardner?

Ava seemed to always be searching for a wise man who would become a sort of quasi-father figure in her life like Ernest Hemingway, who called her "daughter," a phrase Ava's own father used, or Robert Graves. She was also hoping her initial friendship with Adlai Stevenson would develop into a closer emotioinal tie before his death. Were there any other men in her life whom she felt drawn to on a purely emotional level?
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Re: All About Ava Gardner with Kendra Bean & Anthony Uzarowski on 7/29 & 7/30

Postby kendrajbean » July 29th, 2017, 9:49 am

Sue Sue Applegate wrote:Kendra and Anthony, we are so thrilled that you have taken time out of your busy schedules to share your expertise with us here at The Silver Screen Oasis. Thank you both!

While researching about Ava, did you find that there were any parallels in the lives of Vivien Leigh and Ava Gardner?

Ava seemed to always be searching for a wise man who would become a sort of quasi-father figure in her life like Ernest Hemingway, who called her "daughter," a phrase Ava's own father used, or Robert Graves. She was also hoping her initial friendship with Adlai Stevenson would develop into a closer emotioinal tie before his death. Were there any other men in her life whom she felt drawn to on a purely emotional level?


Well, I think they were definitely similar in terms of their beauty often taking precedence over their acting skills, in the eyes of many critics. I think that's an issue a lot of the classically beautiful actresses faced. But Ava seemed to resign herself to her fate and didn't believe she had much talent, whereas Vivien was determined to prove critics wrong. I think Vivien took acting much more seriously than Ava did. But they were both luminous on screen and both had that special something that makes one a big star. You can't learn that.

Ava and Vivien actually met once (perhaps more, but there is only one story that we've come across). It was in the salon of fashion designer Victor Stiebel in London. Vivien was there for a fitting and Ava walked in and they proceeded to have a long compliment exchange.

In terms of Ava's emotional ties with men, she became quite close with director George Cukor when they worked together on Bhowani Junction. Similarly, she really liked the photographer George Hoyningen-Huene, who she called 'George H.H.' Also Gregory Peck, who she was very close with for a long time. Anthony can probably expound on some others!

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Re: All About Ava Gardner with Kendra Bean & Anthony Uzarowski on 7/29 & 7/30

Postby Sue Sue Applegate » July 29th, 2017, 11:10 am

Thanks so much, Kendra. I can't wait to read what Anthony's response. It seems that Anthony shares your enthusiasm for the new Ava book.

Can you also share some of the difficulties you encountered trying to secure some of the images you wanted? What factors ultimately drove some of your decisions?

I'm so thrilled with your new book!
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Re: All About Ava Gardner with Kendra Bean & Anthony Uzarowski on 7/29 & 7/30

Postby moira finnie » July 29th, 2017, 11:14 am

Thanks for the replies, Kendra, and the great questions, Christy.

It seems that Ava Gardner could be a lot of fun--and God knows she was a knockout, but she really might have undervalued her own ability as an actress. Was this due to her own uncertainty as a young woman? Did her older sister's presence with her in Hollywood help her or cause her to rebel more?

How did MGM's treatment of her affect her assessment of her acting ability?

Did she give herself any credit for her effective work in relatively early films such as The Killers, The Great Sinner, (both directed by Robert Siodmak) or Pandora and the Flying Dutchman? Her rapport with certain directors (Siodmak and Cukor, for example) or co-stars (such as her co-star Gregory Peck in three films) appears to have allowed her to express something private and vulnerable on screen. Did Ava enjoy the work more in these movies, which had varying success critically and commercially?

I have read that she was truly disappointed in her experience as Julie in Show Boat? Did that film mark a turning point in her approach to her work?

Thanks in advance for any insights you can share.
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Re: All About Ava Gardner with Kendra Bean & Anthony Uzarowski on 7/29 & 7/30

Postby AnthonyUzarowski » July 29th, 2017, 11:56 am

moira finnie wrote:Good morning, Kendra & Anthony!



Thank you so much for having us on here, what a thrill to share our appreciation of Ava with everyone!

As Kendra pointed out we had already been very good friends prior to our starting work on Ava, and that was definitely a huge plus, both in terms of researching and writing.

Ava has been a presence in my life since childhood, when my mother used to tell me about Ava being my grandfather's favourite star, so I knew the name Ava Gardner before I ever saw her on the screen. As you will notice when looking at the book, I decided to dedicate it, for my part, to my grandfather. As a teenager I fell in love with her films, particularly The Night of the Iguana, and I also loved the 1992 documentary Ava Gardner: Crazy About the Movies, which I re-watched over and over again.
I had been thinking about writing a book about her for quite some time, but until I graduated from University I really didn't think I was ready for it. The film studies background certainly helped, and I think that's true for both Kendra and myself, in assessing Ava's career and legacy as a screen star, which I think really sets our work apart from previous books about her.
And of course meeting Kendra and her great confidence in me really made this happen; I am so grateful to her for all the encouragement and all her mentorship.

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Re: All About Ava Gardner with Kendra Bean & Anthony Uzarowski on 7/29 & 7/30

Postby AnthonyUzarowski » July 29th, 2017, 12:12 pm

Sue Sue Applegate wrote:Kendra and Anthony, we are so thrilled that you have taken time out of your busy schedules to share your expertise with us here at The Silver Screen Oasis. Thank you both!

While researching about Ava, did you find that there were any parallels in the lives of Vivien Leigh and Ava Gardner?

Ava seemed to always be searching for a wise man who would become a sort of quasi-father figure in her life like Ernest Hemingway, who called her "daughter," a phrase Ava's own father used, or Robert Graves. She was also hoping her initial friendship with Adlai Stevenson would develop into a closer emotioinal tie before his death. Were there any other men in her life whom she felt drawn to on a purely emotional level?



I think the fact that Vivien was the one who initially brought Kendra and I together, and that then we were both keen to work on Ava, might suggest some kind of a common bond. They were both certainly incredibly complex, in many ways ahead of their times in terms of how they conducted themselves and how they took charge of their life and career.

Ava lost her father, with whom she was very close, at a young age. Throughout her life she also struggled with insecurity, always feeling that the lack of formal education somehow stood in the way of fulfillment. I think that part of the reason she sought friendship and approval from the famous intellectuals of the time was to prove to herself that she was able to keep up with them. This became especially important after her marriage to Artie Shaw, who constantly brought her down and made her painfully aware of how unsophisticated she was. But yes, she did maintain many platonic friendships with men throughout her life, from actors like Van Heflin, Dirk Bogarde and Gregory Peck, to men from outside of the film industry, like her neighbors in London, artist Michael Garady and pianist Peter Feuchtwanger.

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Re: All About Ava Gardner with Kendra Bean & Anthony Uzarowski on 7/29 & 7/30

Postby AnthonyUzarowski » July 29th, 2017, 12:29 pm

Sue Sue Applegate wrote:Thanks so much, Kendra. I can't wait to read what Anthony's response. It seems that Anthony shares your enthusiasm for the new Ava book.

Can you also share some of the difficulties you encountered trying to secure some of the images you wanted? What factors ultimately drove some of your decisions?

I'm so thrilled with your new book!


Thank you so much! We encountered quite a few roadblocks, and eventually there were images we were sadly unable to use. Looking at how beautiful the book turned out it's easy for us to forget about them, but at the time we were very disappointed. We really tried to have a broad range of images from all periods of Ava's life, and a good balance between candids and studio portraits, as well as, of course, photos from her films.

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Re: All About Ava Gardner with Kendra Bean & Anthony Uzarowski on 7/29 & 7/30

Postby kendrajbean » July 29th, 2017, 12:31 pm

Sue Sue Applegate wrote:Thanks so much, Kendra. I can't wait to read what Anthony's response. It seems that Anthony shares your enthusiasm for the new Ava book.

Can you also share some of the difficulties you encountered trying to secure some of the images you wanted? What factors ultimately drove some of your decisions?

I'm so thrilled with your new book!


We encountered an unfortunate and, to our minds, very unnecessary road block from the person who, until quite recently, ran the Ava Gardner Museum in North Carolina. She didn't like us and tried to prevent us from publishing a book on Ava. But of course Ava was a public figure so that strange plan fell through. But it was made very difficult for us in terms of photographs. We had several amazing photos that we paid for but weren't able to include because of this. Lawyers were involved and it became very stressful. In general, however, people are usually very nice and many archives are keen to see their work represented. For example, the Norman Parkinson Archive here in London was very generous. As was the Frank Sinatra estate, the Margaret Herrick Library, and several private collectors we worked with.

Did copyright need to be cleared and could we find the copyright holder to secure permission? Could we afford the licensing fees? Were the photos representative of the story we wanted to tell? Were they rare or exceptional or at least interesting? These are all questions that any non-fiction author has to deal with.

As Anthony said above, we are happy with how the book turned out in spite of not being able to use everything we wanted to. The photos that are included are beautiful.

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Re: All About Ava Gardner with Kendra Bean & Anthony Uzarowski on 7/29 & 7/30

Postby moira finnie » July 29th, 2017, 12:47 pm

Anthony, I am delighted to read that your first memory of Ava Gardner was Night of the Iguana. Her later work, in films such as the former, On the Beach, and Seven Days in May (on TCM now!) were my introductions to her unique blend of warmth, humor, and vulnerability when I was a kid. Her early, dazzling beauty is breathtaking, but her humanity in these later films made me a fan.

Do you think she ever enjoyed the work or appreciated her fine characterizations in these movies?
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Re: All About Ava Gardner with Kendra Bean & Anthony Uzarowski on 7/29 & 7/30

Postby AnthonyUzarowski » July 29th, 2017, 1:21 pm

moira finnie wrote:Anthony, I am delighted to read that your first memory of Ava Gardner was Night of the Iguana. Her later work, in films such as the former, On the Beach, and Seven Days in May (on TCM now!) were my introductions to her unique blend of warmth, humor, and vulnerability when I was a kid. Her early, dazzling beauty is breathtaking, but her humanity in these later films made me a fan.

Do you think she ever enjoyed the work or appreciated her fine characterizations in these movies?


I couldn't agree more Moira! I just love her later films, I think it has a lot to do with the fact that these are the projects she chose herself, after her MGM contract had finished. She really had the chance to showcase her own brand of acting, which was very natural and extremely warm and effective.

We know for a fact that she loved working on Iguana, she really liked Huston, Burton and Deborah Kerr, and she respected them. They in turn treated her like an actress and a colleague, rather than like a diva, and she liked that a lot. Similarly, with On the Beach, she really appreciated the quality of the material and the fact that the film conveyed an important social message. It's a shame that due to the unique blend of sexism and ageism which permeated Hollywood (as it still does to a large degree!) Ava (and many of her contemporaries) wasn't able to fully take advantage of this more mature and more naturalistic style of acting she grew into.

She is absolutely amazing in Seven Days in May, she totally steals all the scenes from Kirk Douglas. She owns that film, despite having so little screen time.

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Re: All About Ava Gardner with Kendra Bean & Anthony Uzarowski on 7/29 & 7/30

Postby Sue Sue Applegate » July 29th, 2017, 1:30 pm

Like Moira, Anthony, I am happy to know that you have such a high opinion of Night of The Iguana, as I find it a wonderful performance, and John Huston was quite good at giving Ava that special attention she needed to elicit such fine performances from her, especially in the scene in the water with her Maxine's beach boys. We're so glad you're here!

Thank you both for sharing the difficulties of image acquisition. I think the photos in your book are so evocative of Ava's spirit, and find that I am also happy that you were able to focus on attracting the five senses of biography lovers by sharing information like what perfume Ava wore (Tabu) to how MGM makekup artists eventually left the sensuous cleft in her chin in its natural state.

I also enjoyed the quote from Ian McKellen concerning Ava's lack of artifice in her day-today-appearance.

Do either of you have a particular fondness for any of Ava's anecdotes or stories about her?
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Re: All About Ava Gardner with Kendra Bean & Anthony Uzarowski on 7/29 & 7/30

Postby AnthonyUzarowski » July 29th, 2017, 2:15 pm

Sue Sue Applegate wrote:Like Moira, Anthony, I am happy to know that you have such a high opinion of Night of The Iguana,

I also enjoyed the quote from Ian McKellen concerning Ava's lack of artifice in her day-today-appearance.

Do either of you have a particular fondness for any of Ava's anecdotes or stories about her?


We were so lucky to have Sir Ian share some of his memories with us! I loved all the original stories that we heard for the first time form the people we had the privilege of talking to. I think what came through from these really personal memories of her friends and colleagues is just how much Ava was loved, how down-to-earth and unpretentious she was. I really like the story from the lovely Joanna Lumley, about how Ava insisted on coming to Joanna's humble little flat for a party thrown for the supporting cast members of Tam Lin. Despite being a huge star Ava liked feeling like she was part of the troupe; she never looked down on anyone.


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