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Halliwell's Who's Who In The Movies
Posted: April 14th, 2007, 5:44 pm
Under its original title, " The Film Go'ers Companion ", I first purchased this " Encyclopedia " of film making in 1965. It was a must buy for me until Mr. Leslie Haliwell the original author and film researcher for Britian's Granada TV died in 1989, and since then while very good it has declined in it appeal. Are there anyother comments on this or any other " Film Encyclopedia " ? Positive or Negative makes no difference .
Posted: April 15th, 2007, 1:35 am
I have David Thomson's A Biographical Dictionary of Film and an AFI reference I love - American Film Institute Desk Reference. I've read a disparaging reference here or there concerning David Thomson on the TCM website, but I don't know why the negative comments were made. I enjoy the reference he (or his crew) created.
I also have a treasure from my high school days - my folks bought me the Cadillac film library series. (That's what I wanted for my birthday in the early 1970's, but I think my folks wanted it, too!)
Lately, I've been recommending Lee Server's [b]Ava Gardner: Love is Nothing (but a pain...) .
I had a review of this book appear last April in a local paper and I will try to attach it at the end of this letter.
I also have read the autobiographies of Lana Turner, Lauren Bacall, Gloria Swanson, Doris Day, Maureen O'Hara, Rosalind Russell, Jane Russell, the Scott Berg book Kate Remembered, and many, many others.
I think Marion Meade did a creditable job on her Buster Keaton book, and hope one day that a decent bio about John Huston will appear on the scene. I also have been tweaking my summer reading list and hope to read the new Farley Granger autobiography and The Girl Who Walked Home Alone. Well, this country gal with a little vocabulary has rambled on a bit...
Ava Gardner, under the mistaken belief that she
was having a date with director Howard Hawks, soon
learned that the tall, "rail thin" man with the
"rawboned face of a cowboy" was none other than Texas
entrepreneur Howard Hughes. Modestly amused by the
mixup, Hughes asked Ava out again, and they soon began
seeing each other "several times a week or more." But
let there be no mixup about Lee Server's powerfully
compelling portrait of Ava Gardner. The man, along
with his international contacts and sources, has
crafted a a complex portrait of a barefooted country
girl whose photograph in the window of a portrait
studio in New York ultimately captivated the world
with her beauty and the antics of her personal life.
Server's previous biography, Robert Mitchum, 'Baby I
Don't Care' , showcased his expertise with all things
film and noire, and AVA GARDNER allows him full venue
to elaborate in this ode to the Barefoot Contessa of
two continents. With a surplus of parentheticals and
bottom-of-the-page addendum, Server leaves tidbits
like Ava changed partners, always something new and
savory demanding a change to the next blank page
where something must be written. From Ava's best
friend in high school, to her last, closest chums in
London's high-brow Knightsbridge district, everyone
had something to say about Gardner's extraordinary
goddess-like beauty and her volatile personal
This book reveals Gardner's inauspicious beginnings
deep in the red-dirt heartland of North Carolina, and
then provides the reader a world tour with the most
enticing brunette of the forties and fifties as she
emotes in private and on film. Hemingway, Sinatra,
Mickey Rooney, Lana Turner, Howard Hughes, Robert
Mitchum, Luis Miguel Dominguin, Esther Williams,
Fidel Castro, Judy Garland, John Huston, and many
others have their moments in the sol and sombra with
Ava. Only MGM central casting would have difficulty
finding all the extras for this moveable feast of a
book. The baked Alaska is Gardner's jagged frankness
and crisp retorts left unprintable in the 40's, 50's,
and 60's, but poured out on Server's pages like so
The rise of the paparazzi, the inspiration for La
Dolce Vita and the final cast for The Pink Panther
all had something to do with Ava Gardner. There are
sweet, candid remittances from BBC Television's Joanna
Lumley of Absolutely Fabulous fame, who was a castmember of
Roddy McDowall's first directorial effort, Tam Lin, which
starred Gardner in her forty-seventh year. Server's sources also
include past information from previously published
show business biographies that has been tweaked and
updated with scandal, certainty, and revelations from
Ava's personal friends (Spoli Mills, Betty Sicre) and
industry insiders like Gene Reynolds, producer of
television's M*A*S*H*, Hemingway pal A.E. Hotchner,
and Artie Shaw, Ava's second husband. But it was her
third husband she had the most difficulty releasing.
Server's depiction of Ava and Frank drops readers in
the minefields and mortar shells of a very personal
war that was unfortunately quite public, and it
leaves no profanity unmuttered. Credits rolled at the
end of their final love scene, and Server fills in
the spaces no one else dared or could.
With a list of 109 personal interviews and 24 pages of
sources, Server 's skullduggery into the nine decades
since Ava Gardner arrived in Grabtown, North Carolina,
on December 24, 1922, has revealed the Venus who often
erupted like Mount Vesuvius, leaving heartbreak
and despair in her wake. The only elements missing are
possibly the addition of more photographs and a desire
to see Ava Gardner, the actress and seductress, on
film again. The psychology of her alcoholism and her
regrets at the end of her life reveal the pain. But
her eternal beauty and her gypsy soul dance away the
night in the streets and clubs of Madrid. You can
almost hear the castanets.
Posted: April 15th, 2007, 1:21 pm
Sue Sue, thank you for posting the review on the Ava Gardner book. She's an actress that I've really been enjoying lately, so I've been interested in the Love is Nothing biography. I try to gauge what a book is like by reading the reviews on Amazon, but they're not very helpful at times. I usually get my books through there, because they're discounted at good prices. Thanks. I'll be picking it up soon. I can't wait!
The Bette Davis biography, The Girl Who Walked Home Alone is fantastic as well. I bought that the moment it came out and wasn't disappointed. I like the format of the book: chronologically, by each movie. There's a short explanation of each plot, and then a great deal of Miss Davis' anecdotes or interviews with other people involved with the movie afterwards. It's a great read, filled with information and good gossip!
I had no idea there was a Farley Granger autobiography! That's something I'd like to read as well. Thanks for mentioning it.
Posted: April 15th, 2007, 3:09 pm
My review was posted on Amazon, but it is way back in the threadlist.
Ava's best work for me was in Mogambo, & Showboat. The hardest to view is Whistle Stop, her first big screen effort. Her and George Raft?
Just plain creepy. But Florence Bates (First female lawyer in Texas) had a good bit part in that one.
I also truly enjoyed Maureen's autobiography. I am still wondering whom she referred to as having a liason with John Ford, though.
Posted: April 15th, 2007, 5:20 pm
I have Mr. Thomson's New Biographical Dictionary of film. A horrible gentlman with such "inaccurate opinions " on Ms O' Hara, and Mr. Ford. All of Mr. Thomson's writings should be be given the Fahrenheit 451 treatment.
Tyrone Power is the likely Ford liaison.
Only kidding about the " Fahrenheit 451 " treatment
General Disdain, My favorite enlisted man!
Posted: April 15th, 2007, 5:32 pm
I haven't perused Maureen's or Ford's entries, but used it as a kind of general ref on people I had trouble locating info on otherwise.
But if Thomson said nasty things about two of my faves, shame on him.
I am drawing a mustache on his photo as we speak!
Ty? Well. Yes,....