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Showing posts from May, 2012

Infamous Players: A Tale of Movies, the Mob (and Sex)

When Peter Bart was a young reporter in Los Angeles for the New York Times he met a young executive at Paramount Pictures called Robert Evans.  To his surprise, Evans chose Bart to help him turn the struggling studio around and swept him into the wild and decadent world of the Hollywood of the late sixties and early seventies. Infamous Players is the story of these crazy, but inspiring years.
Bart and Evans had a tough time getting their ideas past the manic boss, Charlie Bluhdorn.  Obsessed by old musicals, he wanted to make hopeless films like Paint Your Wagon.  Bart tells amusing anecdotes about the making of this movie which starred a drunken Lee Marvin and the young Clint Eastwood, who couldn’t sing. Soon Bart became more successful and he tells the stories behind films, such as Love Story and The Godfather.  He reveals the tale of Evans and Ali McGraw’s marriage and how it was difficult to part Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie during a steamy scene during the filming of Don…

This Scarlet Cord by Joan Wolf

This Scarlet Cord grabbed me from the beginning. The novel starts when beautiful and courageous Rahab manages to escape from slave-traders.  Handsome Sala helps her and finds her family.  Rahab is only 12 but when she returns to her home in the country she can’t forget Sala.
The excitement continues as Rahab overcomes many difficult situations.  One of these is being chosen as a priestess who must sleep with the king of Jericho so that the land will become fertile. The plot has many twists and turns as the bright girl manages to overcome several dangers.
Rahab meets Sala again when she is older.  The two share a star-crossed love because their beliefs conflict.  Rahab, a Canaanite girl, follows pagan rituals.  Sala is an Israelite who is forbidden to marry a Canaanite. This is a well-written, enjoyable novel with a likeable and admirable heroine and hero.  Rahab and Sala are sympathetic characters and most readers will cheer them on as they attempt to resolve their differences. This Sc…

Tuesday Teaser

"I saw in her pained expression a lifetime of entrapment...And Saffy, whose softness made her weak, whose compassion made her kind, had been unable ever to wrest herself free".

(The Distant Hours by Kate Morton)

I identified strongly with these two extremely well-expressed sentences, unfortunately.  Saffy's situation is probably very common.  Hopefully, my 'entrapment' doesn't show in my face, however!

The Forgotten Star of the 1940s, Dana Andrews.

Hollywood Enigma by Carl Rollyson
Anyone who is interested in Dana Andrews or the history of old Hollywood should read this enjoyable and comprehensive biography. This is a real American story of rags to riches, reinvention, fall, and redemption.  It is also a great love story, unusual even in the Hollywood of the 1940s.  It can be rather depressing at times because of Andrews’s sad descent into alcoholism, however.
Dana Andrews is the forgotten star of the 1940s, an actor who never achieved his true dues.  However, he was an “actor’s actor”, the master of film noir. He is remembered mainly for his mysterious role in Laura, a great classic which is recommended for all film-lovers. Someone once wrote that Vivien Leigh would have walked over broken glass in bare feet if she thought that this would make her a better actress.  Dana Andrews would have done that too.
When Dana Andrews met President Johnson, he remarked that they had both been “poor boys from Texas” once.  Andrews had a some…