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This is a well-organized study of one of the silver screen's blonde bombshells of the 1950s and 1960s whose work is many times dismissed or forgotten by contemporary film historians. Although Mamie Van Doren's image as a sex symbol was compared with that of Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield, hers was a more singularly modern, aggressive style that appealed to the youth of a post-World War II America already in the throes of increased prosperity, a newly emerging teenage culture, rock 'n' roll mania, anti-Communist paranoia, and overall social change. With this in mind, journalist and playwright Lowe analyzes Van Doren's films in order to clarify their cultural and historical contexts within this era and, at the same time, pay tribute to a unique star of the cinema. He begins with a detailed biographical overview of Van Doren's life and offers a comprehensive reference section focusing on the individual films-including credits, cast, plot, reviews, and commentary for such titles as Running Wild(1955), Teacher's Pet(1958), Girls Town(1959), and College Confidential(1960). Listings of her television performances and vocal recordings are also included and attest to her versatility as a performer. Numerous photographs and a foreword by Van Doren nicely enhance the well-researched and informative text. Film enthusiasts will especially enjoy this book. For circulating libraries and large cinema collections.
—Carol J. Binkowski