Barbara Stanwyck: The Miracle Woman

Barbara Stanwyck: The Miracle Woman

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by Dan Callahan

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A biography of the savvy, sexy, and inspirationally hardworking actress  See more details below


A biography of the savvy, sexy, and inspirationally hardworking actress

Editorial Reviews

Dennis Drabelle
Barbara Stanwyck: The Miracle Woman is not a traditional biography. It's only loosely chronological, with the author preferring to group his discussions of films by genre…or director…This approach allows him to focus on what really interests him about his subject: not Tinseltown gossip, but what Stanwyck accomplished on screen…Callahan's enthusiasm informs every page, and he makes a good case for what Billy Wilder…said about Stanwyck when she received the American Film Institute's Life Achievement award in 1987. "In this business, you aren't supposed to say anyone was the best." Pause. "She was the best."
—The Washington Post
From the Publisher
"[Callahan's] critical analyses of her performances are not, thankfully, uncommitted, academic regurgitations of what others have written, but highly observant, passionately written considerations of her artistry… his biography proves once again that all great artists begin with life as it is lived, and it is to the author's credit as a biographer that we are made more aware of Barbara Stanwyck's ferocious determination to look at life honestly."

—Charles Bogle,

"Callahan builds a compelling personal narrative out of her contradictions: her bootstrapping tough-broad self-sufficiency (this slum kid was a rabid Ayn Rand fan and loved her Westerns best of all), her self-effacing, almost masochistic love life, and her radical spontaneity on-screen."

—Mark Asch, The L Magazine

"Barbara Stanwyck was better than Bette Davis and Katharine Hepburn. That's the bold contention of Dan Callahan's well-written Barbara Stanwyck: The Miracle Woman."

—Michael Musto, The Village Voice

"Callahan soars when he takes aim at Stanwyck's acting and films, so much so that The Miracle Woman's primary value may be as a friendly reference book to pull off the shelf every time you see a Stanwyck picture and wish to hear an erudite, witty voice offer much more than two cents… Callahan writes of her with the ever-present respect one shows a great artist, and The Miracle Woman is brimming with penetrating observations…[his] writing is often humorously piquant, hitting the reader like a lime spritz in a margarita."

—Matthew Kennedy, The Bay Area Reporter

"Anyone with a love for classic film history will find much to love and appreciate about this book."

Wide Screen World

"Ideal for Stanwyck fans (so, everybody) and any cinephile who takes acting seriously."

Self Styled Siren

"An impassioned biography. Film scholar Dan Callahan [focuses] on what really interests him about his subject: not Tinseltown gossip, but what Stanwyck accomplished on screen… Callahan's enthusiasm informs every page."

—Dennis Drabelle, The Washington Post

"If Mr. Callahan's book is not the last word on this great actress, it will certainly stand as an invaluable critical guide. It's a book that would have initially embarrassed its subject, if only because she would be uneasy about any book about herself. And then, as she thought about it, and maybe reread it, she would be just a little flattered, then, finally, pleased. And she would be right, as usual."

—Scott Eyman, The Wall Street Journal

"The arrival of this critical biography is an opportunity to marvel at the pure cumulative accomplishment of Barbara Stanwyck's career…Callahan epigrammatically notes the eternal human truths within Stanwyck's performances."

—Nick Pinkerton, Sight and Sound

"Callahan's valuable reclamation project is a beautiful tribute to an actress celebrated for her naturalism…his assessments, both positive and negative, are always sensitively rendered, and he's keenly alert to the nuances he so treasures in her work….Callahan not only gives Stanwyck her due, he may have you soon placing her above Kate or Bette as the foremost First Lady of the Screen."

—John Dileo, Screen Savers

"Mr. Callahan could be the best writer on film acting, certainly the best that I know of. As word gets around about his excellent new book, Barbara Stanwyck: The Miracle Woman I think most cinephiles will agree with me."


"Long overdue and full of insight, a thorough, heartfelt, and beautifully researched account of the neglected career of one of the greatest stars in movie history."

—James Harvey, author of Romantic Comedy in Hollywood and Movie Love in the Fifties

"From the sublime (The Lady Eve and Double Indemnity) to the outrageous (Forty Guns—'She's a high-ridin' woman with a whip!'), the workaday (The Woman in Red) to the why'd-she-make-it bizarre (Red Salute), Barbara Stanwyck possessed extraordinary range and a screen persona that was both tough and tender. Dan Callahan's marvelously detailed book brings this nimble, legendary star and her long, astonishingly varied career to radiant life."

—Ed Sikov, author of On Sunset Boulevard: The Life and Times of Billy Wilder; Dark Victory: The Life of Bette Davis; and others

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Product Details

University Press of Mississippi
Publication date:
Hollywood Legends Series
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Barnes & Noble
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File size:
3 MB

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Barbara Stanwyck 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago