Carole Lombard: The Hoosier Tornado

( 4 )

Overview

For millions of movie fans during the 1930s, an actress from Fort Wayne, Indiana, personified the madcap adventures of their favorite form of screen comedy screwball. Nicknamed The Hoosier Tornado for her energetic personality, Carole Lombard did as much as anyone to define the genre, in such films as Twentieth Century and My Man Godfrey. She also captured America's attention through her romance and marriage with Clark Gable. Wes D. Gehring examines Lombard's legacy, focusing on the public and private figure from...

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Overview

For millions of movie fans during the 1930s, an actress from Fort Wayne, Indiana, personified the madcap adventures of their favorite form of screen comedy screwball. Nicknamed The Hoosier Tornado for her energetic personality, Carole Lombard did as much as anyone to define the genre, in such films as Twentieth Century and My Man Godfrey. She also captured America's attention through her romance and marriage with Clark Gable. Wes D. Gehring examines Lombard's legacy, focusing on the public and private figure from her early days as in Mack Sennett silent films, to her development as the leading motion-picture comedienne of her time, to her tragic death in a January 1942 plane crash following a successful war-bond rally in Indianapolis.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Lombard (1908-1942) was the brightest star in screwball comedy's constellation, and her tragic death at 33 made her a Hollywood legend. Ball State film professor Gehring celebrates Lombard's many gifts in this valentine. Born in Fort Wayne, Ind., and raised in California, Lombard has a quintessentially American, star-is-born saga: she parlayed talent and timing into a stellar career and marriage to Clark Gable, the king of MGM. In fact, Lombard, who often doubled as an uncredited producer, loved all things cinematic. A keen intelligence and show-biz savvy defined her as much as her boundless energy. The screen siren was fiercely democratic and wildly generous. Her fame grew with the movie industry-from early Mack Sennett shorts to the deft comic genius of My Man Godfrey and Nothing Sacred-and she embraced all the 20th century had to offer: feminism, free love and fun. Possessing classic beauty yet renowned for her eccentricity and ability to swear like a sailor, Lombard was also a survivor. A car crash when she was 17 nearly ruined her budding career, and only plastic surgery and, in her words, "determination and tenacity" kept her on film. Her undeniable charm bewitched many leading men of the 1930s, including George Raft and first husband William Powell. Lombard, who longed to flex her dramatic muscle, was killed in her prime. When she was heading home after a war bonds drive, her plane crashed. Gehring is clearly in love with his subject and details Lombard's life, times and some delicious backstage gossip with a historian's eye and a biographer's appetite for discovery. (Sept.) FYI: This is the first in the press's Indiana Biography Series, which pairs Indiana writers with Indiana subjects of note. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Vivacious and beautiful Carole Lombard, nicknamed the "Hoosier Tornado" because of her colorful, take-charge personality, became the queen of screwball comedies through her turns in My Man Godfrey and the acclaimed Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Relying on secondary sources, Gehring (film, Ball State Univ.) retells the well-known story of her life and zeal for practical joking and, consequently, adds no new information. A few years after Lombard sent a ham to Clark Gable with his picture on it, the two married. While on a war-bond campaign, Lombard tragically died at the age of 33 in a plane crash. These narrative threads aside, Gehring takes the standard approach of critiquing all of Lombard's films, which breaks up the natural flow of the biography. Gehring's book will interest only those who don't know anything about Lombard. If your library already owns Warren G. Harris's Gable and Lombard-the definitive biography of both stars-or any other Lombard studies, this is an unnecessary purchase.-Rosalind Dayden, South Regional Lib., Pembroke Pines, FL Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780871951670
  • Publisher: Indiana Historical Society
  • Publication date: 10/28/2003
  • Series: Indiana Biography Ser.
  • Pages: 264
  • Sales rank: 552,406
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword ix
Preface xv
Prologue 1
Chapter 1 The Early Years 19
Chapter 2 The Accident and a Comedy Comeback 43
Chapter 3 A Climb Up the Film Ladder Coupled with a Hoosier Homecoming 61
Chapter 4 A Brief Union of Consequence 77
Chapter 5 Tragedy among the Many Loves of Lombard 97
Chapter 6 The Starlet Becomes a Star ... and the Queen of Hollywood Parties 117
Chapter 7 Lombard's Memorable 1936 135
Chapter 8 Encore 153
Chapter 9 Clark Gable and Gone with the Wind 173
Chapter 10 Turning the Tables on Hitchcock and Other Final Adventures 199
Epilogue: Lombard's Legacy 221
Appendix Lombard Filmography 229
Notes 239
Selected Bibliography 259
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2014

    "Gehring is clearly in love with his subject and details Lo

    "Gehring is clearly in love with his subject and details Lombard's life, times and some delicious backstage gossip with a historian's eye and a biographer's appetite for discovery."--"Publisher's Weekly".   "Mr. Gehring....writes with ease and authority about Ms. Lombard's ascent to stardom and her pivotal role portraying women as alluring, ambitious, shrewd and witty." --"The New York Sun"

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2014

    An often under appreciated actress, Gehring's Lombard text did b

    An often under appreciated actress, Gehring's Lombard text did bring added recognition to her by being a "Foreword Magazine"  
    "Biography Finalist" at BookExpo (Chicago, 2004)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2009

    Too much on movies, not enough on real life

    I have just recently become a Carole Lombard fan, so I was looking for a good biography to give me more information about the life of the screwball legend. While I felt that this book covered her early life and rise to stardom very well, it quickly turned into little more than a compilation of her movie reviews. The author spent far too much time interpreting the themes and facets of Lombard's movies and recounting her reviews from various magazines and newspapers. There was very little attention devoted to her LIFE once she became a Hollywood big name. There are a few colorful stories but, I know more could have been featured, especially those I've heard elsewhere about various entertaining instances during her marriage to Clark Gable. This biography was well-researched, but even I caught some careless errors. For example, it is said that Clark Gables 4th wife gave birth to his son, when it was his 5th. Also the author mispelled the name of Scarlett O'Hara as "Scarlet." Nothing big, but still, I feel that's unprofessional for a published author.
    In all, I enjoyed reading this book, but I have to say, I was disappointed in finding that I had not learned anything about Lombard's life that can't be found on wikipedia other than the in-depth recordings of her critical reviews.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2003

    Caught Up in the Whirlwind of the Hoosier Tornado

    Prof. Gehring's elegant little volume is a welcome and long overdue bio-tribute to (in my opinion) the best thing ever to come out of Indiana. Carole Lombard was a truly innovative actress, one by whom the genre of 'screwball comedies' has come to be defined. Off-screen, her life was a trail-blazing example of all of the good parts of modern feminism. There is not an actress of the past 61 years who can hold a candle to her. I would definitely recommend this book to all those who wish to have a well-rounded idea of both the woman and the actress. It is written in a much more accessible manner than the 1975 biography 'Screwball' that was written by Larry Swindell. Not all of my favorite Lombardian tales are related in this book, but there are enough here to whet the appetite and inspire further research into this fascinating 20th Century (the century, not the film studio) personality.

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