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Hollywood Enigma: Dana Andrews

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A biography of the great noir actor who perfected the male mask of steely impassivity

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A biography of the great noir actor who perfected the male mask of steely impassivity

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781604735673
  • Publisher: University Press of Mississippi
  • Publication date: 7/31/2012
  • Series: Hollywood Legends Series
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 414,105
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Carl Rollyson is professor of journalism at Baruch College, CUNY. He is the author of more than thirty books, including biographies of Marilyn Monroe, Lillian Hellman, Martha Gellhorn, Norman Mailer, Rebecca West, and Susan Sontag. He is the advisory editor of the Hollywood Legends series.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments VII

Introduction 3

Chapter 1 Don't Miss 6

Chapter 2 The Patriarch (1881-1924) 17

Chapter 3 "Go Hollywood, Young Man!" (1924-29) 36

Chapter 4 To Be an Actor (1929-32) 43

Chapter 5 "Mediocrity Is Not My Lot" (1932-35) 58

Chapter 6 Holding On (1935-36) 73

Chapter 7 Pasadena (1936-38) 77

Chapter 8 Goldwyn (1938-41) 99

Chapter 9 Fox (1941-44) 117

Chapter 10 Laura (1944) 150

Chapter 11 Stardom (1944-45) 165

Chapter 12 The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) 191

Chapter 13 The Name above the Title (1947) 199

Chapter 14 "What Is This Thing I Do to Women?" (1947-50) 203

Chapter 15 Hollywood Fights Back (1947-57) 215

Chapter 16 Period of Adjustment (1950-53) 226

Chapter 17 Home and Abroad Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1953-57) 238

Chapter 18 Sobriety (1958-64) 256

Chapter 19 Ruin and Recovery (1964-72) 270

Chapter 20 Curtain Call (1972-92) 279

Sources 287

Filmography 295

Bibliography 297

Index 302

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 26, 2012

    An Elusive But Haunting Figure in Film

    Why isn't Dana Andrews a better known figure for the casual classic film fan? Perhaps in part because he shunned the certainties and rigidity that often go into the shell of an icon. He was so good at underplaying the deeply felt human beings he brought to life, with all their struggles, small triumphs, flaws, and hard-won dignity that his acting was overlooked. He worked with John Ford, Jean Renoir, Lewis Milestone, William Wyler, Jacques Tourneur, Fritz Lang and other world-class directors who cherished his contributions to their work. Carl Rollyson's biography of actor Dana Andrews captures something essential in this rather diffident actor who shunned Hollywood blather, becoming a star in several crucial films in American cinema of the 1940s, including THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES, LAURA, THE OX-BOW INCIDENT, FALLEN ANGEL, BOOMERANG, & WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS. On screen he could handily play someone like Fred Derry in THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES. He was credible as the protective, determined American as well as a man with serious doubts about where he fits in as the future unfolds. Yet the actor was quite believable as a man whose gaze, demeanor and voice hinted at unspoken secrets and private wounds. Dana Andrews didn't play the Hollywood game, preferring his family's company and his sailboat while he strove to unravel his understanding of his own contradictions with little self-pity and considerable determination. Often closely identified with the duality of film noir characters, the actor deserves more recognition for his portrayals of seemingly conventional men whose calm demeanor hints at, yet masks an inner life riven by yearning, ambition, and an astute mind as well as doubt, guilt and fear. Drawing on Andrews' journals, letters, oral histories and his family's memories, the author creates a rich portrait of a complex man and a fine actor. The book's strengths are the voice that Rollyson gives his subject, presenting his story with sympathy but without minimizing his limitations, particularly, the actor's long struggle with alcoholism. Given that Dana Andrews' quietly authoritative 20th century male is still an essential part of the prototype for the men we know and love today, his life and career have been unjustly neglected. Here's hoping that this biography helps to lift that cultural shadow from this gifted actor's life and career.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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