Pieces of Time: The Life of James Stewart

( 4 )

Overview

When James Stewart died in 1997 at the age of eighty-nine, the star of Vertigo and more than seventy other film classics left the world a rich legacy of unforgettable screen performances. Pieces of Time, Gary Fishgall’s portrait of the personable actor everyone knew as “Jimmy,” reveals Stewart to have been a man who, off-screen, bore a striking resemblance to the boyish persona that won America’s heart on-screen: decent but stubborn; hardworking but not particularly ambitious; wealthy but content with one ...

See more details below
This Hardcover is Not Available through BN.com
Note: This is a bargain book and quantities are limited. Bargain books are new but may have slight markings from the publisher and/or stickers showing their discounted price. More about bargain books
Sending request ...

Overview

When James Stewart died in 1997 at the age of eighty-nine, the star of Vertigo and more than seventy other film classics left the world a rich legacy of unforgettable screen performances. Pieces of Time, Gary Fishgall’s portrait of the personable actor everyone knew as “Jimmy,” reveals Stewart to have been a man who, off-screen, bore a striking resemblance to the boyish persona that won America’s heart on-screen: decent but stubborn; hardworking but not particularly ambitious; wealthy but content with one sweater, a good pair of shoes, and an old Volvo.

 

From his childhood in small-town Pennsylvania and performances in undergraduate plays at Princeton, Stewart made a remarkable leap to Broadway and then to MGM in its heyday. He skyrocketed to celebrity, starring in such films as Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) and The Philadelphia Story (1940), for which he won his first Oscar. He was the first box-office star to enlist in the armed forces during World War II and he returned to Hollywood a decorated hero, having flown more than twenty bombing missions over war-ravaged Europe. He channeled his sense of self-sacrifice and honor into such memorable postwar performances as small-town hero George Bailey in Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life (1946). Later in Stewart’s life, Alfred Hitchcock and other distinguished directors encouraged him to explore the darker aspects of his amiable screen personality through complex characters such as L.B. Jefferies inRear Window (1954) and “Scottie” Ferguson in Vertigo (1958).

 

Written with the support of his family and based on interviews with the actor’s friends and colleagues, this definitive biography gives the facts of Stewart’s stellar career as well as backstage stories involving Frank Capra, Alfred Hitchcock, Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, Gary Cooper, Kim Novak, and other Hollywood legends. Pieces of Time is a delight for any fan or film buff who wants to revel in the magic of Stewart’s wonderful life.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Jimmy Stewart (1908-1997) is widely viewed as the All-American boy-next-door. Fishgall (Against Type: The Biography of Burt Lancaster) supports this view as he meticulously profiles the Hollywood legend in a comprehensive biography. The exhaustive research presented here gives a full account of Stewart's career. Part of Stewart's "All-American" image comes from his birthplace: a small, modest town in Pennsylvania. With values rooted in family, community and God, Stewart lived a life that was somewhat less glamorous than the average Hollywood star's. He studied architecture at Princeton, served as a bomber pilot in WWII and enjoyed one stable marriage (to Gloria Hatrick McLean). He successfully raised four children and maintained strong ties with his family back home. Meanwhile, he appeared in 79 films, 12 TV programs and 10 theater productions. This impressive rsum, coupled with his humanism and sincerity, made Stewart one of the most-loved actors in film history. Although Fishgall's intensive delving into Stewart's life, including detailed descriptions of the making of his films, may end up wearying readers not already smitten with Stewart, fans of the man who brought George Bailey and Elwood P. Dowd to life will relish this enthusiastic life. (Sept.)
Library Journal
One of the most endearing actors of our time, Jimmy Stewart appeared in over 70 films and led one of the most successful careers in Hollywood. Fishgall's (Against Type: The Biography of Burt Lancaster, LJ 9/1/95) well-written biography portrays Stewart as a man very much like the one he portrayed on screendedicated to work, family, and country. After playing small roles in minor Broadway productions, he secured an MGM contract. In looks and manner, he was not the typical Hollywood male star, but his all-American characteristics appealed to audiences, and in only five years he became a leading man. He served as a bomber pilot in World War II but in 1946 resumed a career that would span a half century. The main focus of this biography is Stewart's work; each film, television appearance, and stage production is covered in detail with reminiscences from co-workers as well as critical and public evaluations. Stewart's recent death will increase demand for a new biography, and this one is recommended for public libraries.Phillip Oliver, Univ. of North Alabama Lib., Florence
Kirkus Reviews
A paint-by-numbers biography of the star of such classic films as It's a Wonderful Life, Harvey, Rear Window, and Vertigo.

With his lanky good looks, his earnest, genial demeanor, the recently deceased Stewart often played the prototypical American. His naturalistic style of acting, with its frequently parodied starts and stammers, seemed effortless, but as Stewart once remarked, "If I give a natural appearance on the screen, you can be damn well sure I'm working at it." He had no intention of becoming an actor, but a few amateur theatrical productions at Princeton soon had him hooked. He was quickly discovered by MGM, and by 1941 he was a top star with a clearly identifiable and beloved screen persona. After harrowing service during WW II as a bomber pilot, he returned to Hollywood and proceeded to make a series of notable films with Alfred Hitchcock and Anthony Mann in which he deliberately subverted his prewar image to telling effect. But despite a few flashes here and there, this biography does not rise to the level of its subject. Preferring catalog to character, the author leapfrogs relentlessly from film to film, as if that was all that made up a life. Throughout, Fishgall (Against Type: The Biography of Burt Lancaster, 1995) reduces Stewart to little more than filmography leavened with a few familiar anecdotes, while psychological insight, analysis, and dissection of craft are mostly relegated to the sidelines. Fishgall has done an impressive amount of work, watching all of Stewart's scores of films, interviewing anyone with the slightest connection, reading all the requisite memoirs, but given the shallows in which he operates, he could have gotten by with half the effort.

It may have been a wonderful life, but this isn't a wonderful biography.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780830043286
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/15/1999
  • Pages: 416

Meet the Author

Gary Fishgall is the author of Against Type: The Biography of Burt Lancaster, Gregory Peck: A Biography, and Gonna Do Great Things: The Life of Sammy Davis, Jr. He has been an actor, director, theater administrator, drama critic, reporter, and teacher. He lives in St. Louis.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(2)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 12, 2009

    Great life review of an even greater person

    I have always been very fond of Jimmy Stewart yet had never read a biography on him. This was extremely well written, thorough and enlightening. Great job by author, Gary Fishgall. A must read for Jimmy Stewart fans!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2009

    Biography of Jimmy Stewart

    As someone who has really enjoyed Jimmy Stewart's movies, I enjoyed learning more of the facts about him and his life. He comes across as the person I imagined he was, but the book is written as basically a compilation of just that: facts. There isn't much human interest involved in the reiteration of his life. I would have liked a more personal picture of the man and his life. Worth reading if yuou're a fan, but the book itself won't make you one.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 6, 2009

    Good men don't always make good reading.

    A well-written biography, and Jimmy's war record is admirable. But he was a virtuous, conservative man, and though his films are usually enjoyable, this biography is kind of boring. Not the fault of the writer by any means. Jimmy got up, went to the studio, made movies, went home to wife and kids, was in bed by nine. Not the stuff to make a razzle-dazzle book. But I will always love Jimmy Stewart, and his fans will probably like his story.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2000

    One of the best biographies written about James Stewart!

    Gary Fishgall does an incredible job telling the story about James Stewart. It's good to know we had an upstanding citizen in this country at one time (not that we don't now). He was and is one of the best actors that has ever graced the screen of the american cinema. If you want to learn about Jimmy Stewart and are a big fan of his work, read this book! Jimmy Stewart was and still remains to be a hero in this country for many different reasons.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)