The Bad and the Beautiful: A Chronicle of Hollywood in the Fiftiesby Sam Kashner, Jennifer Macnair, Jennifer MacNair
A vivid portrait of power, fame, and sex in 1950s Hollywood, from the rise of tabloid journalism to the making of legendary film icons. In these tantalizing stories of momentous events and legendary characters, Sam Kashner and Jennifer MacNair brilliantly re-create the drama and contradictions of Hollywood's most scandalous and dynamic decade. Colorful and humorous anecdotes of such public icons as Lana Turner, Rock Hudson, Kim Novak, and Mae West profile the celebrities' lives away from the camera, telling of the private moments that were exploited by tabloids such as Confidential and gossip queens Louella Parsons, Hedda Hopper, and Sheilah Graham. Chronicling the unique obsessions of the era, the authors also offer behind-the-scenes commentary on the making of classic films: Hollywood's curious religious revival with The Robe; the film industry's exploitation of the potboiler Peyton Place, even as it rejected the housewife who penned it; and the anarchic director Nick Ray, who, on the set of the enduring classic Rebel without a Cause, taught his teenage stars about much more than acting. Guided by the authors' historical savvy and intimate storytelling, we discover a city at a crossroads, attempting to reinvent the magic and mystery of its past glories. Tragic, irreverent, and always entertaining, The Bad and the Beautiful reveals the underground history of this turbulent decade in American film.
Author Biography: Sam Kashner writes for GQ and Vanity Fair and is the author of the novel Sinatraland and other nonfiction books on Hollywood. Jennifer MacNair, a graduate of Columbia University's School of Journalism, is a contributor to the online edition of PBS's NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.
Richard Schickel's childhood in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, was never so glamorous, but in Good Morning, Mr. Zip Zip Zip, he recalls the many movies written by the soon-to-be-blacklisted that offered romanticized visions of American and Russian societies during the Second World War. "You can't really tell the difference between those written by Communists and those written by liberals," Schickel notes. "All you can say of this lot is that if their political sins were minimal, their rhetorical ones were heinous."
Hollywood in the fifties was filled with sinners: as Sam Kashner and Jennifer MacNair recount in The Bad and the Beautiful, those in the entertainment industry survived everything from sex scandals to murder cases. Yet some, like the screenwriter Alvah Bessie, never recovered from political persecution: "People say it's now pretty fashionable to say you were blacklisted, but if that's fashionable, I haven't gotten any offers from Hollywood yet,"he told an interviewer in 1977.(Andrea Thompson)
- Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
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- 6.46(w) x 9.66(h) x 1.25(d)
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