Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Marlene Dietrich Gets Personal in Charlotte Chandler's New Biography

Prolific biographer Charlotte Chandler has written on the life of a different film legend every year for the past 6 years, beginning with It's Only a Movie: Alfred Hitchcock in 2005. Her latest, Marlene, has just been published by Simon & Schuster.

Chandler's biographies are based on personal interviews. She includes filmography and career details, but her style is to convey the story of a life in the first-person as much as possible, using the subject's own words. This conversational approach gives the reader a sense of being in the room, listening in, as the story of a remarkable life unfolds.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Father of the Bride (1950)...and a reflection on mid-century Hollywood...

During World War II Hollywood churned out popular pictures both entertaining and patriotic, bolstering home front morale and earning enormous box receipts. Between 1942 and 1945, Americans were spending 23% of their recreation dollars on movies and by 1946 weekly attendance was over 90,000,000. But the boom years would soon go bust.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

(Not Quite) All About Bette...

Bette Davis was born 103 years ago on April 5 in Lowell, Massachusetts. She attended drama school as a young woman and made her Broadway debut in "Broken Dishes" in 1929. She headed to Hollywood in 1930 where she was tested and signed by Universal. When her Universal contract was not renewed and she was on the verge of returning to New York and Broadway she received a call from Warner Bros. This was not exactly the beginning of a beautiful friendship, but it was the beginning of the truly legendary screen career of a groundbreaking actress.