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review 2019-02-16 19:56
Great pictures, some amusing and some dark stories
Fallen Idols. A Century of Screen Sex Scandals. (Images of the Past) - Nigel Blundell

Thanks to Rosie and the whole team at Pen & Sword for providing me a paperback copy of this book that I freely chose to review.

A while back I read and reviewed a book in the same series ‘Images of the Past’, called The British Seaside, and I enjoyed the combination of the wonderful images and the informative and humorous text, fairly light on reading but high on entertainment value. In this case, the same is true, even with the serious subject and the unavoidable reflections on how times don’t seem to have changed so much, although know we get to hear about many of the details that in the past would have remained hidden from the general public.

I’ve always been fascinated by the history of cinema, and Hollywood, from its beginnings to now, although times have changed somewhat, and tinsel town is not what used to be (if it ever was). I have watched documentaries and read magazines about the industry, particularly about the era of the big studios, when everything seemed more glamourous and shiny than our everyday lives.

This book looks, mostly at past scandals, from the early history of Hollywood to some more recent ones, but does not include the XXI century, and although some of us, who grew up watching reruns of classics, will remember many of these stars (and some have become icons, like James Dean or Marilyn Monroe), to the youngest generation most of them will sound like ancient history. Only Roman Polanski, Woody Allen, and the TV preachers are still alive, and although their controversy remains alive, it seems to have been dwarfed by most recent scandals.

This is not an in-depth study of any of the cases, but rather a quick survey with a few details of the biographies and circumstances of some of the stars, whose lives became as well-known and exposed to the public attention as that of their characters. Despite that, although I thought I was familiar with the majority of the actors and actresses the book talks about, I discovered I didn’t know many of the details, perhaps because they were not discussed at the time or have been revealed later, and many of the pictures where totally new to me (and I thoroughly enjoyed them, especially those showing the stars when they were young). I am sure, though, that experts or true fans of these actors and actresses will not learn anything new, but I enjoyed the combination of text and pictures (and I particularly relished the introduction, which offers interesting insights into the effects of some of these scandals, like the Hays Code, that went beyond the content of the movies and affected the personal lives of the stars as well), that makes it ideal as a present for people of a certain age who enjoy celebrity magazines of the time, and also for the younger generation who might not have been exposed to these stories and the old-fashioned notion of celebrity and stardom.

It is impossible to read this book without comparing many of these scandals to some of the recent ones. The big studios spent a lot of money on lawyers, on keeping the press at bay, and of course, power has always talked. Thankfully, some of the things that were considered normal practice at the time have now become unacceptable and are the subject of legal procedures. 

To give you a better idea of the content, there are fourteen chapters, each focused on one of these stars: Charlie Chaplin, Fatty Arbuckle, Jean Harlow, Errol Flynn, Grace Kelly, Lana Turner, Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield, Elvis Presley, Roman Polanski, Joan Crawford, Rock Hudson, Jim Bakker & Jimmy Swaggart, and Woody Allen.

I thought I’d share a couple of the quotes I’ve highlighted, so you get some idea of what to expect. Here, referring to James Dean:

“The star of East of Eden and Rebel without a Cause was bisexual and had affairs with actresses Pier Angeli and Ursula Andrews but when asked if he was gay his reply was: “Well, I’m certainly not going to go through life with one hand tied behind my back!” (Blundell, 2018, p. 8).

In the chapter about the TV preachers Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart (a fascinating phenomenon that seems pretty unique to the USA), it explains that Swaggart confessed and apologised to his congregation and the viewers of his TV channel the first time he was caught with a prostitute. But the second time, he truly spoke his mind:

“This time, rather confessing to his congregation, Swaggart brazened it out with the rebuff: ‘The Lord told me it’s flat none of your business’ (Blundell, 2018, 143).

In sum, this is a fun book for people who love anecdotes and to peep into the lives of the Hollywood famous, especially those from the era of the Hollywood big studios. If you want a brazen and amusing book, with its dark moments and plenty of pictures to get the conversation going, or are looking for a present for somebody who loves movie memorabilia, I recommend it.

Blundell, N. (2018). Images of the Past. Fallen Idols. A Century of Screen Sex Scandals. Barnsley, UK: Pen & Sword.

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review 2019-01-24 01:32
Voltron v3
Voltron Legendary Defender volume 3: Absolution - Mitch Iverson

 

 

 

The art in these volumes never ceases to amaze me. So brilliant and accurate.

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review 2019-01-12 22:58
Wuthering Heights
Wuthering Heights - Lucasta Miller,Pauline Nestor,Emily Brontë

Pop Sugar 2019 Challenge prompts:

Book by 2 female authors

 

Call me unsophisticated. Because I hate this. I find the writing disjointed and pretentious. The characters unlikable. And the events all over the place. I enjoy classics, but this one is a big NO from me. I will stick to Jane Austen.

 

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text 2019-01-11 01:21
Crazy Rich Asians
Crazy Rich Asians - Kevin Kwan

Pop Sugar 2019 Challenge prompts:

Book about a family

Book by an author from Asia 

Book by an author whose first and last name begin with the same letter

Book involving a wedding

 

I had high hopes for this book, but I just couldn't get into it. There were far too many names and titles thrown at me with every turn. I can't keep the people straight. And if I can't keep them straight, it's not possible to connect and feel anything for them.

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review 2019-01-09 18:32
The Hate U Give
The Hate U Give - Angie Thomas

I don't know how to feel about this book. It had a good message and the topic is super important. But there was something off-putting about Starr and her attitude. I have an attitude, too, but I don't go around bottling and exploding on others. If she would have just told her classmates what happened, a lot of drama could have been avoided. But she just bottled and overflowed. Not cool. I also feel like she had a touch of PTSD. 

 

Also, stop talking about Tumbler. Omg. 

 

A good book but I don't think it's as amazing as so many say it is. 

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