Archive for the ‘Book Reviews’ Category

Review: ‘Joseph P. Kennedy Presents…’

Sunday, February 15th, 2009


Joseph P. Kennedy Presents: His Hollywood Years


Joseph P. Kennedy Presents...


By Cari Beauchamp

(Knopf: 506 pages; $35)


By Martin Rubin
San Francisco Chronicle
February 15, 2009


You can’t beat the Kennedy dynasty when it comes to enduring fascination. The Bush clan might have pulled ahead of them by putting two presidents into the White House. But even during inauguration week, when you might have thought all eyes would be on the Obama family, up popped not one but two Kennedys (Edward and Caroline) to grab some of the spotlight.


And when it comes to progenitors, how can the worthy Sen. Prescott Bush compete with Joseph P. Kennedy: tycoon, bootlegger extraordinaire, ambassador to the Court of St. James’s and world-class philanderer? Now, along comes this immensely detailed and equally immensely enjoyable book to tell us that he was a player in the film business as well:


“This is the man who took Hollywood by storm, at one point running four companies simultaneously when no one before or since ran more than one. … He was the architect of the mergers that laid the groundwork for today’s Hollywood. While he might be surprised to find that United Artists, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and Columbia are now all partially owned by the same multinational conglomerate, he was the one who designed that very blueprint. Kennedy was the first financier to simply buy a studio.”    (Click on ‘Continue Reading’ for more)



Victor Fleming Bio Review…

Monday, December 15th, 2008


‘Victor Fleming: An American Movie Master’ by Michael Sragow


Victor Fleming and Vivian Leigh

Victor Fleming directing Vivian Leigh in “Gone With the Wind”


By Wendy Smith
Los Angeles Times
December 11, 2008


Victor Fleming strides through Michael Sragow’s eponymous biography with the panache of Rhett Butler — and no wonder, since the director helped forge Clark Gable’s onscreen persona with “Red Dust” and “Test Pilot” years before they reunited for “Gone With the Wind.”


Appreciatively chronicling Fleming’s work on these and other classic films, including “The Virginian,” “Treasure Island,” “Captains Courageous” and “The Wizard of Oz,” Sragow — who is a film critic at the Baltimore Sun — portrays his subject as a man’s man who enjoyed fishing, hunting, flying airplanes, riding motorcycles, driving fast cars and making love to beautiful actresses.    (Click on ‘Continue Reading’ for more)



Tony Curtis’ Autobiography…

Friday, October 17th, 2008

Tony Curtis didn’t get no respect from Hollywood

By Elizabeth Snead
Los Angeles Times


Tony Curtis, 84, has written his autobiography, “American Prince,” in which he details his impoverished childhood, a physically abusive mother and cold father, his five marriages, alienation from his children, the deaths of his younger brother and his youngest son, the decline of his acting career, and his past cocaine and sex addictions.


25785477 Wow. It’s a miracle he had the time or energy to star in such classics as Some Like It Hot, The Outsider, Sweet Smell of Success, Spartacus and The Defiant Ones, which earned him an Oscar nomination for lead actor. 


But the veteran actor blames Hollywood for not giving him better roles. He says they gave him the lightweight roles and offered the meaty roles to actors such as Paul Newman and Marlon Brando.


He has some choice words for other actors too, calling Jerry Lewis “cruel,” Shelley Winters “very obnoxious” and Danny Kaye “a vicious man.”


Curtis also slams the actors union, accusing the members of not taking his acting abilities seriously.


He told USA Today: “I don’t feel like I got the movies I should’ve gotten. I felt I deserved more than that the industry had given me. I felt I should have been considered more, with a little more respect from the Screen Actors Guild and the Academy.”


Kinda sounds like he’s ready to star in a remake of Grumpy Old Men. Bitter, much, Tony?



Errol Flynn Book…

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

Errol Flynn’s daughter recalls actor’s ‘family man’ side in self-published book


Rory Flynn at her father’s star on the
Walk of Fame (Old Books on Front Street)



October 6, 2008


Errol Flynn, who would have turned 100 next year, is known as a swashbuckling classic movie actor of films such as The Adventures of Robin Hood and Captain Blood. Seven decades after those movies premiered, he is still remembered for both his acting and rakish good looks.


Flynn was known for his rowdy, behind-the scenes pastimes as well as his adventures on the silver screen. (After all, his autobiography is called “My Wicked, Wicked Ways.”) But the image of Flynn as a father and family man is the motivation behind “The Baron of Mulholland: A Daughter Remembers Errol Flynn,” a selection of photos and writings by his daughter – and Pender County resident – Rory Flynn, who is signing copies of the book at noon Saturday at Old Books on Front St. in downtown Wilmington (North Carolina).


“Errol Flynn and ‘family man’ aren’t usually used together,” Rory Flynn said. “But that’s how I remember him.”


The Baron was a popular nickname for Errol Flynn. And Rory recalls that life with him in Mulholland was “very ‘Mommie Dearest’ without the bad stuff.”


She remembers lavish parties, for both adults and his children, fencing matches between her dad and Gary Cooper and him recreating an Australian ranch at his California home.


Her book combines family photos with hand-written letters to showcase Errol Flynn’s life and that of his family. She self-published the 160 pages as a kind of scrapbook; it includes pictures given to her by her grandparents and the love letters written by Flynn to her mother, Nora Eddington.


Although Rory Flynn spoke with publishers, she said they wanted something different than what she had in mind. “I kept hearing from his fans that they wanted something like this, something personal,” she said. “I didn’t want to exploit my father, but offer something more to the fans than what was already available.”



The book also devotes several pages to Flynn’s son (Rory’s brother), Sean Flynn, a photojournalist captured and killed in Cambodia during the Vietnam War.


After years working as a model, Rory Flynn also became a photographer and has worked in that capacity on films such as “The Return of the Living Dead” and “Invaders from Mars.”


“I call myself the Ed Wood of still photography,” she said. “It seems I’m always working on these low-budget horror movies.”


Flynn’s family is still very much connected to Hollywood and the film business. Her husband, Gideon Amir, is a film producer. Son Sean Flynn is a singer/songwriter and star of the teen sensation Zoey 101 on Nickelodeon.


Although Flynn’s family has made their home in California for 21 years, they recently purchased nine acres in the Burgaw area.


“I looked on a map and knew I wanted to go straight across to the other side of the country from L.A.,” she said. She thought the mild North Carolina weather and Wilmington’s connection to the movie industry would be a good fit for the family – and hopes the book signing will be a way to meet people in her new hometown.


It might be a while before Flynn can really settle in, though. Since the book came out in 2007, she’s been on book tours and is planning several trips to her father’s native Australia as they prepare to celebrate his 100th birthday next year.


“My dad still has so many fans,” she said. “He is an icon, and he’s really been imbedded in Western culture.”