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GordonCole

Hagiographies vs. Unvarnished Truth

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Do you prefer a biography of a movie star, director or anyone movie related, that ignores the more unsavory aspects of their life to portray them as saintly specimens or one which tells the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but, including warts and all?

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'Hagiography' is a wonderful word one doesn't often see on-line. Bravo. (p.s. I once visited there to see the exact site where Red Grant slayed the Bulgarian underling).

Your question: I prefer unvarnished. I can still decide what to give credence to. But if a fact is completely omitted, I have no choice.

Favourite biographies 'Citizen Hughes'...'Citizen Welles'..(I don't know which type of bio they were at the time, but I enjoyed them).

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Thank you for an unvarnished answer. There are those who would prefer that their stars remain untarnished by truth in a bio or even autobiography but I think, why write anything if it is not a true approximation of how one became one in essence. Now don't get me wrong, autobiographies which detail every liaison known to man are not the kind of truth I am looking for in my literary slacking off periods. But to paint a film star who slept their way to the top as Pollyanna out picking daisies daily, I feel is a disservice to the point of writing a book about anyone.

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I think we're all mature enough now to handle sordid Hollywood histories. If there's one good thing about the PC mania it should be: more truthful biographies.

Unless they veer off at the wrong angle and start labeling casting-couch tell-alls, "s`l`u`t shaming" :wacko:

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Unvarnished, not untarnished. Print the truth, not the legend.

As one example, William J. Mann's biography of Katharine Hepburn, not the mythmaking of Garson Kanin's Tracy and Hepburn.

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One of my favorite movies (and one of Hollywood's great epics), which is hagiographic, is Wilson (1944), starring Alexander Knox, who should have won the Oscar that year. I particularly like the film because it's an epic that deals with the epic nature of its subject's life, from President of Princeton, to Governor of New Jersey, through that incredible Democratic Convention of 1912 (Hollywood's greatest depiction of an old-fashioned convention), through his Presidency, many of his policies, World War I, the League of Nations fights with Henry Cabot Lodge (Sir Cedric Hardwicke) and the Republicans, etc. The film also focused on his family life. Wilson is hagiographic because it does make him out to be pretty saintly and ignores the questions related to race relations during his tenure.

So many biographical films (Good Night and Good Luck; Capote, etc.) deal with one small section of their subjects' lives. Wilson, in its 154 minutes does it all; albeit hagiographically.

wilson-1944-film-89458347-250f-41e4-8ed0

 

 

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Are you sure a stated preference for truth isn't simply cover for the desire to take celebrated people down a couple of pegs so one can feel less uncomfortable with one's own lowly station in life?

I say, lie to me.  Varnish it up.  I won't read them either way.

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I assume that celebrity autobiographies are self-serving, however, I have read several wherein I have thought less of the author after reading same.  Lee Grant, Sugar Ray Leonard and Lana Turner come to mind.

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On 1/3/2019 at 9:39 PM, kingrat said:

Unvarnished, not untarnished. Print the truth, not the legend.

As one example, William J. Mann's biography of Katharine Hepburn, not the mythmaking of Garson Kanin's Tracy and Hepburn.

Haven't read that one but shall look for it, thanx.

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On 1/3/2019 at 9:59 PM, Swithin said:

One of my favorite movies (and one of Hollywood's great epics), which is hagiographic, is Wilson (1944), starring Alexander Knox, who should have won the Oscar that year. I particularly like the film because it's an epic that deals with the epic nature of its subject's life, from President of Princeton, to Governor of New Jersey, through that incredible Democratic Convention of 1912 (Hollywood's greatest depiction of an old-fashioned convention), through his Presidency, many of his policies, World War I, the League of Nations fights with Henry Cabot Lodge (Sir Cedric Hardwicke) and the Republicans, etc. The film also focused on his family life. Wilson is hagiographic because it does make him out to be pretty saintly and ignores the questions related to race relations during his tenure.

So many biographical films (Good Night and Good Luck; Capote, etc.) deal with one small section of their subjects' lives. Wilson, in its 154 minutes does it all; albeit hagiographically.

wilson-1944-film-89458347-250f-41e4-8ed0

 

 

I've seen that film and it truly is a great one. I always liked Alexander Knox and he was moving also in The Sign of the Ram, a totally different kind of part. Thanx.

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On 1/3/2019 at 10:40 PM, slaytonf said:

Are you sure a stated preference for truth isn't simply cover for the desire to take celebrated people down a couple of pegs so one can feel less uncomfortable with one's own lowly station in life?

I say, lie to me.  Varnish it up.  I won't read them either way.

You may be totally correct. Who knows what lives in the mind of the Shadow?

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On 1/4/2019 at 12:11 PM, johnpressman said:

I assume that celebrity autobiographies are self-serving, however, I have read several wherein I have thought less of the author after reading same.  Lee Grant, Sugar Ray Leonard and Lana Turner come to mind.

Really? Well I must try to find those autobiographies just to test this theory. Thanx.

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On 1/3/2019 at 8:40 PM, slaytonf said:

Are you sure a stated preference for truth isn't simply cover for the desire to take celebrated people down a couple of pegs so one can feel less uncomfortable with one's own lowly station in life?

I say, lie to me.  Varnish it up.  I won't read them either way.

I suppose that could be one reason for one's preference in watching a biopic or reading a book about a famous person which solely mentions their more positive attributes, slayton.

However, my preference in this regard would be one that would in a evenhanded manner present all their various personality aspects, experiences and actions, and thus making the subject more human, more discernible and in some cases even more appreciable in my eyes than would be any two-dimensional portrait of their lives.

(...I always believe way too many people have successfully used those types of hagiographical "two-dimensional portraits" of certain famous people that they admire in self-serving ways and for and to their own means, and to often support some hidden agenda they might wish to push upon those who are ignorant of the true facts of some famous person's life, and something I think can often be dangerous to the concept of "an informed public")

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