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1940's Biographies

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Yes, in his Haines book Mann said that Haines had sex with Gable and Mann tells us that Joan Crawford confirmed this which she, undoubtedly, didn't.


The difference between McGilligan and Mann is a matter of intent and methods of research. McGilligan writes books about film. Mann writes books about gays.


As for the rest of your post, I have no idea what your point is.



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Oh, geez...


You initially wrote, "I would be wary of all gay biographers.... They all (my italics) come to their subjects with a gay agenda which means they tend to ignore such niceties as real research or providing sources for their opinions."


Then, you stated you approve of at least one gay writer (McGilligan) before stating that gays write about other (supposed) gays to "feel less marginalized" (presumably McGilligan's book on Cukor, however much he mentioned it, aside) and now you state McGilligan is a capable researcher with a different intention which directly contradicts your original (and, I think, inappropriate and discriminating) statement. You don't make any sense. In the process of discrediting Mann, you've discredited yourself and proved there's zero difference between you and Mann. Correct? Or am I off my rocker?


Perhaps you should have attended the Gay Pride parade a few weeks back in Toronto and loudly declared that "gay writers...ignore such niceties as real research or providing sources for their opinions." Gays might have a gay agenda, but might straights, African-Americans, Jehovah Witnesses, and probably every other faction on the planet, so why claim gays aren't capable of "real research and providing sources for their opinions" when you believe, in McGilligan's case, the opposite? Were you trying to be flip?


Though this thread has got out of hand, your quote is really my sole beef. My point (or, concern, as it really is, and has been evident but consistently ignored by you) is: such statements are just not acceptable. You're entitled to your opinions but posting discriminatory statements on a public form invites criticism. You've ignored this in my last few postings to continue your diatribe about Mann when it's your own words I expressed a concern with (Mann's case was just the catalyst for you to slip on). It seems like no one else cares enough to call you on it, but I do, and have. Trouble is, you don't care enough to own up to offending someone. If you had written something like "African-American writers aren't capable of niceties as real research" do you think you would have got away with that? Why did you think you could with your statement?


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As a group, I am wary of all gay celebrity biographers since most of them do have an agenda. That's simply a fact. It's not homophobic to say so and I see no reason to be politically correct for your benefit. There are exceptions, of course, and I've pointed out one and I've also pointed out why he is an exception. It's not hard to figue out.


It's really offensive to use shoddy research, rumor and invention to claim that virtually every actor or actress of Old Hollywood (who are all conveniently dead) was gay. Have you read any of the "biographies" by Darwin Porter? Now there's an upstanding member of the gay celebrity biographer fraternity.


What does attending a Gay Pride event have to do with anything?



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The reason, I think, no one has joined you in this discussion, Johnny, is that you will not get Ariel to give in on this point or any other. You probably weren't here but we went through much the same thing when The Aviator came out. And don't get her started on Tracy & Hepburn. It's just not worth it. She's hard headed and refuses to see where she might be wrong.

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To sagebrush & others on this 1, I don't know entire origin of it-(I reckon' 1940's-(arguably, the prime of Hollywoods "Golden Age" & "Studio-System")


But, I wanted to just chime in here & agree with her in that these gays-(which in the last decade & longer, now virtually & seemingly, dominating the entertainment community. In that, I don't mean in the movies, but as far as critics, authors,etc are concerned.)

& I agree, there is absolutely an AGENDA here.


Everything has to have a viewpoint from a gay perspective-(i.e. prejudiced to things otherwise) Instead of just reviewing either a new release, or as she said, now deceased stars.


This has been really gone in action with "PC"-(late 1980's)


This is not on this topic though & I have many exceptional 1940's bio's-(NOTE: For novices at collecting books. You should start with Citadel's "Films of series"


I own "The Films of: *Clark Gable"-(Ironically, as you cinephiles were speaking of him & I have long read that story of when he 1st came to Hollywood & yadda, yadda.

Many even speculate that he had *Cukor fired from *"GWTW" due to *George, being a known homosexual in Hollywood. It was more likely due to *Cukor-(known to be a woman's director, for the most part.) Giving *Leigh & *De Havilliand more of the attention/storyline & making his Rhett Butler, more of a supporting player. TRIVIA/FACTOID: Even though he got sacked & they of course brought in *Fleming-(then Sam Wood, Mervyn LeRoy,etc) The actresses would still get direction from *Cukor. Either over the phone, or in notes)


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A couple good pix by Mongo! & again to sagebrush, you hit "The BullsEye!" I had the misfortune of having the 1st "Hollywood Babylon" Got it about 20yrs ago. & It is "TRASH!!!"-(gave it to a girl & she really didn't care if it was or not, unfortunately?)


This book actually leaves a bad tste in the mouth folks


There are also-(though not bio's) but these are superb collectibles!


Bruce Hershhenson's collection of "Movie Poster Books"-(of course tons from that glorious era of the 1940's too!)


& if anyone, I mean anyone, please immediately let me know-(because there are by no-means enough, are as many books on *"The Great: Spencer Tracy" as a *Bogey & in particular Marilyn of course. He never of course wrote an autobiography-(as "His Kate did) or *Cagney,etc

& I know the one you were citing for awhile now, to sagebrush. I just think there shoulda' been more?


I must have virtually all, on my #2 Hero *Sinatra though!


& Natalie Wood-(Natasha Gurdin) as well-(not nearly enough)


Thank You

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brackenhe, I should have heeded your warning the first time. Thanks, I won't repeat the mistake. I'm glad I was busy doing other things when you had The Aviator discussion. Because you brought it up, I just spent a little while going over that thread (I didn't notice you offended anyone) but that diatribe's far too long to read in a day. I've got a lot of comments about that film but I think I'll let that one go.


myidolspencer, those Bruce Hershenson books are great. I bought a movie poster book in England almost decade ago that could have desperately used Hershenson's touch. His poster books are the best going. And, you're right, there should be more books on Spencer Tracy. Maybe ask Ariel to write one; I'm sure it would be superb.



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  • 1 month later...


This is an interesting thread too! I'd just like to say that I think it's almost impossible to find a 100% accurate bio of any star of the "Golden Age." From everything I've read (and please don't ask me to quote my sources--I don't have time to go back through every book I've ever read on Hollywood ;0)) studios and the stars themselves routinely made up "facts" about their lives, if reality wasn't good enough for them. Katharine Hepburn used her brother's birthday for years, Marlene Dietrich fudged her birth year, her daughter's birth year, conveniently "forgot" all her silent movies and so on. And they aren't the only ones, just the ones with whom I'm most familiar. It seems to have been a fairly common practice.

Add that to the fact that most of these people and the people who knew them well are dead, and so amny stories and anecdotes have made the rounds about these people, that what's true and what's not is very difficult to discern. Then, there's the possibility that old documentation (birth certificates, marriage licenses (sp) and so forth) may have been destroyed, lost or if the person was born at home, non-exsistent or again fudged.

Even memories from living people can be inaccurate--ask 3 different people about something that happened 20 years ago and I'll bet you get three different pictures of the event. It's just human nature to filter our experiences. So I wouldn't even trust an autobiography or a bio written by someone close to the star as being completely truthful, becuase there may very well be an agenda there, too. (look at Mommie Dearest for example or Ginger Rogers' autobiography--if it's to be believed, she was a perfect angel her entire career, no ego, no sin, nothing...and maybe she was, but I can't imagine anyone as bland and nice as she portrays herself making it in Hollywood)

Instead of railing against the innacuracies, just take them for entertainment value and maybe a way of getting the feel of how a star might have been. Somebody mentioned Maria Riva's bio of Dietrich as being excellent and accurate. OK, it was a good read and I loved Riva's memories of conversations she either overheard as a child or had with her mother, but do you really think it is 100% accurate? Or another highly entertaining memoir--Garson Kanin's Hollywoodor his Tracy and Hepburn. I loved those anecdotes he relates about Hepburn and Tracy and in the other book, about Goldwin and Carole Lombard and the brothel in the hills (did that really exsist?) Did any of those things really happene, exactly 100% the way he wrote them? Probably not, but they give a nice "feel" for the way these people interacted and for me that's enough.

BTW, I read Behind the Screen cover-to-cover, twice and it really isn't a "guess who's gay" book (unlike The Girls and The Sewing Circle, though undoubtedly entertaining, were built on a lot of hearsay). It's more about the behind the scens stuff--art departments, hair dressers, writers,and so forth. The author actually spends very little time "revealing the truth" about actors and actresses--his point is more that gay sensibility had a lot to do with the visual look of pictures in the 30's and 40's, which makes perfect sense to me.

(Dang--I do go on, don't I?)

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tracey65k, you're right and if you think you go on, did you read what I wrote in this thread? I went on, to no avail and my point was, as you suggest, to read these kinds of books and form your own opinion about the past because who really knows and who's to say one is more accurate than another, and gays can write well-researched biographies just as well as straight biographers. I stated I didn't care much for Maria Riva's book and I did for Ean Wood's. That's because I found more 'facts' in Wood's book than Riva's. Incidental anecdotes aside, it's a slimmer, better read, regardless of his sexuality. Behind the Screen is, as you suggest and as I stated somewhere in this outrageously long thread, a very entertaining read and is not a 'guess who's gay' book as was suggested by someone who didn't read it. You're right again with your assessment of biographies written by someone close to a star---look at Gene Fowler's Good Night, Sweet Prince for a really white-washed picture of John Barrymore. Thanks for the comments. You should've been on-board a month-or-so-ago.

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I should have been more specific I am reading "Jean Arthur: The Actress Nobody Knew" by John Oller.


It has a lot of her insight and quotes about a lot of the movies, as well as maintaing her privacy. I am only half- way through it so far...but I love it and would definitely recommend it to any Jean Arthur fan!


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