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Life Imitates Art and Vice Versa


CaveGirl
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I was taught long ago in American Literature class that life imitates art, just witness how people began to view landscapes in the form of paintings by Turner, or try to dress like the portrait of Madame X by John Singer Sargent or in the recent incident of dentist versus Cecil the Lion, which is certainly similar to an upcoming TCM film, "Tarzan's Hidden Jungle" [1955] whose synopsis reads "Hunters drive animals out of a sanctuary so they can shoot them".

But more commonly in Hollywood and abroad, art imitates life. There are many such examples of this kind of lurid fare, when thinly disguised biopics are created with some minor subterfuges to avoid possible lawsuits.

 

One of my favorites is Sirk's "Written on the Wind" which is ostensibly based on the misadventures of Reynolds family tobacco heir, Zachary Reynolds who was wed to torch singer, Libby Holman.

Another fave is "Smash Up: The Story of a Woman" which Bing Crosby tried desperately to be suppressed as it laid bare the trials of his wife, Dixie Lee and personal details that belied his wholesome image.

 

There are other films with small pastiches of real people, like the manipulating actress who worked her way into actress Elizabeth Bergner's life and was immortalized as Eve in "All About Eve" and of course there is always W.R. Hearst and his Rosebud, but I'll let you tell me ones you are aware of for me to catch, as the roman a clef style has always been something I enjoy reading or watching.

 

Carry on!

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You may have already read this, but "Where Love Has Gone", by Harold Robbins, is a thinly disguised version of the Lana Turner/Johnny Stompanato relationship, where Stompanato was ultimately murdered by Lanas' daughter.

 

Too bad Lana wasn't dating the producer of this film.  Maybe then it would have never been made!

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Thanks, Palmerin, James and FL!

 

Yes, how could I forget Johnny Stompanato. Just the name conjurs up an image of Lana and her gangster boyfriend on the beach. Yes, good choice.

 

And Jeffrey Dahmer did have some similarities to Hannibal. But they should have made a film about how Dahmer wanted to keep his zombies alive, after he injected them with some fluids so he could keep them as friends.

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Thanks, Palmerin, James and FL!

 

Yes, how could I forget Johnny Stompanato. Just the name conjurs up an image of Lana and her gangster boyfriend on the beach. Yes, good choice.

 

One of the best written of the "growing up in Hollywood" autobiographies was written by Lana Turner's daughter, Cheryl Crane's. Her book, "Detour" is not a"Mommie Dearest" tell all that would upset fans of Ms. Tuner. Neither is it a hagiography to be dismissed. It is quite balanced and detailed and Crane knows how to create vivid descriptions of her mother and the luxuriant lonliness of Cranes's childhood in the mansion home of herr movie goddess mother whom she worshiped as a child. The section about the Stompanato scandal and the aftermath are gripping.

 

The book is right up there with IMHO, the best of the genre, Ned Wynn's "We Will Always Live in Bevely Hills".

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