Tuesday, March 07, 2023

Books (Kat, Ava and C.I.)



Last week, Kat's "Robert Sellers wrote a book of garbage" went up and we're talking to her about the book HOLLYWOOD HELLRAISERS.  It focuses on four American actors:  Marlon Brando, Warren Beatty, Jack Nicholson and Dennis Hopper.  You didn't enjoy the book.


Kat: I did not.  The facts were loose when present at all.  There were so many awkwardly written sentences.

You quoted one: "She'd not long divorced from husband and former lead singer of the Mamas and the Papas John Phillips, by whom she had a daughter, Chynna, who would herself go on to become a pop star with Wilson Phillips."

Kat: When you write a sentence like that, "She'd not long divorced from husband and . . ." maybe you shouldn't try to write another book?  You should definitely refuse to ever work with the same editor again.
You wrote about how you enjoyed his first book, HELLRAISERS,  And didn't interpret his coverage of Elizabeth Taylor as sexism.

Kat: Right.  He's a Brit and I wrote off the hatred of Elizabeth is just that of a British man who's so upset the Richard Burton didn't perform repeatedly in the 60s and 70s on the London stage but instead sought a career as a film star.  But looking back, it's sexism.  There weren't women in the first book who had any real power.  They were wives that were cheated on basically.  Elizabeth was the only one with a career and, of course, more famous than any of the men in the book -- Richard Burton, Richard Harris, Peter O'Toole and Oliver Reed.  The author has a problem with women.
You also called out the author's homophobia. 

Kat: Right.  Marlon Brando is dead.  Why we can't we honest about his same-sex affairs?  The author notes a 70s remark by Brandon about sleeping with men and dismisses it as a possible joke.  As though Marlon didn't discuss it elsewhere or note it in his own autobiography.  As though Marlon's ex-wife didn't write about it when he was still alive.   But apparently reality is too 'icky' for the author. And then he went to town on Natalie Wood, calling her a "starf**ker" for her affair with Warren Beatty.  Warren wasn't really a star then, by the way.  In addition, he blames the affair for breaking up Natalie's marriage with Robert Wagner ignoring the reality that Natalie walked in on Robert Wagner with another man and that's what broke up the marriage and had her attempt suicide.  It's in Suzanne Finstad's book on Natalie Wood -- a book Sellers clearly read since he steals from it so frequently including for an anecdote about Warren using a straight pin to separate his eye lashes before filming on SPLENDOR IN THE GRASS.  But Suzanne speaks to multiple people who knew Natalie and talk about what she walked in on and how it destroyed her.

You do a good job of showing that Warren and Natalie were well done with SPLENDOR before her marriage broke up.  We'll just note that you could have also used Joan Collins as part of the record.  In addition to her public remarks, you can go through her autobiography PAST IMPERFECT and see that he was still with Joan well after SPLENDOR finished filming, through a movie she filmed in London and through his filming of THE ROMAN SPRING OF MRS. STONE.

Kat: He doesn't know what he's writing about -- he gets credits wrong repeatedly when introducing someone into one of the stories.  I liked HELLRAISER but he should have stopped there.  Going on to write HOLLYWOOD HELLRAISER was destroying his own reputation.  And to pick up on a thread that's emerging in the discussions this year, I'm not in the mood for people who hide sexuality.  Marlon was honest during his lifetime, I can't believe Sellers wants to lie.  As for Robert Wagner, do we have to wait until he's dead to note his same-sex affairs?  Who does their hiding help?  If Robert Wagner finally came out as bisexual, it might make people respect him a little -- or at least not think of him just as a murderer. 


Previous book discussions this year:

"Books (Marcia, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Ann, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Trina, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Marcia, Ava and C.I.)" and "Books (Ava and C.I.)."

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