Tuesday, March 07, 2023

Kat's reviews Robert Sellers' HOLLYWOOD HELLRAISERS.

Kat's reviews Robert Sellers' HOLLYWOOD HELLRAISERS.


Robert Sellers wrote a book of garbage

HELLRAISERS was a good book about Peter O'Toole, Oliver Reed and the Richards (Burton and Harris).  It zipped along nicely and was well written.  If Sellers had left it alone . . .

Instead, he wrote HOLLYWOOD HELLRAISERS and it's an awful book.

I got it on AMAZON KINDLE for $1.99 -- and feel like they owe me ten times that amount for having to read it.

It's too cutesy for words at times.  At other times, it's outright misogynist with terms like "crumpets" and attacks on women.

Natalie Wood, for example, gets attacked in the book.  

She and Warren Beatty were a couple.  I'll come back to that.

And possibly worst of all, it's badly written.

One example:


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.

That's a really poorly written sentence: "She'd not long divorced from husband and former" -- she'd not long divorced?  

It's a very badly written sentence in terms of grammar.  

It's also bad factually.  Michelle Phillips was married to John Phllips.  John was not the lead singer of the Mamas and the Papas.  It was a group with four singers and John was the lowest of them all.  If someone called Cass Elliot the lead singer, that would be wrong but it understandable.  She was the public face and had the most powerful voice.  Denny?  Okay, he sang lead on songs like the Mamas and the Papas.  If you wanted to call Michelle a lead?  I wouldn't have a problem with that.  She had leads on "Dedicated To The One I Love" among others.  And, reality, Cass isn't Cass without Michelle.  It was the blend of their voices -- those two voices -- on songs like "Safe In My Garden," "Got A Feeling," etc  that really made the magic.  

But John?

John didn't do a lead vocal on any song.  He was never a soloist because even he knew he didn't have the chops.  That why his solo album bombed.

It wasn't badly written -- it has some of the best songs John ever wrote.  And the players on the music?  Outstanding.  But John not a singer.  His voice isn't distinctive -- not enough to be a soloist.

So let's get to the problem with the book: Homophobia on the part of the author.

You want to write about Marlon Brando?

His sex life with men is not four quick sentences -- especially not four quick sentences where you try to make a remark he made about sleeping with men a joke on his part.  Marlon was bisexual and didn't just make a comment in the seventies, he noted it in his autobiography.   And his ex-wife wrote about it.  It wasn't one man, it was many.  

Sellers is a sexist and a homophobe.  In his previous book he went to town on Elizabeth Taylor.  In that book, I took his hatred of Elizabeth as anti-American.  She had a dual citizenship (British and American citizenship) and, as the book made clear, he was deeply British.  This books makes it clear that he's a sexist.  (See sections on Michelle Phillips who was involved with three of the subjects of his book -- Warren, Jack and Dennis.) And it entwines with his homophobia.

Natalie Wood, he insists, was a "starf**ker" and that's why she went after Warren Beatty.

A woman went after Warren Beatty?  Really?  Because his entire reputation -- especially in the 60s and 70s -- was built around him being the pursuer.

But, according to his book, Natalie went after Warren and did so while married to Robert Wagner.

No, no, no.  Their marriage was over.  Natalie and Warren didn't begin an affair while filming SPLENDOR IN THE GRASS.  Warren was still with Joan Collins.

Joan and Warren were still together after the film was completed.  Natalie and Robert were still together.  She would go on to start WEST SIDE STORY (August of 1960).  She would finish the film (February 1961).  She would have her tonsils removed (April 1961).  Robert started filming SAIL A CROOKED SHIP (May 1961).  They were still together.  Then in June of 1961, the film is completed and Natalie and Robert break up.

Not because of Natalie sleeping with a man.

Because Natalie walked in on Robert Wagner having sex with a man.  

This is detailed in Suzanne Finstad's book on Natalie Wood -- with numerous people detailing how it drove Natalie to attempt suicide.  

They broke up because someone had sex with a man -- but it wasn't Natalie.

And Robert Sellers has read Suzanne's book -- there are quotes from it in HOLLYWOOD HELLRAISERS  -- especially the story about Warren separating each one of his lashes on the set of SPLENDOR to look better for the camera -- and director Eli Kazan's comment about Warren's vanity.

Robert Wagner cheated on Natalie with a man.  That's reality and that's what ended the marriage.  Only after that did Natalie take up with Warren.  

But, sure, call her a "starf**ker" if that's how you roll because you're a sexist and a homophobe.  

I don't have time in the 21st century for little piss ant writers who can't deal with a world that includes LGBTQ+ people.  If you're writing a book about what happened, write about what happened.

 Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"



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