The Golden Girls of MGM

The Golden Girls of MGM

Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Lana Turner, Judy Garland, Ava Gardner, Grace Kelly, and Others

Book - 2003
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Baker & Taylor
Looks at the lives and careers of such MGM stars as Ava Gardner, Judy Garland, Joan Crawford, and Greta Garbo.

Perseus Publishing
Garbo and Crawford. Ava, Hedy, Judy, Liz epitomized Hollywood's golden era. With a trembling lip or sultry eye, with a tear or song or husky whisper, these women held moviegoers across America in their sway from the hard times of the 1930s through the booming postwar years to the early sixties. They were royalty and box office, and led pampered public lives?furs, jewels, designer gowns; limousines, flash bulbs, handsome escorts?that captured the national imagination. They also signed seven-year contracts with a morals clause, and the more they slipped, the more the secret abortions, efficient cover-ups, legal legerdemain, and dropped charges bound them to the wizard in their Oz, Louis B. Mayer. The slips are here along with the successes. Here, too, are the Blonde Bombshell Jean Harlow, Million-Dollar Mermaid Esther Williams, Sweater Girl Lana Turner, and bad girl Ava Gardner ("She can't act. She can't talk. She's terrific," declared Mayer after her screen test). From Jeanette MacDonald and Norma Shearer to Princess Grace and Dame Elizabeth Taylor, the sixteen portraits in this lively, photograph-filled volume, each accompanied by the star's filmography, tell the tales that have long lay hidden behind the gossip and the glories of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's glamorous golden girls.

Publisher: New York : Carroll & Graf, 2003
Edition: First Carroll & Graf edition
ISBN: 9780786711178
Branch Call Number: 791.43 Wayne 2003
Characteristics: xvii, 412 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm


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Mar 06, 2017

Loved this book and it's all juicy details of these fabulous actresses. Since full length biographies can often be too long in my opinion, these vignettes are just the perfect length.

Jun 17, 2016

I've had a fascination with Hollywood, especially the Golden Age, since I was a kid. Always looking to watch interesting documentaries/biographies and read books on that period. Love MGM and the amazing performers of that time and am always on the hunt to learn something new about them.

This book centered on the women of MGM. Seemed promising, but ended up being quite disappointing. Definitely a book you rent from a library as opposed to paying.

Much of the dialogue and stories Wayne proposes are highly questionable (and in my opinion, not very believable). You're better off reading this then going onto Wikipedia or Turner Classic Films, which I did after reading each chapter on a star, and watching documentaries/biographies.

One thing that caught my eye was the amount of mistakes (Jean Harlow was not in Grand Hotel, for instance), spelling errors, and sentences failing to include periods or commas. It looked very sloppy and it's annoying because those mistakes were so easy to fix. The price sticker on my copy was $38.95. I wouldn't pay that for such lazy writing and editing. In addition, each vignette follows the exact same formula. It's really lame.

Each chapter breaks down a star. You get the classics, from Joan Crawford, Norma Shearer, Judy Garland, Greta Garbo, Grace Kelly, Lana Turner, Ava Gardner, just to name a few. Then there's a second section that briefly covers celebrities whom the author finds less interesting/scandalous. It was a waste of time. Why bother? It felt like she just wanted to cram as many big names in there as possible. It was pointless.

If you're looking for an easy-to-read book to pass the time or you (like me) love Hollywood and the Golden Era, then I'd still give it a read (as long as you don't pay for it). I did learn a couple things I hadn't known before and at least it had me watching some more documentaries and biographies, so it did its job. I would still take a lot of the information/stories presented with a grain of salt (tho they are very amusing, I must admit) and seek out other books and sources.


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