Five for Hollywood

Five for Hollywood

Book - 1989
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This portrait of the Hollywood film industry in the 1950s concentrates on five major stars of the time - Elizabeth Taylor, Natalie Wood, Montgomery Clift, Rock Hudson and James Dean and draws on extensive interviews and unpublished material.
Publisher: London : Macmillan, 1989.
ISBN: 9780333480519
Branch Call Number: 791 .43 028 0922 Par
Characteristics: xiii, 297 p. : ill., ports.


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Jul 03, 2014

Generally speaking I like gossipy books about Old Hollywood and the great stars of the era. The stars profiled here--Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, Natalie Wood, Montgomery Clift and James Dean--are all iconic memories now. Only Taylor was alive and still working at the time of publication. Author John Parker explores the ways in which the professional and personal lives of these actors interconnected.
This book was published in 1989, several years after Hudson's death from AIDS and the subsequent revelations about his homosexuality, a closely guarded secret for most if not all of his lifetime. Accordingly, I give Parker points for his frank acknowledgement of the true and complicated personal lives of his subjects. What I dislike about his book however is its homophobic tone. Reading the passages about Hudson, Clift and Dean particularly, I found myself wishing "Five For Hollywood" had been written by someone less condescending and more knowledgeable and enlightened about the complexities of human sexuality. Read the book, but then read Vito Russo's "The Celluloid Closet" or perhaps Roger Ebert's 2005 review of "Brokeback Mountain" to see what I mean.

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