This is my fourth post for the Summer Reading Classic Film Book Challenge 2016.

Gill Paul’s Hollywood Love Stories is an easy read. If you like Hollywood gossip and enjoy the bittersweet drama that is behind every(?) glamorous show business love story then this is your book. Short accounts of beloved couples’ lives and loves with lots of pictures. Some film history tidbits as well. This book definitely inspires to read more about these stars and their lives. However, I have one question to the author: Why, oh why, didn’t you include one of the most legendary Hollywood love affairs in the book ? Naturally, I’m referring to Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman. Their marriage lasted for 50 years and was by all accounts a happy one. Their love story is only mentioned in a footnote…

gill.jpg

This is my second post for the Summer Reading Classic Film Book Challenge 2016.

Åke Lindman (1928-2009) was a Swedo-Finnish actor, director and football player. He started his film career in Teuvo Tulio’s The Rapid’s of Hell (1949) as the evil Artturi Yli-Koskela. After that he was often cast as a villain in Finnish movies. His days as the regular movie villain were done when one evening in 1955 he was walking down the street he passed two teenage girls who were completely frightened and disgusted to see him and cried out “Ew, it’s Åke Lindman!” After that he didn’t take any villain roles 😀

In real life Lindman was a respected and well-liked man and pretty much a national treasure because of his contribution to Finnish film industry. Lindman’s memoir Åke ja hänen maailmansa (published in 1992) is an easy and fast read. Lindman recounts many meaningful and funny chapters in his life with humor and candor. You can almost hear his voice while reading. There are about thirty black and whites photos included in the book which I appreciate. A memoir without any pictures would be incomplete.

åke

Lindman worked in many Hollywood productions as a liaison. He looked for filming locations in Finland and arranged accommodation and permits and anything that was needed. He worked with Warren Beatty (Reds, 1981), Ken Russell, Michael Caine (Billion Dollar Brain, 1969) and John Huston (The Kremlin Letter, 1970). Lindman has nothing but nice things to say about these stars even though beforehand he was warned that Hollywood stars would be difficult  to work with. I never realized that Lindman was also cast in Jerry Lewis’ infamous film The Day the Clown Cried (which no one has seen to this day). Lindman found Lewis to be a very pleasant man but a fickle director.

Åke Lindman made films his whole life. His last film was released in 2007. He died two years after that. Since his memoir was published already in 1992 I might have to read a more recent biography Åke ja minä (2015).

 

See photos of Lindman here.


Trailer of The Rapid’s of Hell (Swedish version)

 

Hollywood Cats – Photographs from the John Kobal Foundation combines two of my favourite things: old films and cats. There’s a short introduction by Gareth Abbott but it is a photo-book (coffee table book) filled with black and white photographs of film stars and cats. There are photos of stars and their pets as well as movie stills with cat actors, mostly domestic cats but also some bigger cats. My all-time favourite cat on the big screen is DC from That Darn Cat! (1965). Naturally, a photo of Hayley Mills, Dean Jones and one of the cats who played DC is included in the book. James Mason, Kim Novak, Elizabeth Taylor and Vivien Leigh are just some of the famous cat lovers whose photos are also included. This book is a perfect gift to someone with an interest in films and cats. Actually, I got it as a Christmas gift and I loved it.

cats

I didn’t plan to read Sir Roger Moore’s memoir but the book happened to be at hand and I had some time so why not! The book is an easy read. Moore is a funny guy and he writes with humor. And he doesn’t forget self-irony. That sense of humor is actually the reason why he is my favourite James Bond even though aesthetically I prefer the 60’s Bond films. Moore brought comedy to the role.

Moore recounts his life and career and there are many interesting anecdotes. However, as a cat lover I didn’t appreciate the anecdote about the film North Sea Hijack. Apparently there are a lot of cats in the film and the cats were slightly sedated during filming so they would be easier to handle. James Mason, Moore’s co star and a cat lover as well didn’t appreciate that either 😛 The thing about reading film star biographies and memoirs is that you hardly ever have seen all the films that are mentioned in the book. While reading about unusual filming conditions and funny incidents on the set you wish you’d seen the film.

Besides his celebrated career in film and television Sir Roger Moore is also a humanitarian and works as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. It was good to read about Moore’s endeavours as a spokesman for underprivileged children.

moore

Rock Hudson His Story (Rock Hudsonin tarina) was published in 1986 about a year after the star’s death. Rock Hudson valued his privacy but just before his death he wanted to share his story with the world. Journalist and writer Sara Davidson was able to interview Rock himself among his closest friends and family. Hudson was the first celebrity to contract AIDS and die because of it. This is understandably an important theme in the book. In the 80s not much was known of AIDS, it was considered a death sentence and people were scared of transmission (mostly for no reason). Hudson was also one of the most celebrated film stars and actors who was also gay. All this doesn’t shock today’s reader at all but thirty years ago it was shocking news worldwide. I actually remember hearing about Rock Hudson’s death in the news when I was a little girl. I didn’t understand what the words gay or AIDS meant. I was only sad to hear that this gorgeous man who I’d already seen in films had died.

Davidson’s book is an easy read. Luckily Davidson was able to interview so many Hudson’s friends and colleagues. They all knew a different side of Hudson. And we readers get to see a glimpse of all those sides as well. Being an international film star, every girl’s dream and at the same time gay in Hollywood in the the 50s and 60s wasn’t easy. Although many in show business knew about Hudson’s secret, it never got out until the very end. As an actor Hudson was a professional and made many friends. One of his favourite co-stars was Doris Day and he considered their films together among the best in his career. I wish there had been more stories about Hudson’s films. For example his wonderful film Come September (with Gina Lollobrigida) is only briefly mentioned. I wish there had been some stories from the set. It would have also been interesting to know more about his films with Douglas Sirk. There are some photos attached in the book but there could always be more from family albums.

It is truly sad that Hudson had to live his life in the closet and suffer from a disease which today is not anymore a death sentence. I’m glad though I finally read this book. Hudson’s work has stood the test of time. Now I only wish I had Written on the WInd on dvd, I haven’t seen it in ages….

hudson

The Garner Files

19.01.2014

I’ve been reading James Garner’s memoars The Garner Files. A fascinating read! Garner tells in very straightforward style about his childhood, teenage years and troubled relationship with his stepmother. And about the Korean War. And Jack Warner who apparently wasn’t the easiest man to get along with. All that Hollywood history is intriguing, I can’t read enough… The only thing that the book lacks is photos. A few well selected pictures from family photo albums and behind the scenes pictures from movie sets would have improved this book. I am a bit hesitant to continue reading, I’ll finish it in no time and then what? Maybe a Rockford Files -marathon? It’s all about James Garner these days.

The Garner Files - large print edition

The Garner Files – large print edition

I can’t praise James Garner enough! He is an awesome actor and I remembered just how awesome when I watched again The Americanization of Emily (1964). Wonderful movie, wonderful star(s)! An American naval officer Charlie Madison (James Garner) is a self-proclaimed coward. He intends to navigate through World War 2 without actually seeing any combat. Unfortunately, his commander has this persistent idea that on D-day (Normandy landing) the first dead man on Omaha beach must be a sailor…  Charlie has no intention to be that particular sailor, for he has found true love in the form of a spirited and beautiful English woman called Emily (Julie Andrews). There is a real lesson to be learned in this film. And that lesson is that there is no honor in war. War is awful, despicable and just sad and no one should glorify it. James Garner is excellent as Charlie. He is dashing and charismatic. And for Charlie, well he is no coward, just sensible and realistic in his approach to the idea of war.

I first noticed James Garner in The Great Escape but that film was all about Steve McQueen for me. The Americanization of Emily is truly James Garner’s show. I also loved Garner’s more recent role on television in 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter. He played grandpa Jim Egan and was totally charming and funny. At the age 75+ he hadn’t lost his charisma one bit. ❤