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…

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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.

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Sean Hepburn Ferrer has written a beautiful memoir about his mother Audrey Hepburn. It is not a regular Hollywood biography mainly because Audrey Hepburn and her family didn’t live a “Hollywood life”. Instead Sean writes about a kind and humble woman who loved her family more than anything and who after her successful film career devoted her time to charity work as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF. The book is full of photos from family albums and also publicity shots and film stills. Sean Hepburn Ferrer doesn’t go into detail about his mother’s film career. We all know the highlights so well and there are probably several biographies that mainly deal with Hepburn’s films. What SHF has accomplished here is a tribute to a beloved mother and best friend, not a film star. It is a joy to read and anyone who has ever enjoyed watching Audrey Hepburn films will surely enjoy this book as well! I haven’t seen all Audrey Hepburn’s films, I’ve never stumbled across her early films. Also Green Mansions is still on my must watch list.

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Sweet As Can Be

01.08.2013

One of my favourite Finnish film stars is Tarja Nurmi. Actually, she was a model and a beauty queen, Miss Finland two years in a row (1959-60). She made a few films in the early sixties but never truly pursued a career in cinema. She left the show business to work in retail as a buyer for Kestilän Pukimo (clothing store). After she got married she became a housewife. Her characters in those few films were so sweet and/or innocent that sometimes, dare I say it,  she reminds me a little bit of my beloved Doris. I like her even though in an interview in 1969 Ms. Nurmi was quoted saying “Man is the crown of creation” in reference to whether women should stay at home or to pursue a career… Oh well, those were the times. I wish she had stayed in show business, she could have been a true star of the silver screen. Below is an article about Ms. Nurmi. Unfortunately, I have completely lost the source where I got it, it might be Elokuva-Aitta magazine circa 1964.

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Challenge #12: Who is your favourite actor and why?

One of my favourite actresses of all time is Jane Fonda who initially didn’t intend to follow her famous father’s footsteps into show business. Luckily she did because Ms. Fonda is one of the most original and versatile actresses in film history. She can do comedy and drama and excel in both. Any Wednesday (1966), the most annoying play ever turned in to a film, is worth watching thanks to Ms. Fonda. Most of her films are of better quality than AW, thank goodness!  Ms. Fonda and Robert Redford both shine in Barefoot in the Park (1967) which is a film adaptation of Neil Simon’s comedy. They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (1969) and Klute (1971) proved once and for all that Ms. Fonda can also do dramatic roles.

Ms. Fonda isn’t just a wonderful actress. She is a feminist icon who isn’t afraid to speak her mind and take a stand. Her autobiography, My Life So Far, is probably the most insightful and inspiring ever written.

There have been several glorious female movie stars in the history of Finnish cinema but no one can hold a candle to Lea Joutseno (1910-1977). She appeared in fifteen films only but made her mark in film history. She starred in three film adaptations of Hilja Valtonen’s novels. The protagonists in these films are sassy, witty, independent and funny. A proper feminist idol I would say! Ms. Joutseno also worked on film scripts with her trusted director Valentin Vaala.

  

A couple of Lea Joutseno’s films are available on region 2 dvd. Unfortunately, Finnkino hasn’t invested in the releases at all. There are no subtitles, no remastering, no extras etc. At the very least there should be English subtitles so film lovers outside Finland could enjoy the talent of Ms. Joutseno.

The cover of Dynamiittityttö (Dynamite Girl) (1944)