|Hollywoodland||May 11 2018|
|Vintage Pulp||Sep 4 2012|
Above, a superb two-panel poster for Gone with the Wind with a great image of Vivien Leigh as the conniving Scarlett O’Hara. This film occupies a curious space in American culture, and a contentious one. Some people think it is an accurate portrayal of a genteel and elegant antebellum south in which slaves lived in more-or-less happy symbiosis with mostly kind masters; others think it’s a whitewash that glosses over the injustice, mass rape, and institutional savagery of a centuries-running crime against Africa.
Since the movie isn’t really about slavery, it probably shouldn’t be judged on its depiction of that terrible institution any more than Around the World in 80 Days should be judged on its depiction of ballooning. However, a swath of the American public does believe the film is broadly accurate, and it’s interesting how stubborn their notions are even after the appearance of more carefully researched depictions such as Stephen Spielberg’s Amistad and the ’70s miniseries Roots. While a tiny subset of house slaves might have led lives like those depicted in Gone with the Wind, hard evidence and serious scholarship have proven that the vast majority—inside and outside the house—endured horrific lives.
So that's where we stand, and really, reasonable people who've bothered to read a book or three on the subject stand there too. Speaking of accurate depictions of slavery, you might try this underrated flick we talked about a few years ago. You can also check out some cool Gone with the Wind images here. The movie premiered in the U.S. in 1939 but did not play in Japan until years later—in fact, today, 1952.
|Hollywoodland | Sex Files||Feb 17 2012|
Every year, a raft of Hollywood tell-alls hits the newsstands, all claiming to be filled with juicy revelations, with only a scant few actually delivering on that promise. Scotty Bowers' newly published Tinseltown memoir Full Service falls into the latter group. We think it's destined to be one of the most remembered show business memoirs ever written.
Bowers was a World War II vet-turned-bartender who arrived in Hollywood in 1946 and quickly found that his striking looks opened doors for him. Those doors allegedly led to the bedrooms of such varied personages as Edith Piaf, Spencer Tracy, Cary Grant, Vivien Leigh, and the Duke of Windsor.
Bowers soon became known on the Hollywood fast track as a guy who could arrange trysts for stars too cautious or too shy to manage it themselves, and located sexual partners for Vincent Price, Katherine Hepburn, Rock Hudson and scores of others. Some of his claims are just jawdropping. Among them: he says he procured about 150 women for Katherine Hepburn, had threesomes with Cary Grant and Randolph Scott, and learned Spencer Tracy was bi-sexual only when, in a drunken stupor, the star "began nibbling on my foreskin."
There's always a degree of scepticism aroused by books like these, but Full Service dovetails with rumors that have been floating around Hollywood for decades, and has been endorsed by Gore Vidal, who claims to have been privvy to much of what Bowers describes and has called the book "as revelation filled as Hollywood Babylon." Predictably, the relatives of some of the stars mentioned in the book are not happy with its content, but Bowers steers clear of any true libel and probably can't be sued. As to why it took him so long to reveal his many secrets, he said in an interview with the New York Times, "I'm not getting any younger and all my famous tricks are dead by now. The truth can't hurt them anymore."
|Intl. Notebook||May 6 2011|
We found this old issue of the Japanese film magazine Screen that is totally dedicated to the American movie epic Gone with the Wind. It dates from May 1969, thirty years after the film was made, and our first assumption was that the movie didn’t play in Japan until then. But no, it premiered in the Land of the Rising Sun in September 1952. We were baffled for a while, and then we made a discovery—a musical version of Gone with the Wind entitled Scarlett opened in Japan in 1969. It was fully eight hours long, divided into two parts that were mounted as separate productions, and they were smash hits. We suspect this issue of Screen was produced because the musical generated great interest in the original film. We’ve already talked a bit about Gone with the Wind. We never liked it because it depicts a culture that was completely depraved as some sort of glorious nirvana. And because of its enduring popularity, many Americans’ concept of the antebellum south derives from what is little more than a fairytale. But that aside, the movie is undeniably well made, and we thought it worthwhile to share at least a few of Screen's photos. We’ll have more from this magazine later.