Frank Capra called her, "The greatest emotional actress the screen has yet known." Yet she was one of its most natural, timeless, and underrated stars. Now Victoria Wilson, gives us the most complete portrait we have yet had, or will have, of this magnificent actresses, seen as the quintessential Brooklyn girl whose family was in fact of old New England stock…her years in New York as dancer and Broadway star…her fraught marriage to Frank Fay, Broadway genius, who influenced a generation of actors and comedians (among them, Jack Benny and Stanwyck herself)…the adoption of a son, embattled from the outset; her partnership with the "unfunny" Marx brother, Zeppo, together creating one of the finest horse breeding farms in the west; her fairytale romance and marriage to the younger Robert Taylor, America's most sought-after male star…Here is the shaping of her career working with many of Hollywood's most important directors: among them, Capra, King Vidor, Cecil B. Demille, Preston Sturges, all set against the times-the Depression, the rise of the unions, the coming of World War II and a fast-evolving coming-of-age motion picture industry. At the heart of the book, Stanwyck herself-her strengths, her fears, her desires-how she made use of the darkness in her soul, keeping it at bay in her private life, transforming herself from shunned outsider into one of Hollywood's-and America's-most revered screen actresses. Written with full access to Stanwyck's family, friends, colleagues, and never-before-seen letters, journals and photographs.
Barbara Stanwyck (1907-1990) rose from the ranks of chorus girl to become one of Hollywood’s most talented leading women-and America’s highest paid woman in the mid-1940s. Shuttled among foster homes as a child, she took a number of low-wage jobs while she determinedly made the connections that landed her in successful Broadway productions. Stanwyck then acted in a stream of high-quality films from the 1930s through the 1950s. Directors such as Cecil B. DeMille, Fritz Lang, and Frank Capra treasured her particular magic. A four-time Academy Award nominee, winner of three Emmys and a Golden Globe, she was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Academy. Dan Callahan considers both Stanwyck’s life and her art, exploring her seminal collaborations with Capra in such great films as Ladies of Leisure, The Miracle Woman, and The Bitter Tea of General Yen; her Pre-Code movies Night Nurse and Baby Face; and her classic roles in Stella Dallas, Remember the Night, The Lady Eve, and Double Indemnity. After making more than eighty films in Hollywood, she revived her career by turning to television, where her role in the 1960s series The Big Valley renewed her immense popularity. Callahan examines Stanwyck’s career in relation to the directors she worked with and the genres she worked in, leading up to her late-career triumphs in two films directed by Douglas Sirk, All I Desire and There’s Always Tomorrow, and two outrageous westerns, The Furies and Forty Guns. The book positions Stanwyck where she belongs-at the very top of her profession-and offers a close, sympathetic reading of her performances in all their range and complexity.
The American Frontier in Film, Television, and History
Author: Peter C. Rollins
Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
Category: Performing Arts
American historians such as Frederick Jackson Turner have argued that the West has been the region that most clearly defines American democracy and the national ethos. Throughout the twentieth century, the "frontier thesis" influenced film and television producers who used the West as a backdrop for an array of dramatic explorations of America's history and the evolution of its culture and values. The common themes found in Westerns distinguish the genre as a quintessentially American form of dramatic art. In Hollywood's West, Peter C. Rollins, John E. O'Connor, and the nation's leading film scholars analyze popular conceptions of the frontier as a fundamental element of American history and culture. This volume examines classic Western films and programs that span nearly a century, from Cimarron (1931) to Turner Network Television's recent made-for-TV movies. Many of the films discussed here are considered among the greatest cinematic landmarks of all time. The essays highlight the ways in which Westerns have both shaped and reflected the dominant social and political concerns of their respective eras. While Cimarron challenged audiences with an innovative, complex narrative, other Westerns of the early sound era such as The Great Meadow (1931) frequently presented nostalgic visions of a simpler frontier era as a temporary diversion from the hardships of the Great Depression. Westerns of the 1950s reveal the profound uncertainty cast by the cold war, whereas later Westerns display heightened violence and cynicism, products of a society marred by wars, assassinations, riots, and political scandals. The volume concludes with a comprehensive filmography and an informative bibliography of scholarly writings on the Western genre. This collection will prove useful to film scholars, historians, and both devoted and casual fans of the Western genre. Hollywood's West makes a significant contribution to the understanding of both the historic American frontier and its innumerable popular representations.
With a widowed mother and six siblings, Annie Oakley first became a trapper, hunter, and sharpshooter simply to put food on the table. Yet her genius with the gun eventually led to her stardom in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show during the latter half of the nineteenth century. The archetypal western woman, Annie Oakley urged women to take up shooting to procure food, protect themselves, and enjoy healthy exercise, yet she was also the proper Victorian lady, demurely dressed and skeptical about the value of women’s suffrage. Glenda Riley presents the first interpretive biography of the complex woman who was Annie Oakley.
A compelling portrait of one of Hollywood’s most invincible women, the late Barbara Stanwyck. A most unusual movie star, Stanwyck was an actress of considerable and neglected talent who elevated every role she had, a woman whose personal life matched the rocky road of her career. Whispered to be among Hollywood’s scandalous “sewing circle,” a group of internationally famous actresses who hid their potentially career-ending lesbianism and bisexuality, Stanwyck kept her liaisons a secret. Despite her steely resolve and her image as a take-control kind of woman, Stanwyck suffered from turbulent marriages and relationships, including her sensational marriage to, and divorce from, the abusive Robert Taylor. Madsen provides a fresh look at this fascinating, complex screen goddess, offering provocative and shocking details from one of Hollywood’s most interesting lives.
Written with erudition, insight, and enthusiasm, Runaway Bride is a brilliant mix of film and social history that renews our vision and broadens our understanding of some of the best-loved movies ever made, and the complex, Depression-influenced circumstances from which they were born.
Barbara Stanwyck swore like a sailor, chain smoked and was an alcoholic. And yet, she was one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, indeed, number eleven on the American Film Institute’s 100 Years of Greatest Screen Legends, and appeared in classic films such as Double Indemnity and Meet John Doe.In this fascinating biography, we follow the orphan who, by sheer determination, became a dancer in Hollywood and began her rise to the top. She auditioned for Frank Capra who called her a ‘porcupine’ and had an affair with her but after, made her a star.Barbara’s first marriage was to comic Frank Fay, they adopted a son whom she later abandoned in the most extraordinary way. Her second husband was Robert Taylor, to whom she vowed revenge after their break-up for his affairs with Lana Turner and Ava Gardner. Until the day she died, she collected 15 per cent of his substantial earnings. Yet on her own deathbed, she swore he was by her bedside waiting for her.Full of tragedy, ambition, success and jealousy, Hollywood stars and stories that include new revelations of affairs with both leading actors and actresses, as well as details of her films, this is a must for Barbara fans and film fans alike. Jane Ellen Wayne, who was employed by The National Broadcasting Company for fifteen years, is the author of numerous biographies of Hollywood stars that include Robert Taylor, Lana Turner, Clark Gable, Ava Gardner, Grace Kelly, Joan Crawford and Marilyn Monroe. Her most recent are The Golden Girls of MGM and The Golden Guys of MGM. She is listed in Who's Who of Women in the World and Contemporary Authors. Ms. Wayne resides in New York City.
The nation didn't know it, but 1960 would change American film forever, and the revolution would occur nowhere near a Hollywood set. With the opening of the New Yorker Theater, a cinema located at the heart of Manhattan's Upper West Side, cutting-edge films from around the world were screened for an eager audience, including the city's most influential producers, directors, critics, and writers. Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, Susan Sontag, Andrew Sarris, and Pauline Kael, among many others, would make the New Yorker their home, trusting in the owners' impeccable taste and incorporating much of what they viewed into their work. In this irresistible memoir, Toby Talbot, co-owner and proud "matron" of the New Yorker Theater, reveals the story behind Manhattan's wild and wonderful affair with art-house film. With her husband Dan, Talbot showcased a range of eclectic films, introducing French New Wave and New German cinema, along with other groundbreaking genres and styles. As Vietnam protests and the struggle for civil rights raged outside, the Talbots also took the lead in distributing political films, such as Bernard Bertolucci's Before the Revolution, and documentaries, such as Shoah and Point of Order. Talbot enhances her stories with selections from the New Yorker's essential archives, including program notes by Jack Kerouac, Jules Feiffer, Peter Bogdanovich, Jonas Mekas, Jack Gelber, and Harold Humes. These artifacts testify to the deeply engaged and collaborative spirit behind each showing, and they illuminate the myriad and often entertaining aspects of theater operation. All in all, Talbot's tales capture the highs and lows of a thrilling era in filmmaking.