Welcome to the series Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.
If you would like to know how it works here is the original post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/
I am delighted to another post from the blogs of Olga Nunez Miret, author and translator who I can highly recommend. Olga is well known for her in depth book reviews, that I am happy to say I have received for my books over the years.. here is her review for a book by Nigel Blundell.
FALLEN IDOLS: A CENTURY OF SCREEN SEX SCANDALS (IMAGES OF THE PAST) by Nigel Blundell
I bring you another one of Pen & Sword’s books, one for those of you who love movies and photographs of the Hollywood of the Big Studios and its tarnished stars.
Book available Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Fallen-Idols-Century-Screen-Scandals/dp/1526742144/
It’s a scandal! How often we use that phrase and what a catalogue of sins it covers. That’s what this book is all about. It is literally a catalogue of sins – committed by some of the most celebrated names on the planet.
Within these covers are startling stories of scandals during a century when screen idols seemed to vie with each other in outraging public decency. It was an age when fan fever was at its height and an endless supply of shocking revelations emerged to fuel the frenzy.
Because of the perpetrators’ superstar status, the shame of exposure was often heightened, not only wrecking reputations but often harming careers and, at least, ensuring very public humiliation.
The lessons learned from these cases of celebrity scandal (though often, it seems, not by the celebrities themselves) is that the bigger the star, the harder the fall … and that deceit and intrigue so often turn hard-won fame into instant infamy.
About Nigel Blundell
Nigel Blundell is a journalist who has worked in Australia, the United States and Britain. He spent 25 years in Fleet Street before becoming an author and contributor to national newspapers. He has written more than 40 books, including best-sellers on crime and royalty. He co-wrote the Top Ten exposé Fall of the House of Windsor, which first revealed the so-called ‘Squidgygate’ tape and the infidelity of both Princess Diana and Prince Charles. His other factual subjects have included military history, celebrity scandals, and ghosts and the paranormal.
Thanks to Rosie and the whole team at Pen & Sword for providing me a paperback copy of this book that I freely chose to review.
A while back I read and reviewed a book in the same series ‘Images of the Past’, called The British Seaside, and I enjoyed the combination of the wonderful images and the informative and humorous text, fairly light on reading but high on entertainment value. In this case, the same is true, even with the serious subject and the unavoidable reflections on how times don’t seem to have changed so much, although now we get to hear about many of the details that in the past would have remained hidden from the general public.
I’ve always been fascinated by the history of cinema, and Hollywood, from its beginnings to now, although times have changed somewhat, and tinsel town is not what used to be (if it ever was). I have watched documentaries and read magazines about the industry, particularly about the era of the big studios, when everything seemed more glamourous and shiny than our everyday lives.
This book looks, mostly at past scandals, from the early history of Hollywood to some more recent ones, but does not include the XXI century, and although some of us, who grew up watching reruns of classics, will remember many of these stars (and some have become icons, like James Dean or Marilyn Monroe), to the youngest generation most of them will sound like ancient history. Only Roman Polanski, Woody Allen, and the TV preachers are still alive, and although their controversy remains alive, it seems to have been dwarfed by most recent scandals.
This is not an in-depth study of any of the cases, but rather a quick survey with a few details of the biographies and circumstances of some of the stars, whose lives became as well-known and exposed to the public attention as that of their characters. Despite that, although I thought I was familiar with the majority of the actors and actresses the book talks about, I discovered I didn’t know many of the details, perhaps because they were not discussed at the time or have been revealed later, and many of the pictures were totally new to me (and I thoroughly enjoyed them, especially those showing the stars when they were young). I am sure, though, that experts or true fans of these actors and actresses will not learn anything new, but I enjoyed the combination of text and pictures (and I particularly relished the introduction, which offers interesting insights into the effects of some of these scandals, like the Hays Code, that went beyond the content of the movies and affected the personal lives of the stars as well), that makes it ideal as a present for people of a certain age who enjoy celebrity magazines of the time, and also for the younger generation who might not have been exposed to these stories and the old-fashioned notion of celebrity and stardom.
It is impossible to read this book without comparing many of these scandals to some of the recent ones. The big studios spent a lot of money on lawyers, on keeping the press at bay, and of course, power has always talked. Thankfully, some of the things that were considered normal practice at the time have now become unacceptable and are the subject of legal procedures.
To give you a better idea of the content, there are fourteen chapters, each focused on one of these stars: Charlie Chaplin, Fatty Arbuckle, Jean Harlow, Errol Flynn, Grace Kelly, Lana Turner, Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield, Elvis Presley, Roman Polanski, Joan Crawford, Rock Hudson, Jim Bakker & Jimmy Swaggart, and Woody Allen.
I thought I’d share a couple of the quotes I’ve highlighted, so you get some idea of what to expect. Here, referring to James Dean:
“The star of East of Eden and Rebel without a Cause was bisexual and had affairs with actresses Pier Angeli and Ursula Andrews but when asked if he was gay his reply was: “Well, I’m certainly not going to go through life with one hand tied behind my back!” (Blundell, 2018, p. 8).
In the chapter about the TV preachers Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart (a fascinating phenomenon that seems pretty unique to the USA), it explains that Swaggart confessed and apologised to his congregation and the viewers of his TV channel the first time he was caught with a prostitute. But the second time, he truly spoke his mind:
“This time, rather confessing to his congregation, Swaggart brazened it out with the rebuff: ‘The Lord told me it’s flat none of your business’ (Blundell, 2018, 143).
In sum, this is a fun book for people who love anecdotes and to peep into the lives of the Hollywood famous, especially those from the era of the Hollywood big studios. If you want a brazen and amusing book, with its dark moments and plenty of pictures to get the conversation going, or are looking for a present for somebody who loves movie memorabilia, I recommend it.
Blundell, N. (2018). Images of the Past. Fallen Idols. A Century of Screen Sex Scandals. Barnsley, UK: Pen & Sword.
Thanks to Rosie, Pen & Sword, to all of you for reading, and remember to like, share, comment, click, review, and keep smiling!
©Olga Nunez MIret 2019
My thanks to Olga for permitting me to share posts from her archives and the last post next week.
A selection of books in Spanish or English by Olga Nunez Miret
One of the recent reviews for Deadly Quotes
This is Book 3 in the captivating Mary Miller series where Mary gets involved with fellow doctor and pathologist Leah Deakin to solve the mysterious new serial killings case of Deadly Quotes.The author Nunez-Miret uses her expert knowledge as a real life psychiatrist to bring to life in her investigative characters and pulls it off perfectly – like watching a real-life crime drama.
We are engrossed in this tale of murder where the suspect is already in jail. This is an intriguing start to the story which progresses with the discoveries of some new dead bodies and only quotes left behind on the corpses’ computers, taken from a book written by a serial killer still in jail. The investigation keeps us glued to wanting to know the facts as much as the investigators do and keeps us wondering if the killer in jail is responsible for these killings or could it possibly be a copycat killer.
I’m not about to give out spoilers here, but if you love a good mystery with well written investigative story, you will love this book as well as the others in this series. These Mary Miller mysteries are all standalone reads, so don’t feel like you have to have read the others, although well worth the reads, to keep up with the mysteries.
Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/author/olganm
And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Olga-Núñez-Miret/e/B009UC58G0
Read more reviews and follow Olga on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6562510.Olga_N_ez_Miret
Audio books – http://authortranslatorolga.com/my-audiobooks/
About Olga Nunez Miret
Olga Núñez Miret is a doctor, a psychiatrist, a student (of American Literature, with a Doctorate and all to prove the point, of Criminology, and of books and people in general), she writes, translates (English-Spanish and vice-versa) and although born in Barcelona, Spain, has lived in the UK for many years. She’s always loved books and is thrilled at the prospect of helping good stories reach more readers all around the world. She publishes a bilingual blog (http://www.authortranslatorolga.com ) where she shares book reviews, advice, talks about books (hers and others) and about things she discovers and enjoys.
Olga has translated her own books into Spanish of course and she has also translated some excellent Spanish books into English and you can find out more here. http://www.authortranslatorolga.com/translationstraducciones/
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Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will head over and enjoy other posts in Olga’s archives. Thanks Sally