Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


CLARK GABLE Tormented Star. David Bret. Carroll and Graf; 2007.

It shouldn't be any secret today that many of Hollywood's most famous stars were privately homosexual, and while this may bother some people, a biographer has the right and obligation to be honest about his subject's sexuality. It's the 21st century, after all, and homophobic reactions are dated, to say the least. But there is a big difference between books like Andre Soare's bio of Ramon Navarro and James Robert Parish's tome on Katharine Hepburn and books like this one. Clark Gable may well have been bisexual (as Bret claims) or even a Don Juan homosexual with one sham marriage after another, but as this bio has no source notes or interviews with those in the know, it won't convince anybody of anything. According to Bret virtually everyone in Hollywood is bisexual. While this should be a juicy read, its rag tag collection of unsubstantiated gossip eventually becomes annoying and even tedious. A good book may yet be written about Gable and Hollywood hypocrisy over homosexuality, but this isn't it. There are some good passages, but the whole project has a sensational-at-any-cost feel and is a far cry from serious journalism. Too bad.

Verdict: Don't bother. *1/2.

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