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

Friday, January 30, 2009


FRED MACMURRAY: A BIOGRAPHY. Charles Tranberg. 2007. Bear Manor Media.

The under-rated MacMurray at last gets the major bio treatment in this fine work by Charles Tranberg. Although MacMurray, whose life and career avoided scandal and the sensational for the most part, might stymie most biographers, Tranberg has managed to come up with an interesting book that goes behind the scenes of MacMurray's many movies, such as Double Indemnity, and his long-running TV series My Three Sons. (The show was filmed out of sequence, with MacMurray coming in only for a few days to shoot his sequences with the rest of the cast.) MacMurray had his flaws -- he refused to hire director Mitchell Leisen for My Three Sons because he didn't want the homosexual director around young boys (the old gay man as molester stereotype) but at least this happened way back in the sixties. The book is filled with many friends and co-workers' impressions of the actor. MacMurray himself might have been a bit on the dull side, but this book about him is not.

Verdict: Good show. ***.

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