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

Thursday, February 16, 2012

STANWYCK Jane Ellen Wayne

STANWYCK, Jane Ellen Wayne. Arbor House; 1985.

This biography takes a positive approach to Stanwyck's acting and a fairly negative approach to her private life and personality, beginning with a sequence that claims she went to ex-husband Robert Taylor's funeral and made it all about her. There is some behind the scenes info on her films; less analysis of her technique and the major films themselves, although Wayne doesn't ignore them. Wayne implies that Stanwyck sort of convinced Robert Taylor that he was gay, and that an [unnamed] psychologist talked Taylor out of it. These dated passages are laughable, as it is unlikely a man who didn't have some attraction to men would bother seeing a shrink about it in the first place. Wayne does not discuss Stanwyck's sexuality in depth. The book mentions how Stanwyck and first husband Frank Fay adopted a boy and then pretty much abandoned him. Basically this is a good read, however, despite its flaws, and it may give some readers some insight into aspects of the woman's career if not her personal life. NOTE: This was updated after Stanwyck's death and retitled The Life and Loves of Barbara Stanwyck. This author has not seen that book and this review is strictly of the original edition.

Verdict: Not bad, if you take some sections with a grain of salt. ***.

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