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

Thursday, August 29, 2013


HIGH SOCIETY: THE LIFE OF GRACE KELLY. Donald Spoto. Three Rivers Press/Crown; 2009.

This is an entertaining and absorbing look at the life and career of Grace Kelly, the actress who worked with Hitchcock and others and dropped out of Hollywood to become the princess of Monaco. Kelly was the niece of the playwright, George Kelly, who wrote "Craig's Wife" and other plays so she did have a special "in," although her looks, bearing and talent may have helped her in any case. Kelly appeared on many live television dramas such as "The Rockingham Tea Set" on Studio One, as well as on the stage, where she hoped to make a name for herself. But Hollywood called, and after a couple of minor (Fourteen Hours) and major (Mogambo) roles  she wound up in Alfred Hitchcock's Dial M for Murder  and two others for the Master, Rear Window and To Catch a Thief. Kelly won an Oscar for her work in The Country Girl and was set to become one of Hollywood's most important mega-stars when she fell in love with the prince of Monaco and sailed off for what wasn't quite a fairy tale ending. Spoto makes it clear that Kelly itched to act [she did one short film much later which has been suppressed by the royal family] and was rather bored with her duties as a princess and her allegedly storybook life in the castle. Hitchock nearly got her out of retirement by offering her the lead in Marnie, but as much as Kelly wanted to do the film, it didn't work out. While High Society may not be the last word or is as rigorously in-depth as it could have been, it is a solid, readable account of Kelly's life and career.

Verdict: Interesting look at a Hollywood legend. ***.

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