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

Thursday, October 4, 2018


IN PIECES. Sally Field. Grand Central; 2018.

After appearing in the short-lived sitcom Gidget, and then toiling for three years on the hit series The Flying Nun -- a show she absolutely hated and denounced as "drivel" -- Sally Field thought she would never be taken seriously in Hollywood. But after appearing in several telefilms -- as well as another short-lived series, The Girl With Something Extra (she has little good to say about co-star John Davidson) -- she managed to win an Emmy for the multiple personality drama Sybil, and then went on to garner two Best Actress Oscars for Norma Rae and Places in the Heart. She also received accolades for playing Mary Lincoln in Lincoln, and won another Emmy for her role in the TV series Brothers and Sisters. But Field's private life wasn't so successful. In between two marriages to men she admitted she wasn't really in love with, she had a long-term relationship with Burt Reynolds, a control freak and (in my opinion) long-time asshole (he deemed Field the "love of his life," however; his first wife was Judy Carne). She had a  very problematic relationship with both her biological father and her mother, actress Margaret Field [The Man from Planet X], who divorced her husband to marry actor Jock Mahoney [Tarzan's Three Challenges]  and eventually developed a drinking problem. Field claims that Mahoney molested her continuously for several years when she was a minor, but he would only admit to her mother that it was one drunken incident. (After Lex Barker -- who was married to Lana Turner --  Mahoney is the second actor to play Tarzan who allegedly molested a step-daughter.) Trying to be a good mother to her three sons, and (in her eyes, at least) failing more often than not, she couldn't quite avoid the mistakes her own mother made. In Pieces is an extremely well-written memoir, full of honest reflection and in-depth ruminations on life, career, and loves, as well as the usual dose of movie star self-adsorption. Field doesn't spend as much time on her films as one might have hoped, but there's plenty of meat in here for people who want to know the inside life of a movie star and for aspiring actors who are hoping to follow in her footsteps.

Verdict: Thoroughly absorbing page-turner proves that Field can write as well as act. ***1/2.  


angelman66 said...

I definitely need to read this one, sounds like a frank and open memoir. I have always loved Sally Field...of her many acting triumphs, I think I love Sybil best...I have the dvd and have watched many times. I do not remember her as Gidget, but as a young Catholic child I vividly recall watching her as The Flying Nun. Was not aware that she was from a Hollywood pedigree!
Sally was great in that recent film Hello My Name is Doris.

William said...

Yes, yes, she was really excellent in "Doris!" I'm now looking forward to catching up with her as Mary Lincoln in "Lincoln."