Friday, November 14, 2008

New Book: Lana: The Memories, the Myths, the Movies

This new Lana Turner book caught my eye recently when it came up in my Amazon recommendations.

LANA is a 400-page coffee table book by Turner's daughter, Cheryl Crane, and Cindy De La Hoz.

The five-star Amazon reviews made it sound quite interesting. Turner isn't one of my top favorite actresses, but I've enjoyed many of her films, especially those she made up through the late '40s, and I particularly love MGM films of Turner's era.

Leonard Maltin has just reviewed the book, and calls it " of the best books about a star I’ve ever read, so much so that I recommend it not only to dedicated Turner fans but to anyone who wants to learn a bit more about the truth behind the glamour of Hollywood’s Golden Age."

That is high praise indeed from a film historian of Maltin's caliber. This book just went on my Christmas wish list!

Turner films reviewed here to date: RICH MAN, POOR GIRL (1938), DANCING CO-ED (1939), THESE GLAMOUR GIRLS (1939), and MARRIAGE IS A PRIVATE AFFAIR (1944).


Blogger Barb the Evil Genius said...

I don't know if you care for dolls, but I thought you might enjoy looking at this Lana Turner series.

12:14 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks for the peek, Barb, they're beautiful. I especially loved the doll in the black and white evening gown. Fun!

Best wishes,

12:24 PM  
Blogger Moira Finnie said...

My feelings about Lana Turner are similar to yours, Laura. She's not my favorite actress from that period. She seemed to project a dissatisfied tension and a gloss that got buffed to a blinding artificiality as her career at MGM went on. Of course, that "restless yet ravishing" quality helped to launch her as MGM's resident sex goddess Perhaps this cost her more than we can know--though she was quite effective in an ambivalent role as the seductive adulteress in The Postman Always Rings Twice, opposite John Garfield, (an actor she was said not to have been enamored with during production).

Occasionally, when seeing her in such films as Ziegfeld Girl (1941) or Johnny Eager (1942) early in her tenure at the studio, there's a vulnerability and sensual beauty in her that seems to have been lacquered over later. I've corresponded with a man who knew her when he was growing up, and, while he described her with great affection and humor, he has mentioned that she seemed terribly unsure of herself and constantly worried about appearing less than perfect in public. How hard that must have been for all the decades she spent in the public eye!

I'll have to track down this book thanks to your recommendation.

8:45 AM  
Blogger Moira Finnie said...

Oops, as soon as I sent that first comment, I realized that one of the best roles Lana Turner ever played may have been her wonderfully villainous turn as Lady de Winter in the delightful Gene Kelly version of The Three Musketeers (1948)! She also looked as though she was enjoying herself in this meaty role--not something that she always projected in her movies.

8:55 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Moira, thanks for your perceptive comments on Lana Turner. I agree with you -- I've found she is quite fun in her earliest films when she is still very natural, including her late '30s "B" movies, but "lacquered over" is a good description for her career post roughly (in my view) 1948.

Besides THE THREE MUSKETEERS, I thought she was a lot of fun in GREEN DOLPHIN STREET (giving birth during an earthquake!)...but I liked her better when she still had a certain innocence to her performances, as in films like HONKY TONK and MARRIAGE IS A PRIVATE AFFAIR. JOHNNY EAGER is high on my "to watch" list, especially as I'm a newly minted Robert Taylor fan as of the last few months.

Glad I could bring the book to your attention! Hope you'll share your thoughts with us again, they're very welcome. :)

Best wishes,

11:56 AM  

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