Hollywood Warts n’ All
By: Alan Royle
This is a collection of tell-all stories about Hollywood and its most famous stars, scandals, fights, love affairs and sexy (not so secret) secrets.
I am a HUGE fan of Hollywood. The intrigue, the mystery, the scandals…especially those that occurred in the first 100 years or so. Charlie Chaplin, Joan Crawford, Errol Flynn, these people fascinate me! I knew I’d enjoy this book and I did!
However, as much as I did enjoy the information…I did not enjoy the formatting, the errors and the (honestly) sloppy writing.
Just for examples:
1. Actor Richard Long is famous for playing Jarrod Barkley in the TV series Big Valley. The author called him, “…Richard Long of Bonanza fame.”
2. In the following two paragraphs, the author assumes that I, the reader, already know all the same things he does. This is a common theme throughout the whole book.
“Ernie Kovacs was hilarious as the cigar-chomping conman in this western comedy. Two years after its completion he was filled in a car accident. Police attending the scene surmised he had been reaching for a lighter to ignite his cigar, and took his eyes off the road momentarily.
“‘Capucine’ is the French word for nasturtium, her favorite flower. Rumors have abounded for decades that the French beauty was a transsexual, but they have never been confirmed….”
I know that Capucine was a French actress who made 36 films between 1948 and 1990…now. I did not know it before reading these paragraphs. As far as I could tell, the author was giving a lesson in French, right in the middle of the story about Kovacs. I was left thinking, “who’s favorite flower was the nasturtium.” I looked at this page for several minutes before I realized that ‘Capucine’ might be the name of an actress.
This kind of thing was repeated over and over in this book. I spent as much time googling names (just so I knew who I was reading about) as I did actually reading the book. THAT made my reading time double or even triple.
3. The author chose to format his book in the following way. He listed movies (from those made in the 1920’s to those made just before 2000) in alphabetical order. Under the name of the movie he selected one, two or more stars who appeared in that particular movie to talk about. There were sometimes pages dedicated to one such star and then bam (!), he moved on to the next story with no warning, no prelude, no indication that a change was coming. One paragraph would be about one person and the very next paragraph would be about another. It was confusing and distracting.
And, I personally did not enjoy jumping back and forth between the decades. On one page I was in 1920, on the next 1992. This, too, was distracting.
My suggestion to the author would be to add something simple—like bullet points or asterisks—to separate the different anecdotes. Just that small addition would make reading the information much more enjoyable.
And perhaps, instead of listing the movies in alphabetical order list them instead by release date.
Also, a touch more information when introducing a new subject (as in the Capucine example above) would help throughout the book.
Despite all the things I’ve mentioned above. I did enjoy learning so much about the stars I did know and love. If you like old Hollywood as much as I do, you MIGHT enjoy this book.
*Can I be honest with you? I gave this book a 3-star rating even though I don’t believe it earned it…for a reason. I was trying to be nice.