An assiduously researched work that examines and appreciates its subject’s art and craft rather than his tempestuous...

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THE WORLD AND ITS DOUBLE

THE LIFE AND WORK OF OTTO PREMINGER

Film critic Fujiwara (Jacques Tourneur: The Cinema of Nightfall, 1998) glances at the director’s life but gives long, loving attention to every frame of his films.

After making his reputation as a stage director in Vienna, Preminger (1906–86) migrated to Hollywood in 1936. Notorious for his perfectionism and incendiary temper, he made movies notable for their adult tone and content, including Laura, Anatomy of a Murder and The Man with the Golden Arm—as well as some howlers like The Cardinal. (His reputation, Fujiwara acknowledges, has fluctuated.) The author does a respectable job of sketching Preminger’s biography in the opening chapters, zipping through his wives, art collection and affairs, including an extended, steamy one with his Porgy and Bess star, Dorothy Dandridge, and a quickie with Gypsy Rose Lee that produced an heir. He devotes the bulk of the text, however, to the films. Each gets its own chapter, beginning with the production history from screenplay and casting through scouting locations and shooting to post-production; then come accounts of each movie’s critical reception and the box-office receipts. But the heart of each chapter is the author’s careful analysis of each film. The insights are almost always flattering to Preminger and feature an annoying overabundance of superlatives. Reaching for praise, the author sometimes plunges into abstruseness, as when he comments of Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon, “the film turns its abjection into the basis for an existential position and a political practice.” Nonetheless, Fujiwara’s insights are often interesting, occasionally elegant, and he scatters some savory factual bon-bons: Joan Crawford insisted the temperature on the Daisy Kenyon set be fixed at 58; Martin Luther King Jr. declined a part in Advise & Consent.

An assiduously researched work that examines and appreciates its subject’s art and craft rather than his tempestuous temperament—a complementary work to Foster Hirsch’s Otto Preminger (2007).

Pub Date: March 11, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-571-21117-3

Page Count: 544

Publisher: Faber & Faber/Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2007

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

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The debut memoir from the pop and fashion star.

Early on, Simpson describes the book she didn’t write: “a motivational manual telling you how to live your best life.” Though having committed to the lucrative deal years before, she “walked away,” fearing any sort of self-help advice she might give would be hypocritical. Outwardly, Simpson was at the peak of her success, with her fashion line generating “one billion dollars in annual sales.” However, anxiety was getting the better of her, and she admits she’d become a “feelings addict,” just needing “enough noise to distract me from the pain I’d been avoiding since childhood. The demons of traumatic abuse that refused to let me sleep at night—Tylenol PM at age twelve, red wine and Ambien as a grown, scared woman. Those same demons who perched on my shoulder, and when they saw a man as dark as them, leaned in to my ear to whisper, ‘Just give him your light. See if it saves him…’ ” On Halloween 2017, Simpson hit rock bottom, and, with the intervention of her devoted friends and husband, began to address her addictions and underlying fears. In this readable but overlong narrative, the author traces her childhood as a Baptist preacher’s daughter moving 18 times before she “hit fifth grade,” and follows her remarkable rise to fame as a singer. She reveals the psychological trauma resulting from years of sexual abuse by a family friend, experiences that drew her repeatedly into bad relationships with men, most publicly with ex-husband Nick Lachey. Admitting that she was attracted to the validating power of an audience, Simpson analyzes how her failings and triumphs have enabled her to take control of her life, even as she was hounded by the press and various music and movie executives about her weight. Simpson’s memoir contains plenty of personal and professional moments for fans to savor.

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-289996-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2020

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