LOVE, LAUGHTER AND TEARS: My Hollywood Story by Adela Rogers St. Johns
Kirkus Star


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Greta Garbo on camera was ""great gobs of gorgeousness""; Clara Bow ""fades into darkness with a bright tear""; and while today's matinee idol is ""as virile as a rained-on bee,"" Wallace Reid was ""the handsomest man I ever saw."" Hearst reporter and self-styled ""Mother Confessor"" to Hollywood luminaries of the Twenties and Thirties, Adela Rogers St. Johns--now in her eighties--observes that ""my emotions are sometimes mysterious even to me"" and gives them free rein in these juicy, rambling memoirs. ""Love"" is the title's operative word, and Mrs. St. Johns chastens only Cecil B. DeMille and a few fulsome spouses in her fond account of Eros in the land of the rich, famous, and misunderstood. While she makes no pretense to art or objectivity, her often dubious observations (Chaplin loved but once?) are sprinkled with allusions to poetry and painting (Lupe Velez, for instance, is ""pure Goya"") that might chagrin a devoted fan; and she runs together a discussion of D. W. Griffith's resemblance to Hamlet and a defense of Mickey Rooney's honorable intentions toward women in a single paragraph. With one thought intruding upon another, the first third of the book wobbles, but once she's settled into a good yarn, the lady is as adept with dirt (not to be confused with the contemporary ""manure"" she despises) as any of her peers; and those who still wonder whether Fatty Arbuckle really killed Virginia Rappe and whose soul D. W. Griffith borrowed since he didn't have one of his own, will find her tale irresistible.

Pub Date: April 21st, 1978
Publisher: Doubleday