RITA HAYWORTH: The Time, the Place and the Woman by John Kobal
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RITA HAYWORTH: The Time, the Place and the Woman

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A longtime admirer of every facet of the 1940s Love Goddess, Kobal has written a bio that digs for detail rather than just rehashing old publicity fodder. Few readers will come away from this book without renewed lust for Hayworth's best flicks or new insight into the woman behind the shimmer. She is shy, introverted Marguerite Carmen Cansino, daughter of a pair of celebrated Spanish dancers who early on began training the child for a life on her toes. Already a ravishing beauty at 13 when she made her professional debut, she broke into films as a Latin dancer and at 15 she was playing against Warner Baxter in handsome Westerns. Then came Poverty Row oaters and lesser programmers (eleven of them) until her big break with Cary Grant in Only Angels Have Wings. Under contract to Columbia and subject to its vulgarian studio head Harry Cohn for nearly 20 years, she was revamped, had her hairline lifted by electrolysis and her rich black hair dyed red-blonde, and the rest is Technicolor history. Kobal is especially good on her dancing, her teachers and partners (Astaire, Kelly), and how she projects sultry innocence, holds back in rehearsals but goes WHOOM! on camera. Her great days as a vamp (Gilda) and best pictures (The Lady from Shanghai), marriages to Orson Welles, Aly Khan, and others are treated, but her later alcoholism is skirted. Still, the spell is undeniably here.

Pub Date: Oct. 23rd, 1978
Publisher: Norton