MOVIE STARS, REAL PEOPLE, AND ME by Joshua Logan
Kirkus Star

MOVIE STARS, REAL PEOPLE, AND ME

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A lot of movie fans and show-biz lovers will find nothing but pleasure in director-writer Logan's insider anecdotes and professional afterthoughts about the films and plays he's worked on since the mid-Fifties. There's the shooting of scenes you'll remember--from Picnic, Sayonara, Bus Stop, and Fanny. There are big names galore, caught in candid poses: Marilyn Monroe in her intellectual phase, Marlon Brando (""when he gets rhetorical it's like a tapeworm""), Greta Garbo, Mel Brooks (pre-stardom), Charles Boyer's visit to the acupuncturist, Barbra Streisand at a party, ""spooning food into her mouth as fast as she could."" And Logan, never less than lively as a raconteur, is capable of an occasional inspired phrasing: Paddy Chayefsky ""is built something like an office safe, one that fits under the counter and is impossible to move."" Lots of fun. But many readers will find their enjoyment being undermined by the uncomfortable feeling that Logan can't quite be trusted, that behind his exuberant bonhomie there are clouds of bitterness and defensiveness that color his portraits of colleagues (quite nasty) and his judgments of his own work (quite inflated). Certainly he often seems to be the victim, his genius thwarted--by technicians who misled him about those hideous color changes in South Pacific, by Richard Rodgers (who wouldn't let him cast Hz Taylor as Nellie Forbush), by villainous Bette Davis (in a doomed musical version of The Corn is Green), by Alan Jay Lerner (who interfered disastrously with the Paint Your Wagon film), by Lindsay & Crouse (whose intractability made Mr. President ""one of the major disappointments of the American theatre""). And there's a creepy feeling too in Logan's leering, which he regards as good clean enjoyment (""It is a great joy of living to watch Marlon have sexual fun"") but which transmits as voyeurism. A generous hoop-la gathering from Hollywood and Broadway--but, for some, the host's edginess will cast a pall on the party.

Pub Date: Sept. 25th, 1978
Publisher: Delacorte