VALENTINES AND VITRIOL by Rex Reed

VALENTINES AND VITRIOL

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KIRKUS REVIEW

For a non-writer like Reed, compilation is an act of self-exposure bordering on (no doubt profitable) hara-kiri. Back-to-back tributes to Bette Davis and supreme diseuse Mabel Mercer end with virtually the same lines: ""She's sixty-seven, but I'm taking bets. Bette Davis will bury us all"" and ""So happy birthday, Mabel. Seventy-five? You'll bury us all."" Other famous last words? The Andrews Sisters: ""Eat your heart out, Hirohito."" James Coco: ""Priscilla Lane, eat your heart out."" Diane Ladd: ""Ingrid Bergman, eat your heart out."" But, with the caliph of cliches, all that really matters is that his tape recorder works, and it's worked well enough on recent interview days to pick up the relatively unguarded opinions of Elizabeth Taylor (on the incompetence of the Bluebird film production), Sophia Loren, Audrey Hepburn, the above-mentioned Bette, and Pearl Bailey (""I'm not playin' games, and I cannot be hustled""). Those five ladies talk smart and exude authority, but the other 40 personalities here are either passing pop fancies (Valerie Perrine, David Bowie, Katharine Ross) or out of Reed's league (L. Hellman, political M. Mercouri). And, when the famous mouths shut and Rex has to make up words-as in a long, hyperbolic, sticky (""dead, but not gone. . . no sad songs. . . no tears in her beer"") eulogy for Jacqueline Susann--it's. . . well, Rona Barrett, eat your heart out and bury us all.

Pub Date: May 27th, 1977
Publisher: Delacorte