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More a series of deeply personal reveries and vignettes than formalized interviews, this attempts to artistically connect established actresses through discussion of the acting craft. Gam, herself an actress (with more than 25 major films), integrates the personal trials and tribulations of her own tenuous career (struggles to shed a sex-goddess image, serious theater work, her marriage to Sidney Lumet) with those of her artistic sisters. Successfully forsaking her ""own narcissistic odyssey,"" Gam emerges throughout these profiles as a star-struck fan herself, disarmingly loyal to her colleagues. However, while Gum's enthusiasm and love of ""these mythical creatures"" are infectious, some of the material (particularly discussion of the acting craft) be. comes repetitious. Overly familiar profiles of film ""mavericks"" Jane Fonda, Jessica Lange, Vanessa Redgrave and Meryl Streep are disappointingly humdrum. Nevertheless, Gam redeems herself by capturing some of the distinct qualities of such personalities as Zoe Caldwell, Julie Harris, Constance Cummings, Dame Wendy Hiller, and Eva Le Gallienne. Gam's long friendships with Grace Kelly and Jeanne Woodward are colorfully and sensitively sketched. Although Gam tries to explore the elusive motivating factors behind all these actresses, no new light is really shed. However, her observation that they all give credit to strong, supportive mothers is an unusually insightful one. Disputable but nevertheless provocative remarks from pros such as Shelley Winters (""Actors are the royality of America"") or Jeanne Woodward (""Acting is like sex, you should do it and not talk about it"") prove entertaining. A delightful non-bitchy, non-gossipy account, which celebrates acting, from a pro who has been there and back.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1986
Publisher: Nick Lyons