Scandals of Classic Hollywood: Sex, Deviance, and Drama from the Golden Age of American Cinema

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Penguin, Sep 30, 2014 - Social Science - 304 pages
Celebrity gossip meets history in this compulsively readable collection from Buzzfeed reporter Anne Helen Peterson. This guide to film stars and their deepest secrets is sure to top your list for movie gifts and appeal to fans of classic cinema and hollywood history alike.

Believe it or not, America’s fascination with celebrity culture was thriving well before the days of TMZ, Cardi B, Kanye's tweets, and the #metoo allegations that have gripped Hollywood. And the stars of yesteryear? They weren’t always the saints that we make them out to be. BuzzFeed's Anne Helen Petersen, author of Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud, is here to set the record straight. Pulling little-known gems from the archives of film history, Petersen reveals eyebrow-raising information, including:

• The smear campaign against the original It Girl, Clara Bow, started by her best friend
• The heartbreaking story of Montgomery Clift’s rapid rise to fame, the car accident that destroyed his face, and the “long suicide” that followed
• Fatty Arbuckle's descent from Hollywood royalty, fueled by allegations of a boozy orgy turned violent assault
• Why Mae West was arrested and jailed for "indecency charges"
• And much more

Part biography, part cultural history, these stories cover the stuff that films are made of: love, sex, drugs, illegitimate children, illicit affairs, and botched cover-ups. But it's not all just tawdry gossip in the pages of this book. The stories are all contextualized within the boundaries of film, cultural, political, and gender history, making for a read that will inform as it entertains. Based on Petersen's beloved column on the Hairpin, but featuring 100% new content, Scandals of Classic Hollywood is sensationalism made smart.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - annhepburn - LibraryThing

I spent an entire evening awhile ago devouring all of Anne Peterson's Scandals of Classic Hollywood blog posts, so when I saw she had a book I was super psyched. She's written it in the same ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - knightlight777 - LibraryThing

Picked up this book as a diversionary reading experience. I was not disappointed. The stars of course are dated as advertised but the stories are interesting and remind us of how particularly social ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

About the Author
Fall Guy ofthe Film Industry
Silent Sex Symbols
The It Girl
The Blonde Menace
When Shes Bad Shes Better
Old Loves
First Couple of Film Noir
Broken by the System
Three Angry
Chapter Thirteen Marlon Brandos Dirty Dungarees
Entombed in His Own Myth
Acknowledgments
Copyright

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About the author (2014)

Anne Helen Petersen received her Ph.D. in media studies from the University of Texas, where she studied the industrial history of the gossip industry. After teaching in the university setting for several years, she transitioned to full-time feature writing, most recently with BuzzFeed. Her work has appeared in The Believer, The Awl, The Hairpin, Laptham’s Quarterly, The Baffler, Pacific Standard, The Guardian, Los Angeles Review of Books, and Virginia Quarterly Review.

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