A Life on Film

New York: Delacorte Press, 1971. First Printing [Stated]. Hardcover. x, 245 pages. Illustrated endpapers. Illustrations. Index. DJ is worn, torn, soiled, chipped, and price clipped. With an Introduction by Sumner Locke Elliott. Mary Astor (born Lucile Vasconcellos Langhanke; May 3, 1906 – September 25, 1987) was an American actress. She may be best remembered for her performance as Brigid O'Shaughnessy in The Maltese Falcon. Astor began her motion picture career in the silent movies of the early 1920s. When talkies arrived, her voice was initially considered too masculine and she was off the screen for a year. After she appeared in a play with friend Florence Eldridge, film offers returned, and she resumed her career. In 1936, Astor's career was nearly destroyed by scandal. She had an affair with playwright George S. Kaufman and was branded an adulterous wife. Overcoming these difficulties, she went on to greater film success, eventually winning an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of concert pianist Sandra Kovak in The Great Lie (1941). Astor was a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer contract player through most of the 1940s and continued to work in film, television and on stage until her retirement in 1964. She authored five novels. Her autobiography was a bestseller, as was her later book, A Life on Film, which was about her career. Director Lindsay Anderson wrote of Astor in 1990 that when "two or three who love the cinema are gathered together, the name of Mary Astor always comes up, and everybody agrees that she was an actress of special attraction, whose qualities of depth and reality always seemed to illuminate the parts she played." A Life on Film is a fascinating and beautifully told story of a product named Mary Astor - a major star's personal recollection of 45 years of life in the film world from the silents to the '60s. Derived from a Kirkus review: At fourteen, Mary Astor won a Fame and Fortune contest which enabled her to enter me movies and salvage her parents. This is an account of her longer-lasting-than-most Life on Film with a few personal incidents -- but then My Story (1959) covered her actively destructive and self-destructive emotional life. The romantic tutelage of John Barrymore was the most decisive influence in her early life. But her inability to break away from her parents, her submissiveness, and general lack of competitiveness in the industry hurt her career which from its height diminished into longer term contracts and shorter appearances in lesser films and minor mother roles. She was however miserable when she wasn't working and the message here is that it's more important to do something than be somebody. You'll also learn about the business as it was and the people she knew (Harlow, Gable, Bogart, Colman, etc.); about her "un-actressy" professionalism; and about a woman who was dependable, disciplined, and she had that flawless profile to feature. Extracted from a newspaper review: Abandoning Hollywood with relief in the 1950's, Mary Astor worked during the halcyon years of live television in New York; she retired permanently in 1964 after acting Bette Davis off the screen once again in “Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte.” In recent years she has written novels, been on a world cruise, lived in Mexico, and settled in Fountain Valley. She movingly describes seeing “The Maltese Falcon” on television not long ago: “Bogie, Sydney, Peter, my dear ghosts. …” There is no escaping the fact that Hollywood largely wasted Mary Astor. But we must be grateful that it supplies the material for her ... sad, witty, infinitely likable book. Condition: Good / Fair.

Keywords: Actress, Acting, Maltese Falcon, Humphrey Bogart, John Barrymore, Dodsworth, Judy Garland, MGM, Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer, William Wyler, Bette Davis, Clark Gable, Movies, Hollywood, Cinema, Motion Pictures

[Book #87939]

Price: $85.00

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