Through 50 years and 50 films--from "Holiday" and "The Philadelphia Story" to "Camille" and "My Fair Lady"--George Cukor created some of Hollywood's greatest motion pictures. The first book to discuss Cukor's homosexuality openly, "George Cukor: A Double Life" is a sympathetic portrait of a man "whose long career is all the more impressive given ...
Through 50 years and 50 films--from "Holiday" and "The Philadelphia Story" to "Camille" and "My Fair Lady"--George Cukor created some of Hollywood's greatest motion pictures. The first book to discuss Cukor's homosexuality openly, "George Cukor: A Double Life" is a sympathetic portrait of a man "whose long career is all the more impressive given the double life he was forced to lead"--"Los Angeles Book Review". b&w photos.
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George Cukor lived a life that few of us would pass up if we had the chance - directing big movies for MGM, having wonderfully scintillating friends (Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Garson Kanin, Ruth Gordon, Somerset Maugham, Greta Garbo, to name just a few), travelling the world and collecting artworks and curios for a beautiful house in Beverley Hills, and yet there is the feeling in this biography that the author is in the other room, calling out the information, so that this reader wished he would come up close and have a real old 'chin wag'. The problem seems to have been that this supposedly gregarious director really was a secretive soul with a friendly front, and therefore, even with the anecdotes from friends and film colleagues, there isn't much 'off-the-cuff' input from George himself. But he had the most interesting life and his films were lauded (if not by the critics at the time) and later some, such as "The Women", became classics. He was sacked from "Gone With The Wind", passed up some beauties but there was his dark side, due, possibly, to his homosexuality which was known only to his close friends - The Chief Unit, as they were called.
Patrick McGilligan must have had a difficult task in bringing this biography to fruition, and if it isn't quite the rich biography it could have been with the marvellous subject matter, then that is not to say this was possible in the circumstances.
Publishers Weekly, 1991-09-20 McGilligan ( Robert Altman ) summarizes the disdain of the male heterosexual-dominated movie industry toward homosexual director George Cukor (1899-1983) when he quotes producer Joseph L. Mankiewicz: ``In a way, George Cukor was the first great female director of Hollywood.'' Cukor, who received an Oscar for My Fair Lady , is not portrayed as a persecuted innocent in this intriguing book; we're shown that he was promiscuous, petty and, ironically, not above stereotyping homosexuals in his films. The book tells as well of the decline of Hollywood's Golden Age because of competition from television, Red Scare blacklisting and studio reorganizations. Interesting insights into Hollywood deal-making are also provided. Photos not seen by PW. (Nov.)
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