Rebeca was my favourite book in my youth and 40 years on, the film remains a favourite of all time. Joan Fontaine has always been my ideal of beauty so her autobiography was on a bound to be fascinating. No Bed Of Roses surpassed alll expectations and is sure to enthrall anyone isterested in Hollywood's golden age,
This book might be called 'How to avoid blame', which may be a bit harsh, since Miss Fontaine does a creditable job on her autobiography. And the tales out of school !! Joseph Cotton getting even with Hedda Hopper after a particularly maligning paragraph in Hopper's column (p.165), Mary Martin taking over the Thanksgiving party at Joan's apartment and Richard Halliday's 'put-down' at the end of the evening (p.220), and Joe Kennedy's proposition in between courses at Joan's house (p.267), just to name a few - are a really frank insight into the Hollywood milieu. But what comes over mainly, apart from the on-again-off-again feud with her sister, Olivia de Havilland, is the way Joan Fontaine deflects any possible blame from herself, such as the time she left the two girls, daughter Debbie, newly adopted Peruvian girl, Martita, with the housekeeper and flew to Europe, ostensibly to get some film work, only to spend a few months romancing with the late Aly Khan, while the two young girls were with the hired help. But since the de Havilland sisters were two of the most beautiful and glamorous stars of the 1940's onwards, so perhaps they can be excused in part for all the feuding, the slights on Oscar nights, the failed marriages and the haphazard motherhood. A definitive Hollywood story.
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