September 16, 2010

Book Review of "Movie Confidential: Sex, Scandal, Murder and Mayhem in the Film Industry " by Andrew Schanie and a Giveaway!

Description:  Truth really is stranger than fiction — just look at the film industry. The product on the screen is no match for what goes on when the cameras stop rolling. Movie Confidential lays out the story-behind-the-story of Hollywood’s most sordid true tales. Encompassing sex, scandal, murder, and mayhem, it dishes the dirt on stars of the past and present. From what really happened in Fatty Arbuckle’s infamous room at the St. Francis Hotel to Eddie Murray’s "I was just giving her a ride" defense, from PCP-laced chowder on the set of Titanic to Judy Garland’s strange visions, to mysterious deaths, mistakes in filmmaking, and a multitude of other irresistible tales, this cheeky collection covers the gamut. Packed with photos and presented in the style of vintage scandal magazines from the 1950s, Movie Confidential is a compulsively readable look at filmdom’s seamy underbelly.  (from Amazon)

I am a self-avowed Hollywood junkie.  I love all things Hollywood, most particularly classic Hollywood, and I hoped that Movie Confidential would provide me with new or previously undisclosed information.  While I found the book enjoyable reading, I was a bit let down by the expectation of discovering new tidbits.

That's not to say that Movie Confidential is a bad book - - far from it.  I was delighted to find chapters on such past (and less recognized) Hollywood greats as Roscoe Arbuckle and Olive Thomas, although I do wish their chapters had been a bit more substantive.  Also granted an entire chapter (and rightfully so) was Clark Gable, whose extramarital dalliances and alleged illegitimate daughter were detailed by Mr.  Schanie, along with the tragic loss of his beloved wife, Carole Lombard.  Not included?  The longstanding rumor of Gable's involvement with director George Cukor and the rumor that Gable committed manslaughter while driving intoxicated.  I don't know if either tale has any merit but it made the chapter feel somewhat incomplete.  (Although I do understand this wasn't a book solely on Gable but on a motley variety of Hollywood-ites). 

Also worthy reading were the chapters on Charlie Chaplin and the Red scare, Paul Bern's sudden death and Judy Garland's taperecorded, drug-induced ramblings. 

Which leads me to my biggest gripe about Movie Confidential . . . how Mr. Schanie chose the subjects and topics that were highlighted.  Entire chapters were devoted to stars who died too young, as well as those who chose to leave this world by their own hand - - sadly, there were and are many of each.  I felt many who should have been included were missing.  Perhaps this was due to my excessive reading on the subject, perhaps my standards in this area are too high.  It certainly could fill an entire book alone.

I also felt that Mr. Schanie missed an opportunity including stars who had been charged with serious crimes (again, a sadly lengthy list) as well as those to whom murderous tragedy befell.  What Hollywood tell-all book a la Hollywood Babylon is complete without discussion of the murder of Sharon Tate?  Or the O.J. Simpson case?  And from the classic Hollywood angle, the first true murder of the Hollywood set, the William Desmond Taylor case?  (For the record, the Taylor case was mentioned but only in a two brief paragraphs). 

I would have preferred lengthier chapters on the early deaths, with more inclusions, or a new chapter on Hollywood murders, to the tale of LSD on the set of Titanic and Peter Jackson eating vomit. 

Again, Movie Confidential is not a bad book.  It's a fun, entertainig look at the movie industry through the decades, a veritable meringue of a book . . . light and fluffy but without a lot of substenance.   Think of it as you would a 3 week excursion to every country in Europe, where you get just enough taste of each country to help you decide where you want to return for another visit.   Movie Confidential may whet your appetite for Clark Gable or Jean Harlow, to name but a few, sending you to seek out biographies on them and watch their movies, but for the experienced Hollywood-ite, it won't shed any new light on the shadows lurking around the HOLLYWOOD sign. 

Movie Confidential is available for purchase now at major booksellers, including Amazon

Review copy of this book provided by Library Thing in exchange for a fair and honest review. In no way did the provision of the book affect the outcome of my review.

And now to the GIVEAWAY!!  I have my lightly read, like new copy of Movie Confidential up for grabs.  If you'd like to have your own copy of this book full of dirt, gossip and mayhem, simply leave me a comment with your email address and you're entered.  NO EMAIL ADDRESS, NO ENTRY!

For this contest, I am offering extra entries if you visit one or both of my other blogs and leave a comment at a post of your choice and/or become a follower at either or both blogs (1 extra entry for each action).  Go to Chick Flick Heaven and/or Television Nirvana for those extra entries.  Please be sure to let me know in your comment here if you have left comments at the other blogs or become a follower so you can receive your extra entries. 

U.S. and Canada only (my apologies to our overseas friends) and no P.O. boxes.

Contest to end on Saturday, October 2, 2010 at 11:59 P.M. PST and the lucky winner selected by on Sunday, October 3, 2010.

Good luck!

Click the link HERE


Marjorie/cenya2 said...

Sounds very good, I would like to win and read this book.

cenya2 at hotmail dot com

Marjorie/cenya2 said...

I am now following Chick Flick Heaven.

cenya2 at hotmail dot com

Marjorie/cenya2 said...

I am now a follower of Television Nirvana.

cenya2 at hotmail dot com

Ashley said...

I'm a Hollywood junkie too.

hewella1 at gmail dot com

mrsshukra said...

This is perfect read for me!


mrsshukra said...

Google follower of Chick Flick Heaven! Nice blog!


mrsshukra said...

Google follower of Television Nirvana! Love it, too!


Hippo said...

This still sounds like a wonderful book, despite the limitations.

Deb Anderson said...

Since I'm not nearly as informed as you on the film industry, I'd probably find this book quite shocking!! :) Anyway sounds like fun, count me in!

tnshadylady at

Anonymous said...

I would love to be entered in your giveaway for this interesting book.

Anonymous said...

I became a follower of Chick Flick Heaven through Google Friend Connect.

Anonymous said...

I became a follower of Television Nirvana through Google Friend Connect.

Anita Yancey said...

Sure sounds really interesting, and I'd love to read it. Please enter me. Thanks!


deusdiabolus said...

Interesting. I'd like to read that. My email address is the username I posted this under at

Nancy said...

This sounds like a fascinating book!

allibrary (at) aol (dot) com