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The Bennetts: An Acting Family Hardcover – 30 Nov 2004

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 520 pages
  • Publisher: The University Press of Kentucky (30 Nov. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813123291
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813123295
  • Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 16.5 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 662,675 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Serious film historians will want to examine The Bennetts.... Bliss for buffs." -- "Toronto Globe and Mail"

About the Author

Brian Kellow, features editor of Opera News magazine, is the coauthor of Can't Help Singing: The Life of Eileen Farrell. He lives in New York and Connecticut.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Long before he was famous for being the father of Constance and Joan Bennett, Richard Bennett had been famous for the intensity of his stage performances, his heavy drinking, his brushes with the law, his long-winded curtain speeches, and perhaps most of all, for his incendiary temper. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I suppose that for a showbiz biog to be entertaing the subject must still radiate charisma.So the real star of this book is Constance Bennett.Long after she ceased to be a star she acted like she was.It is only a shame that so far as this book is concerned that her sister Joan did not predecease her as she is far more interesting.Joan seems tame by comparison and the author has difficulty in dredging up much about Joan in her later life save that she drank a little and was married to a cross dresser.Sister Barbera comes off worst as she was not a star and clearly was unable to cope with life.The father Richard reminds a little of John Barreymore.Drink rather contributed to his downfall as well.However unlike Barreymore he was unable to get any work in his later years.So to a certain extent his reputation is unblemished.Although i tend to get a bit bored by early parts relating to the begining of the dynasty on the whole it is a very entertaining read.Little wonder though that none of the Bennett children or grandchildren committed themselves to a career as an actor
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Finally a great book about a fascinating family. I have been looking for ages on a book about the Bennett sisters and so far, it hasn't let me down. Some of the photos are great. I haven't finished it yet but it's an easy read and I try and limit myself to a couple of chapters a night as I want to savor the story!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 11 reviews
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Well Worth Reading 23 May 2005
By terroh - Published on
Format: Hardcover
For anyone interested in Hollywood's golden era, this book is a must! Far superior than The Bennett Playbill which was published in the 1970's with Joan and a ghost writer, this book is exhaustively researched and provides a much fuller picture of father Richard and daughters Constance, Joan and the ill fated Barbara. Fans of the tv show Dark Shadows will remember Joan, but probably a lot fewer remember Constance who was one of the top film stars in the early 30's only to be washed up in films by the end of the decade. Joan had a much longer film career, though it took awhile for hers to catch fire. All the marriages, scandals and career highs and lows are covered in depth and Kellow provides a critical evalution of their many film roles. The narrative does skip back and forth between family members, but Kellow does a good job keeping the narrative flowing and after a few chapters the reader will adjust to it. The Bennetts may not have ranked as high as the Barrymores, but they rank right up there with other Hollywood dynasties.
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
The Bennett Sisters and Father 20 Dec. 2004
By James Stettler - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Brian Kellow has done a wonderful job in telling the personal and professional stories of the acting Bennett Sisters and their father theatrical legend Richard Bennett. This book really fills a gap and is so well done that it would be difficult to imagine a better book about the Bennetts unless there were individual books on Constance, Joan, Barbara, and Richard Bennett. I would have liked a listing of the various plays that particularly Constance Bennett starred in. This versatile and glamorous star appeared in the Cole Porter musical "Silk Stockings" and this was not discussed in the excellent text. This is a small complaint and I think this book is a must for fans of Joan and Constance Bennett and for great books about show business. There are also some wonderful photographs and that alone should induce the reader to buy this book!
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
A daughter reviewing a book about her family 27 Sept. 2010
By Diana Anderson - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Its a little difficult to be objective about not only a family book but a book you helped contribute to. Brian Kellow was a delight to work with. He listened carefully to my cousin Peter Plants comments and used the information with discretion. His mother Constance Bennett was much more complicated than my mother Joan. In fact we were all rather intimidated by Constance and I think she rather liked it that way. My mother Joan was always the shy one except when it came to her children. She didn't hesitate to correct bad manners and worked very hard to see that we all received a good education. We may have had our differences in my early years but my admiration only grew as I grew older and raised a family of five children of my own.
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Finally! 13 Dec. 2004
By M. Zafron - Published on
Format: Hardcover
At long last, someone has tackled the fascinating story of the Bennett family. The result was well worth the wait. Kellow's book is enthralling, nicely balanced, objective, and well-researched. Anyone interested in Joan or Constance Bennett or even in film history will enjoy this book.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Well researched and presented 1 Jun. 2006
By Linda A. Marlia - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This well researched and presented book is a fine addition to anyone's library of books about Classic Hollywood or about the Broadway stage. The Bennett family were hard-working and talented performers, extremely famous in their day, but not as well-remembered today as they deserve. Their stories are full of human drama and Brian Kellow tells them in detail, without any wiff of the snide, nasty edge far too many show business books have today. He's honest about the faults of his subjects, yet compassionate about their humanity.
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