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Wolves at the Door: The Trials of Fatty Arbuckle
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Long before the media circus of the O J Simpson trial, another celebrity trial had split America and caused media outrage. Fatty Arbuckle was an enormous star in early Hollywood, comparable to Charlie Chaplin, with a huge following and at the peak of his career. On September 5th, 1921, he was staying at the St Francis Hotel in San Francisco. He was with some friends, drink was flowing and Arbuckle's party attracted many visitors and guests. Amongst them was Virginia Rappe, a film actress, although nowhere near as successful as Arbuckle. After being alone with Arbuckle, Virginia Rappe was taken ill. When she died, he had already left the city. However, he soon found, to his surprise, that he had to return to stand trial. Matthew Brady, the DA, saw the chance to get a higher office by presenting the trial as a moral crusade. He was, in effect, not trying just Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle, but Hollywood itself, with its drugs, alcohol abuse and orgies. In this book, the author takes us through the events of that day and then the trial(s) themselves, to the verdict and outcome for all the major players. It is a fascinating book of what was the first celebrity circus of this type. Arbuckle was to coin two phrases which are still used today - first that he had been "morally vindicated" and secondly that "he was a victim of circumstances". The press delighted in reporting (or mis-reporting) every event. However, the star of the book has to be Brady - a man so desperate to convict Arbuckle that he lost all sense of reason by the end of the book and seemed almost driven insane by a wild desire to attack Arbuckle in any way possible. If you enjoy this book (and I have no doubt that you will), you might also like: Murder in Hollywood: Solving a Silent Screen Mystery.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 25 February 2012
What a well written and interesting book this turned out to be, having just read Charlie Chaplin's memoirs where Arbuckle is mentioned I decided to read more about 'Fatty' and this book is the ultimate, objective, honest read about Arbuckle I suspect has been written, it is spellbinding, I felt as if I was at the Trial, with all the anxious moments captured as if I was part of the events. By the end of the Trial I expected it to trail off but the writer manages to bring you back into today's world and makes a great point about Hearst and Murdoch. Will now look for other work by this author, it was a great read!
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on 7 October 2013
I had heard about Fatty Arbuckle in my childhood from my father but I never new the full story.
And what a story, I was gripped from the first page, well written I couldn't put it down.
I would recommend this to anyone.
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on 4 July 2013
there's a couple of books about Fatty and in the end i went for this one, once i started i didnt stop reading, very informative, a sad end to an innocent mans career, the title says it all, will definately read again
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on 15 April 2014
As i said, very informative and not too heavy on detail, very easy and enjoyable read, still none the wiser about what actually happened that fateful afternoon.
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