This is a pacy, well-researched, informed, fair and utterly gripping account of the careers and personal lives of two of the most popular and enduring movie stars of all time. And the author does understand the differnce between 'actors' and 'movie stars'. It has direct material from the two divas, interviews with friends and costars and it gives the cynical, accurate inside track without any spite, viciousness or conversely any of the suck-up hero-worship of many star-biographies. The author knows he has pure gold here with the truth alone, he doesn't try to fill in blanks or physcogically analyse these women, he just tells their stories, often in their own brilliant, sarcatic pithy words. If you have any interest in the Golden Age of Hollywood, you will love and reread this book endlessly. Neither actress is shown favour, they were both very different and both a mix of glorious and dreadful but surviving in Hollywood without being sharp and deadly just wasn't an option, so you can't really blame them for the occasional splash of venom. It's clever, brilliant, sad, cutting and extremely funny. Just like Joan and Bette.
I used to own the paper copy of this book and read it to shreds but I had a sudden urge to re-read it recently so purchased it again for my Kindle.
I love this book! It is a fascinating insight into the lives of the two biggest stars the world has ever seen: the inimitable Bette Davis and the sublime Joan Crawford. If you are a fan of the Golden Era of Hollywood then it is simply a must-read. Delightfully camp and entertaining. It is really well written and paced; full of juicy information about not only these magnetic, difficult, strong, fierce, wonderful ladies but also their relationships with other stars of the era such as Clark Gable, Rosalind Russell, Marilyn Monroe etc. Rather than reading separate biographies of Joan and Bette I would recommend just buying this one as it covers each one's life in detail, from their births to their deaths - giving more than enough factual information on each and also busting well-known myths (e.g. Joan and her relationship with her children).
I haven’t read this book in a long time, probably not long after its publication date, but it has stayed in my memory since then and it was time to get it back off the shelves. For me, it is probably the best book about movie stars. Rather than a standard biography Considine takes the widely-held notion that these two divas hated each other before, during and after their much anticipated pairing in 1963’s excellent “Whatever Happened To Baby Jane” and tracks the two screen goddesses careers and the points they frequently touched and the vitriol such moments engendered. Joan Crawford, portrayed here as a man-eater with dubious mothering skills who lived her life every inch a star and Bette Davis, who considered herself a great actress before a movie star, who rarely forgave a grudge, who bullied those around her (and who may have had some hand in the death of a husband). The teaming of the two, past their prime, in the early 60s could only have been a match made in heaven or hell. It’s a wonder the film got made at all (intended follow-up pairing “Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte” floundered until Olivia De Haviand took over from a Crawford worn out by Davis’ spite). There’s so many great anecdotes here, the women were peerless in put-downs and sniping one –liners. For me, its monster Crawford who gets my sympathy more often against monster Davis. With so much proof and evidence Considine doesn’t need to go too far down the sensationalist route, leaving that for the respective daughters (Christina Crawford’s “Mommie Dearest” is surprisingly underplayed here, even on matters of Joan’s career. Crawford Jnr states that when she was ill and working on a daytime soap her mother muscled in and took over her part. Considine makes no mention of this. My interest in these two ladies has been thoroughly rekindled so I’ll have to read more about them – there’s plenty out there. But for now, this is one of the most entertaining slabs of entertainment non-fiction ever.
This has to be one of the most interesting, insightful, yet entertaining books I have read in a while! You really get the details on exactly why they hated each other, and some of the quoted remarks Bette makes about or towards Joan are hilarious! My particular favourite part is of course, the chapter about the making on Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? I would defiantly recommend this book to any Davis or Crawford fan.
This is the best Hollywood biography ever written. Even if you have zero interest in Bette Davis or Joan Crawford (I didn't know much about either of them), you'll still be enthralled. It's depiction of the studio system's peak, during the 1930s & 1940s (& subsequent 1950s decline) is better than any other i've read. The only downside of this book is, you won't want to put it down & could make you late for work.
I have always been interested in the old movie stars and saw a programme on tv which lead me to buy this book. What an amazing pair of ladies and how difficult I found it to understand how Bette Davis could be so unforgiving. The film with Joan Crawford is a great film noir and I would recommend it to any one who likes the old genre films. Joan at her best with great support from Ann Blyth as her daughter.
I have been a devoted fan of these two ladies(?), since I was very young. This book while it is old will never leave my bookcase, not even on loan. A real no holes barred. Great addition for fans of all ages.