Stanwyck

Axel Madsen, Author HarperCollins Publishers $25 (434p) ISBN 978-0-06-017997-7
Madsen ( Chanel ) picks a tough subject in movie legend Barbara Stanwyck, who was born in Brooklyn in 1907 and orphaned at age three. She scrambled up through the Broadway chorus line and, by the time she reached Hollywood, was such a hard worker that Madsen has to struggle to avoid recounting endless lists of movies, memorable and otherwise. On the orders of MGM, Stanwyck married leading man Robert Taylor. We hear a lot about their troubled relationship, which Madsen portrays as a ``lavender'' marriage to conceal Taylor's homosexuality. Yet the meat here lies in the detailed descriptions of Stanwyck's movies, which include such classics as Stella Dall a s, The Lady Eve, Ball of Fire and Billy Wilder's spectacular Double Indemnity . The overall impression we're left with is of a talented woman who cared mainly for her career. Stardom and riches failed to buy her serenity in a youth-obsessed Hollywood, where Stanwyck died alone at the age of 84. Madsen's bio breathes intimacy on every page and avoids a gossipy tone. Photos not seen by PW. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/02/1994
Release date: 05/01/1994
Paperback - 434 pages - 978-0-595-19398-1
Mass Market Paperbound - 10 pages - 978-0-06-109067-7
Paperback - 487 pages - 978-1-5040-0881-5
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