Bette and Joan

Shaun Considine, Author Dutton Books $19.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-525-24770-8
If equally matched adversaries are bound to create sparks and flames of conflict, then Bette Davis and the late Joan Crawford should offer a good battle. But for three quarters of the book, a series of very brief chapters (each a pastiche of racy quotes from such authorities as Photoplay and gossip columnist Louella Parsons), the two barely make contact. Considine ( Barbra Streisand ) attempts to build a sense of impending, fated enmity between them, but when the screenstars finally meet, it's anticlimactic. The book follows them from birth on divergent paths to glory--Crawford's via the proverbial casting couch, Davis's through hard-nosed talent. Unmistakably alike, they marry many times, receive the backlash of vindictive children and end up as ``reclusive alcoholics.'' Because of the book's reliance on hearsay, gossip overwhelms ``truth''; we understand neither Crawford's desperation to be loved nor Davis's to be despised. This is a dull ``Peeping Tom'' book, lacking in essential sympathy and knowledge. Photos not seen by PW. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/01/1989
Release date: 11/01/1989
Paperback - 483 pages - 978-0-7515-4187-8
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-440-20776-4
Paperback - 464 pages - 978-0-595-12027-7
Paperback - 460 pages - 978-1-4502-4327-8
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