Photograph by MARTIN HÜBSCHER PHOTOGRAPHY © 2015
“FOR MY PART I KNOW NOTHING WITH ANY CERTAINTY BUT THE SIGHT OF THE STARS MAKES ME DREAM” (Vincent van Gogh)
Woman reading Vickie Lester’s novel “It’s In His Kiss” at night. Photo © Martin Hübscher
LISTEN TO THE FIRST CHAPTER OF It’s In His Kiss
on Vickie Lester’s brilliant blog
on which each apparently effortless post strikes deep behind the razzle-dazzle to give insight into the design and inspiration, humour and human cost that go into creating the glamour of classic film-making.
All these qualities are evident in Vickie Lester’s fiction.
It is easy to dream when we look at a starlit sky, more difficult to represent it, even harder to understand how it was made.
“IT SHOULD BE CLEAR THAT PUTTING LITTLE WHITE DOTS
ON A BLUE-BLACK SURFACE IS NOT ENOUGH””
(Vincent van Gogh)
The most comprehensive and authoritative site I know about dramatic and comedic arts in all media, from historic to present times, is Sarah Vernon’s Rogues and Vagabonds, rich in articles and illustrations, edited by someone who understands theatre through and through.
Another recommended site dedicated to classic movies, combining charm with informed criticism, is Silver Screenings.
Who does what to whom, behind the scenes in Hollywood, narrated by actress Pippa Rathborne
Click on the photo to purchase…
I have just woken up to this, like the sun breaking through clouds on a miserable birthday morning – the result of a sudden, unexpected collaboration with the novelist and blogger, Vickie Lester. Her account of how it came out reads like the beginning of a new mystery novel, which you can read here on the ever Beguiling Hollywood. I am very excited to play a small part in it. All the words and images are hers alone. Thank you, Vickie, for an adventure and a pleasure!
“I want to be alone; I just want to be alone.”
Line delivered by Greta Garbo in Grand Hotel, 1932
Portrait of Greta Garbo in The Kiss, 1929 by the great Hollywood stills photographer Clarence Sinclair Bull.
Image: Beguiling Hollywood © Vickie Lester 2014
Orson Welles spins a tale about two incomparable beauties; Marlene Dietrich and Greta Garbo…truth or fiction? retold in the wittiest, most sophisticated blog in the west – Vickie Lester’s Beguiling Hollywood.
Garbo was sitting on a raised platform in the middle of the living room, so that everybody had to stand and look up at her. I introduced them. I said, “Greta, it’s unbelievable that you two have never met—Greta, Marlene. Marlene, Greta.” Marlene started to gush, which was not like her at all. Looking up at Garbo, she said, “You’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen, it’s such a pleasure to meet you, I’m humble in your presence,” and on and on. Garbo said, “Thank you very much. Next?” And turned away to somebody else. Marlene was crushed.
Orson Welles’ mischievous anecdote about a goddess so world-weary she is bored with being worshipped contains an allegory of acedia, the state of mind that drives people to retreat from responsibility to lonely indifference to their existence.
The shadows of facts and guesses about Welles, Marlene and Garbo loom over the tale, along with the suspicion that more than one of them was sending up the others.
Welles and Garbo both suffered from depression which has been diagnosed since as bipolar disorder; Marlene and Garbo are rumoured to have been lovers, many years before the party at which, according to Welles, he introduced them for the first time.
The affair might be a writer’s sexual fantasy turned into lucrative gossip, but it could also be an imagined consummation of an attraction between two powerful, androgynous rivals, an historical fiction with pyschological truth.
None of them corrected the received impressions of their private lives, or revealed their most desperate feelings, when they faced the world. The self needs protecting from exposure to other people if it is to stay true. You don’t know what they will do to it.
Orson Welles deflects all the latent sexual feelings, self-aggrandisement and fears of worthlessness into an amusing piece of apocrypha.
Both are true; one reveals the outward parade of facts, the other what was going on inside people’s heads, their thoughts and passions, and secrets.
Myth and history interweave, informing each other, and it’s up to us to treat them as allies, not irreconciliable forces. We can’t understand one if we ignore the other.
It is a universal truth that could not have been illustrated without Vickie Lester, who has published her own beguiling Hollywood murder-mystery, It’s In His Kiss.