Sunday, March 5, 2017

the last book I ever read (Mary Astor's Purple Diary, The Great American Sex Scandal of 1936, excerpt two)

from Mary Astor's Purple Diary: The Great American Sex Scandal of 1936 by Edward Sorel:

After moving into a small rented apartment in Hollywood, with an obligatory extra room for a maid, Mary went to work at Paramount for her first talkie, Ladies Love Brutes. She’d dropped twenty pounds in the meantime, and the stills from that movie show an emaciated figure. In the course of one scene, Mary again fainted.

Maybe it was the plot. An Italian building contractor, Joe Forziati, with mobster friends, wants to marry a high-society dame, Mimi Howell (Mary), awaiting a divorce from her husband, Dwight Howell. Mary says she has to think of her child and can’t marry a man with ties to gangsters. The contractor decides to kidnap the boy and then heroically rescues him. But then . . . well, Citizen Kane it wasn’t, though it was co-written by Herman Mankiewicz, ten years before he wrote his masterpiece. Whatever caused Mary’s swoon, she revived after brandy and a raw egg.

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