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Bette Davis: Larger than Life Hardcover – Bargain Price, October 6, 2009

25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Evening Standard -UK 12/3/09
"…a pleasure to flick through. The biographical facts have a juicily gothic feel. The family and studio portraits of Bette meanwhile are a revelation.”

San Jose Mercury News, 11/25
“…what makes the book impossible to put down are the photos — gorgeous period images beautifully integrated into the text.”

Rage Monthly, November 2009
“This lush must-have coffee table book is big, luxurious and full of fascinating descriptions and stories befitting the Queen of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Gee, what a great holiday gift this would make!”
 
15 Minutes Magazine, Jan/Feb 2011
“a keeper: the text is crisp; the photos are magnificent. Lots of delicious anecdotes…”
 

 

About the Author

Richard Schickel was a movie critic for Life, Time, and Time.com from 1965 through 2008. He is the author, co-author, or editor of close to forty books, including You Must Remember This: The Warner Bros. Story. He is also the director, writer, and producer of a similar number of documentary films. His latest, a profile of Ron Howard, is nineteenth in his series of director portraits, which constitute an unparalleled history of film authorship in America.

George Perry is a film critic, journalist, and broadcaster who has interviewed an array of film greats in his distinguished career. He is also author of many books on film history and the stars who lived it, his most recent work as co-author being You Must Remember This: The Warner Bros. Story. George lives in London.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Running Press (October 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0762436883
  • ASIN: B003R4ZDVC
  • Product Dimensions: 12.3 x 9.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,629,020 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 37 people found the following review helpful By ClassicKol on October 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This newest book about Bette Davis is recommended for the many superior photos included, and for the good layout of her films, presented, generally in sequence. There are several factual errors, and the text of the two authors more than occasionally contradicts what the other has written. The errors include actor David Keith being called Brian Keith,by co-author Richard Schickel, and the surprisingly naive statement by the main author, George Perry, that Davis successfully imitated Joan Crawford in telephone scenes in 'Baby Jane' when Crawford had in fact agreed to dub in her own voice while Davis 'lip-synched' her imitation (this information is covered in the 2 disc 'Baby Jane' dvds, and also, in my opinion, is fairly obvious).
Running Press, the publisher, also gave the public the very enjoyable oversized books about Lucille Ball ('Lucy At The Movies') and the excellent (and best of the three) Lana Turner book, 'Lana' The Memories, The Myths, The Movies' which greatly benefitted from having Cheryl Crane's insight and her dedication to having her mother's memory being preserved. The 3 very attractive-looking Running Press books all are worth buying, and are great conversation pieces for those interested in classic films and/or classic stars of an era long-gone.
Of the 2 authors of "Bette Davis: Larger Than Life", George Perry does the better job; Richard Schickel editorializes all over the place and some of his highly subjective observations just don't ring true, to this reader. As I read on, Schickel's opinions became irrelevant and tiresome. He writes from the perspective of his experience of enjoying the work of Davis as being of more import than the films or performances Davis gave in them.
The photos in the book are incredible, and the quality of paper used and photo resolution may make some fans want to buy two copies, one for the coffee-table, and the other for high-quality frameable rare photographs of the greatest film star of the 1940s.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Matt Callaway on January 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really can't understand why this book was published. Its glorious, glossy cover and format leads one to believe that it will be a photo-heavy "movie star" tribute. Unfortunately, its author, George Perry (Richard Schickel wrote only the preface) doesn't seem to be any fan of Bette Davis, which would seem to be crucial to what presents itself as a tribute book. His writing is poor in the extreme; confusing, humorless, overweening, and sour. He seems to believe that being critical is the best way to display his superiority. I mean, do we really need to hear someone else complain that Bette Davis smoked? I literally slammed the book shut when Perry began complaining that George Brent's character in "The Great Lie," after having been lost in the jungle, didn't discuss his probate will when he returned (!). Mr. Perry, dear, it's the same reason we didn't see him go to the bathroom. We're talking about a MOVIE here. And Perry doesn't seem to like very many of Bette Davis'.
I hope Running Press continues this lavish series. The Lana Turner entry (penned by her daughter, Cheryl Crane) is absolutely terrific. And I'll probably buy the Lucille Ball book in the series. But this book, sadly, is a DUD, despite the fine photographs inside (few of which seem to be very rare) I can not recommend it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By a viewer on June 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I was sorely disappointed with this volume. Yes, the photographs are beautiful...high gloss on the finest paper. But the prose in this volume is so full of misinformation and factual errors it is an insult.

For example, the author dares to say that Bette Davis does an excellent vocal impersonation of Joan Crawford in a scene in "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane." This is totally wrong. Davis did not do the voice! Crawford did and they dubbed her voice. That is just one of many factual errors in this book. Another is they referred to David Brian (Bette Davis' co-star in "Beyond the Forest" as "Brian Keith"!!!!!" There are many, many more mistakes!

Aside from that, as other reviewers posted here, there is nothing, absolutely nothing new to be learned here. A very poor job of research. This book is not worth the almost $50.00 asked for. Only the most die-hard Bette fans will be pleased with this book.....if only for the photographs. But the beautiful photographs cannot make up for the poor writing and editing job on this book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Michael A. Panigrosso on November 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a huge book about our greatest film actress,BETTE DAVIS (ok Meryl Streep comes close) Great Photography" Larger than Life" is just that! a book about Davis! A well deserved tribute. Read it buy it Worth every penny! Very satisfied Has many color large photos which are absolutlely beautiful (most Ive never seen before) !! Very impressive book!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By S. Kay Murphy VINE VOICE on January 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book as a gift for my son, as he loves Bette Davis, but I was just as enthralled with it. I love the format. The photos are beautiful. He stayed up half the night reading it the day I gave it to him, and it's now prominently displayed on the coffee table in his apartment to enhance his classic film decor. This book makes a terrific gift book for anyone who enjoys classic films.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bebe Langford on May 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a gorgeous coffee table book....the photos alone make the purchase worthwhile whether you find the bio and movie reviews accurate or not-you cannot beat the price for such a great album of beautiful shots of Bette. A must for her die-hard fans!
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