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Fall Girl: My Life as a Western Stunt Double Paperback – April 28, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-0786447534 ISBN-10: 0786447532

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 235 pages
  • Publisher: McFarland (April 28, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786447532
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786447534
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,563,136 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Moving...this book has much to offer fans of the Golden Age...valuable...soulful magic...I'm thankful for this book in which she and her co-writer tell her story so beautifully" --Classic Images

"Fascinating...captivating...not to be missed" --Western Clippings

"I knew when I was asked to do The Big Country that I needed a good stunt double. Well, I got her. I got the best...Martha Crawford." --Jean Simmons, academy award-nominated actress

About the Author

Martha Crawford Cantarini has been honored with the Golden Boot Award and was inducted into the Hollywood Stuntmen's Hall of Fame. She lives in British Columbia.

Chrystopher J. Spicer has written extensively about Australian and American film and history. He teaches writing and communication at James Cook University in Queensland, Australia.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 13 customer reviews
Overall, well worth reading for movie buffs or horse lovers!
Nelson Aspen
I think you will, as I did, also come to admire a woman that accomplished so much in her life, fearlessly, and tirelessly.
Georgia Allison
It is a wonderful story of horses and how movies are really made.
Tonto

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Nelson Aspen on June 26, 2010
Format: Paperback
I immensely enjoyed this behind-the-scenes look at the silver screen industry of the 1950s. The fascinating, unusual career of the author is charmingly presented in a series of personal recollections and anecdotes with plenty of name-dropping sure to satisfy fans of classic films. She's obviously a very likable lady and I wish she'd gone a little bit farther in dishing the dirt on some of the notables who weren't so pleasant....like William Wyler, Glenn Ford, Anne Baxter and Yvonne DeCarlo. But she does shine light on the backstage workings of Western movie production and it's always fun to hear tales about great stars like Gregory Peck, Robert Taylor, Eleanor Parker and even Deforest Kelley.

It's worth pointing out that the author also includes plenty of captivating photographs from her personal collection, although I wish the captions were in the first person, as is the narrative. It's an editorial decision that winds up distracting the reader from the feeling of a personal relationship with the narrator.

Overall, well worth reading for movie buffs or horse lovers!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Georgia Allison on May 29, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The back cover of FALL GIRL says, "fascinating insider's memoir of the American entertainment industry". This is undoubtedly true, but this little gem of a book is really so much more! I would say that this book is about the courage and strength of a woman to make it in a man's world. And, to do so in a gracious, modest and seemingly unassuming manner. Martha simply seems to have done it all, and at a time when most women were fated to fill more traditional roles. This book really has something for everyone...perhaps a book for all ages, and it is rich with details, and wonderful old photographs. Horse lovers, riders, trainers, movie buffs, historians, lovers of old Hollywood, adventure and thrill seekers, or world travelers, I think it is all here, even Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, and Elvis!! I was captivated by all the tremendous details of the movies Martha worked on, and the complexity of the actual stunts, and the behind the scenes look at the movies, down to the temperament and personalities of so many stars and luminaries that crossed her path. The special, and I would even say, amazing horse stories, really say that she had some sort of magical connection with horses, seemingly within her heart as she says. I think you will particularly love the stories about "Frosty". If you love to be transported to a different time and place you will simply love this book. I think you will, as I did, also come to admire a woman that accomplished so much in her life, fearlessly, and tirelessly. I would further say that Chrystopher Spicer has helped Martha present so clearly and concisely, a wonderful chronicle of a life lived in the spotlight, but yet with dignity, humility, and much grace. As I read Martha's story I could not help but think what a fabulous movie this book would make.Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sylvia Scott on June 26, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I truly enjoyed reading Fall Girl. While Martha's fascinatingly detailed personal stories and experiences as a stunt woman and double for top stars during the classic era of motion pictures entertain the reader endlessly, it is also Martha's sometimes passionate focus on, and true love of, individual horses she has known and worked with during her career that will probably thrill and satisfy any horse lover reader the most. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants an insider's sneak peek into the inner workings of early Hollywood, as well as the stunt world back then in general, and to all horse lovers as well. For where would the classic westerns be without the horses! Martha never forgets them. And neither will we, after reading Fall Girl. Well done! It's hard to read this book and not see the opportunity for a great movie right there!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tonto on July 15, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am so glad Martha Crawford documented this part of our history before it 'got away'.. It is a wonderful story of horses and how movies are really made. In the days before all the computer generated 'stunts' that are in today's movies- it was real horses,real riders and real talent that did the action shots. I doubt that the work seen in the old movies will ever been duplicated. The horses and the people are pretty will gone and will never be seen again.
MaryAlice Nelson
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Barbara on February 8, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A bit too snobby in the beginning. Almost stopped reading it. It got better about half way through and started really talking about the horses instead of all the actors she met. I thought it was way over priced for what was in it that was horse related. If it was $3.99 it would be better but would not recommend the book at this price.
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Format: Paperback
They don't make 'em like this anymore--movies OR Martha Cantarini.

Martha’s memoir is a rare insider’s look at the stars, directors and horses of the 1940s and 1950s. It’s also a hair-raising tale of stunts that worked—and those that didn’t—and a must-read for Western movie fans. The pictures alone are a treasure trove.

Martha doubled for the most important stars of the day, leading ladies such as Eleanor Parker (to whom she bore an uncanny resemblance), Jean Simmons, Shirley MacLaine, Rhonda Fleming, Carroll Baker, Ann Baxter, Claudette Colbert and Linda Darnell. Martha became friends with Elvis Presley during the filming of Love Me Tender, in which she doubled Debra Paget. She worked closely with Clark Gable in The King and Four Queens and other films.

One of the highlights of her career was doubling Eleanor Parker in MGM’s Academy Award-nominated film Interrupted Melody, in which she leaped onto a bareback horse in the midst of a terrifying fire scene, then clung to the rearing animal. The studio still shot of the scene was featured in Life Magazine.

This book is a real keeper for anyone interested in horses and classic Western movies.
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More About the Author

I was born in San Antonio, Texas, moved to Santa Monica, California at the age of 7 and raised by a professional polo playing father. A flop of a screen test at 20th Century Fox resulted in an offer for my first stunt doubling job! That was what I wanted to do all along! Soon I was selected to do the riding for most all of the glamorous stars. After receiving the Golden Boot Award (TV & Movie) for my work and inducted into the Stuntmen's Hall of Fame, I wrote Fall Girl for the horse lovers who know that the horses are their real teachers and indeed the unsung heroes of Western films.