From Publishers Weekly
If all the world's a stage according to Shakespeare, it's all one big movie screen to Hadleigh (Hollywood, Babble On; Hollywood Lesbians), who's evidently taking up where the great gossip columnists of yesteryear left off. In this collection of interviews, each preceded by a chatty introduction, that Hadleigh has conducted over the years with 10 Hollywood stars, the author continues his probing of the ever-popular topic of the sexual proclivities of Hollywood actors. There's nothing very surprising about his choice of subjects--Paul Lynde, Liberace, Randolph Scott, et al.--all of whom, conveniently for legal purposes, are deceased. And though hearing about these stars in their own words often proves entertaining, most of the book's gay readership will find little here they haven't heard before. Two exceptions are the touching interview with producer David Lewis, who talks freely about his longtime companion, James Whale (director of the classic 1931 Frankenstein and of The Invisible Man), who committed suicide in 1957; and the talk with William Haines, whose career was destroyed by Louis B. Mayer after he was caught with another man in his cot at a YMCA. The book's style is suitably straightforward, though Hadleigh's banter often verges on the cute or leering. Readers will find much cocktail-party repartee here and will relish the references to other stars of dubious sexual orientation. But given the book's lack of down and dirty gossip, its potential readership may ultimately agree with actress Mrs. Patrick Campbell, as quoted by Hadleigh: "It doesn't matter what you do in the bedroom as long as you don't do it in the street and frighten the horses." Photos, not seen by PW.
Copyright 1996 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Books like Vita Ruso's The Celluloid Closet (1980) and Kenneth Anger's Hollywood Babylon (1975) abound with rumors about the sexual appetites of Hollywood stars. Hadleigh on the other hand seeks to provide firsthand reports. An entertainment journalist since the 1960s, he conducted volumes of off-the-record interviews with celebrities reputed to be gay or bisexual such as Cary Grant, Paul Lynde, and Anthony Perkins, as well as less well-remembered actors like Randolph Scott and William Haines. In these interviews, often given only with the understanding that they would not be published during the star's life, Hadleigh attempts to get normally secretive actors to speak about their sexual lives. Some stars, including James Coco and Cesar Romero, speak freely and provide valuable accounts of what it was like to be gay in an industry filled with double lives and convenience marriages. Cary Grant and Anthony Perkins are more elusive, but they proffer revelations about co-workers and peers. Like his earlier volumes Conversations with My Elders (St. Martin's, 1988) and Lesbians in Hollywood (Baricade, 1994), Hadleigh's work is somewhat suspect. He claims that for most of these interviews, he was not allowed to tape record or take notes, and frequently the questions seem stiltedly reconstructed. Still, the interviews are highly entertaining and provide an important, mostly undocumented view of the film industry's social history. Recommended for both general readers looking for dish and scholars of gay history and film studies.?Ed Halter, New York Underground Film Festival
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.