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Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Used - Very Good - Hardcover. Dust jacket corners & edges are slightly worn. No markings/writing found on pages. Tight binding. All pages intact. Not ex-library.
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Kenneth Anger's Hollywood Babylon Hardcover – 1975

3.8 out of 5 stars 155 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 305 pages
  • Publisher: Straight Arrow, 1975; Book Club Edition edition (1975)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0617344086
  • ISBN-13: 978-0617344087
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 7.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (155 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #867,851 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Kenneth Anger's trash classic is still worth a look after all these years. No, this is not the book for those tender and naive dears among us who still think "they wouldn't print it if it wasn't true." This is more along the lines of "they couldn't print it if they weren't dead!" Don't look here for an accurate history of Hollywood's Golden Age. What Anger serves up, in his own wasp-tongued way, is the true gossip of the day. True in the sense that it was actually circulated, not that it was accurate. That in itself gives the book its own kind of historical value: the tabloid trash a bygone era. If you've ever lingered over a particularly lurid headline in the supermarket check out line, this book may be for you. Go for it, nobody's looking!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Anybody who is considering buying this book (and its sequel, if one can find it) should know that it has absolutely no pretensions of being fair or accurate. Despite the wild inaccuracies of now-deceased stars' exploits, the book is still like seeing a car wreck: you know it's awful, but you can't resist looking at it. It's a fun book in spite of itself.
The photos are often tasteless, the prose is often tacky and sleazy, the research is put together with two nails and a hammer, and overall the book reminds one of the old "Confidential" magazines (the magazine is actually profiled in one of the book's chapters). Yet sleaze and tackiness are what Hollywood was all about, so the book seems fitting.
If you want accuracy in a book, go elsewhere. If you like gossip in the most vicious and slimy way possible, then this is your book.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Like any newspaper article, events are turned into "stories." These "stories", like any silver screen biography, tells the dramatic tale of a life in turmoil. Kenneth Anger's book, "Hollywood Babylon" takes the angle of a tabloid and digs up some old dirt of famous celebrity lives and puts it into a full collection of grime, grease and oil. This collection takes a chronological look at Hollywood's finest at the time beginning in the early twenties with such big names as Fatty Arbuckle whose drinking problem got out of hand at one of his big parties after signing a lucrative deal. Moving through time to the 30's, 40's, right up to the Sharon Tate murder, which Anger recognized it was no longer "Old Hollywood."
The book reads like a gossip column mixed with sleazy tabloid journalism, yet with the wit and humor of a prankster. It's an exploitation of exploited lives. To mimic tabloids further, the pages appear with large and sometimes disturbing photos of stars at their most inopportune moments.
While much of the material has already had its heyday in newspapers of the times, it has a new life today where many of these actors and actresses are virtually unheard of by the general public and rekindled new interest in their films. Just as watching and old O. J. Simpson football game may have the same appeal as watching Lana Turner in her debut "They Won't Forget."
The title to me is entirely fitting, as Hollywood is the "Babylon" of our society, one in which everyone has all their wants at their disposal. A place where hedonism is the religion and tragedy is only the end of a scene, for we know by the end of the movie everything will be all right.
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By A Customer on August 12, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The first time I read this book I loved it. Unfortunately since then I have read the biographies of some of the people in this book and realized that this really is just gossip.
Clara Bow never took on the Trojans in her home, Jayne Mansfield wasn't really decapitated, that is a wig in the picture and Fatty Arbuckle wasn't a rapist, Virginia Rappe died from a botched abortion.
The bottom line is, you are better off reading the biographies that are just as sensational, but hopefully closer to the facts.
Also Crimelibrary.com has truer stories about these people and it is free.
4 Comments 48 of 58 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
From some of the reviews I have read, it is either you'll love this book for its contents or hate it for its contents.
Well, infinitely sarcastic and tsk tsking in tone, Kenneth Anger compiled a fascinating, if not nauseating tome of Hollywood gossip, mysteries and scandals; accompanied by a generous helping of equally fascinating and nauseating photos.
Just when you think that people are so moral back in the good ole days...well, surprise surprised!!!! Here comes Hollywood, the "cemetery of virtue".
Hollywood Babylon "documented", with frenzied glee, the various scandals that rocked the film industry, and in turn the world. First we are introduced to the death of Olive Thomas, then the now infamous Fatty Arbuckle trial. These two stories basically set the tone for the rest of the book....rapes, sexual indiscretions, drug overdoses, nervous breakdowns, orgies, murders, creative suicides and so on and so forth.
The photos themselves are not for the faint of heart.... featuring death photos of extinguished luminaries such as Thelma Todd, Marie Prevost,Bugsy Siegel, Jayne Mansfield (and her dog!).
Overall, if you like gossip and scandal and loves laughing at the misfortunes of others and have a taste for the morbid, this book is a delight...a delectable "box of poisoned bon bons" through which you can choose and pick at your leisure...with every juicy morsel is as good as the next.
Otherwise....this book will probably make you nauseous.
A sequel, Hollywood Babylon II is not as good as THIS one. But the zinger in that tome is photos of the infamous Black Dahlia murder. But that is another poisoned bonbon for another day.
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