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Hollywood Babylon--It's Back!: All Those Celebrities, All Those Scandals, All That Nudity, And All That Sin Hardcover – October 20, 2008

2.6 out of 5 stars 70 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


The American movie industry is always eager for the spotlight if the close-up is flattering and good for business. But Hollywood may get more than it bargained for with HOLLYWOOD BABYLON'S compendium of stories, rumors, and myths. Virtually every page features one kind of train wreck or another, usually accompanied by spectacularly lurid photographs. Darwin Porter and Danforth Prince provide a hair-raising list of compromises and strategically granted sexual favors as proof that some stars will do anything for a part. Not even Grace Kelly and Lucille Ball escaped having to get down and dirty on the proverbial casting couch, according to Porter and Prince. Read these pages to learn what Robert Mitchum is said to have taught Marilyn Monroe on the set of THE RIVER OF NO RETURN that would prove useful during her rumored affair with JFK. Try as you might, you won't be able to stop turning the pages...In revealing so many facts previously under wraps, this book, in fact, raises the question of how much more remains hidden. --Shelf Awareness/ Bookselling News

Dishing with abaondon, the authors spare no one--especially not the dead. Marilyn Monroe had an affair with Ronald Reagan, Marilyn also had a tryst with Joan Crawford but refused to make it an ongoing affair. James Dean showed a disconcerting interest in a 12-year-old boy in the early 1950s. Lucille Ball launched herself into show business as a hooker, and her husband Desi Arnaz had a fling with Cesar Romero. Cary Grant had an incestuous relationship with his stepson, Lance Reventlow. And this, by the way, is only the tip of the iceberg. --Rush & Molloy, The NY Daily News

Many of Hollywood's most outrageous secrets remained hidden. Until now. This book will set the graves of Hollywood's cemeteries spinning. --Daily Express (London)

About the Author

Darwin Porter's previous revelations about Hollywood and the underbelly private lives of its celebrities have appeared within such biographies as Brando Unzipped, The Secret Life of Humphrey Bogart, Howard Hughes: Hell's Angel, Hepburn (Katharine the Great; andJACKO (Michael Jackson), His Rise and Fall.

Four of these comprehensive biographies were serialized within London's Sunday Times or The Mail on Sunday, and each received acclaim from literary critics and in some rare instances, hate mail from readers. Porter, within the past four years, has received seven literary awards for his "salvaging of the oral histories of Hollywood," and been featured in literary reviews throughout the US, Australia, and Britain.

He was assisted in the compilation of Hollywood Babylon-It's Back, by Danforth Prince, a former reporter for the New York Times and president of Blood Moon Productions.

Porter and Prince are the co-authors of about 40 of the current titles within the European and Caribbean series of The Frommer Guides, a trusted name in travel publishing, a series which is produced and updated at annual intervals by John Wiley and Sons.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Blood Moon Productions; 1st edition (October 20, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0974811882
  • ISBN-13: 978-0974811888
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1 x 10.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #589,029 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Gunning on June 17, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I definitely enjoyed KENNETH ANGER's two books that this book is riding the coattails of. I also enjoy gossipy tell-alls, and have no problem with a tall tale. However, HOLLYWOOD BABYLON IT'S BACK is dubious trashy tidbits, obsessed with celebrity endowments, apparently written over many years, and poorly cobbled together with no real editor's discerning eye. Stars of yesteryear are "quoted" amusingly and then the same "quotes" are retooled with the essential tidbits changed to suit another chapter. NICK ADAMS' reputation is mercilessly trashed, and inaccurately (uhm... how could he have been servicing ELVIS when THE KING was watching the moon landing? ADAMS had been dead nearly a year and a half, as the book itself reports!!) Every stupid, groundless rumor you've ever heard about dead stars is offered as fact, though not a single principal is left to defend themselves. Over 350 pages, by page 126, I was appalled! Here's a quote: "In 1951 (HARRY) COHN offered (LUCILLE BALL) a trashy part in The Magic Carpet...With her commitments at Columbia finished, LUCILLE landed at RKO in 1935." So LUCILLE BALL finished up at Columbia in the early 1950s and "landed" at RKO in 1935...? Huh? This could have been better, but instead, HOLLYWOOD BABYLON IT'S BACK makes BOZE HADLEIGH appear reliable.
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Format: Hardcover
I found this book to be a disappointment. The layout of the pages is very amateurish and ugly. The information tries to sound scandalous but after a while becomes repetetive and even dull. I found myself skipping page after page just to look at the photographs, many of which are of poor quality and seem to have been lifted from the internet, without credit (one of them is mine, that I took of Lucille Ball a few weeks before her death). Some photographs look like they were printed from poor washd-out photocopies. (In their defense, perhaps all they could find of certain rare photos were photocopies, and so decided to print poor versions instead of none at all.) As with the original Hollywood Babylon 1 and 2 by Kenneth Anger, don't rely on these books for facts or truth. What's in them is embellished, at the very least, for titillation. Whatever truth may be contained in these books is basically lost in the stew of rumors, half-truths and outright fiction. A shame, since it doesn't even result in a very good read.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I enjoy trashy gossip more than most straight men, but Darwin Porter's shocking revelations are too outrageous to swallow. Disbelief is impossible for me to suspend.

Porter conjures gargantuan long-ago conversations that no living person could conceivably have witnessed, and only someone with a memory like Truman Capote could claim to remember in such detail even if the he or she had been on hand.

The stories have a suspicious sameness. Porter's standard scoops involve (a) everyone in the movies being gay, (b) endless slavering chitchat about the sizes of various famous men's equipment, and (c) allegations of numerous leading women having been prostitutes. There surely must be some fresher twists on these classic memes.

Finally, HB2 lacks the chain-saw wit that made Kanneth Anger's original Hollywood Babylon a classic. Porter's prose is just bitchy.

But should you buy it? If you treasure old-Hollywood gossip, sure. The only bad rumors are the boring ones. Triteness and repetition aside, the anecdotes are real page-burners. And maybe there is truth behind the legends.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a really bad book: badly organized, badly written, badly edited, badly proofread. If you can actually finish it, you will wonder how Hollywood ever got any movies made. Everyone named seems to be having serial sex with everyone else all the time. There are lots of old recycled stories here, but there are some new ones I had never encountered before: Lucille Ball's early days as a whore? James Dean raped a 13-yr-old boy? John Wayne or Elvis Presley might have ordered Nick Adams killed? Judy Garland's corpse was defiled? Jackie and Marilyn had a face-to-face showdown in Truman Capote's apartment a few weeks before Marilyn's death?

Since this is about Hollywood, I'm not sure why we got chapters on Pope Paul VI and Winston Churchill.

Someone should have proofread this book in order to avoid spelling Scorsese's name wrong. Same with Ann-Margret. Shelley Winters is called both a "confidant" and a "confidante." Something about Frank Sinatra (p.180) takes place in Beverly Hills, only to be repeated (p. 185) as having happened in Palm Springs. That is the problem with this book: the constant repetition. We'll read a few paragraphs on one page and on the same page we have pictures with long captions that repeat the same information although with different spelling, capitalization, and punctuation. I began to suspect that one author wrote the prose, while the other author write the captions, and they never bothered to compare or to agree on a writing style. They can't even agree on "premier" versus "premiere."

The grammar and punctuation errors are not to be believed. beserk? two wifes? 25,00 fans? God-give appendage?
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