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Hollywood Enigma: Dana Andrews (Hollywood Legends Series) Hardcover – July 16, 2012
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"With countless others, I have always admired Dana Andrews; now, Carl Rollyson has shown, in this scholarly and immensely readable book, why our admiration is not misplaced." -- Donald Spoto, author of biographies of Alfred Hitchcock, Laurence Olivier, Marilyn Monroe, Ingrid Bergman, Audrey Hepburn
"The fierce ambitions of Carver Dana Andrews, son of a Baptist preacher, might well have been imagined by Horatio Alger, Jr.-- or Samuel Goldwyn-- but not the hidden costs behind those achievements. Carl Rollyson compassionately captures the man behind the movie star." --Marion Meade, author of biographies of Buster Keaton and Woody Allen
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Of course it's the films that matter most, and Rollyson will make you want to go back and see not only Dana's acknowledged masterpieces -- Laura, The Best Years of Our Lives, and The Ox-Bow Incident, but also his lesser films, and even the bad ones, where Dana alone shines.
This is the story of a tragic, but ultimately good man, a brilliant artist whose love and dedication to his craft did not prevent his stumbling into crippling alcoholism. The biography is all the more beautiful for being so sympathetic to its subject -- the best life of an actor I have ever read.
Another thing I did before reading the biography was to engage in a Group on Facebook that discussed Dana Andrews. It was great to get perspectives from others on this great actor.
When I started the book, I think I picked it up and put it down over a dozen times. I never read a biography before. The style was totally different from anything I've read in the past.
One day, I opened the book and forged forward. I really related to Dana's father. I too am a pastor in the Church.
Once I got into the Dana's move out West, I got excited. I think it was from watching all the movies before I started reading the book. Now that I was moving through the book, I found I couldn't put it down.
Dana's drinking problem saddened me.
Overall, I LOVED this book. I think Mr. Rollyson did an exceptional job researching Mr. Andrews and developing his story. I am recommending this book to readers especially those who love reading about Hollywood stars.
Thank you Uncle Carl.
Within the rubric of Hollywood star biographies, this book is a fine example of detail and objectivity. It is certainly not a hagiography as the reader learns of Andrews' multi-faceted character and personality - both admirable and pitiable.
But there are certain passages that elevate this biography above others with the author's revealing analyses of particular movies. His interpretation and appreciation of scene after scene in Andrews' iconic film, "Fallen Angel," are so satisfying to read. For here within these several pages, the chronological account of a person's life is abandoned for a fascinating, insightful dissection of a film. This passage should be at one's side while watching this movie, as it will enhance one's viewing experience with his astute and perceptive writing. The significance and intentions of seemingly imperceptible gestures and details are brought to one's attention - adding to one's knowledge of Preminger's direction.
The reader yearns for more analytical (and even tangential) writing throughout this book - as it deepens one's empathy of Andrew's life and experiences - instead of a mere recitation and accounting of his life.