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Life On Film Paperback – 1972
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Top customer reviews
Personally I have always enjoyed Mary Astor's films, especially RED DUST, THE MALTESE FALCON and MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS. I also enjoy her novels.
In A LIFE ON FILM Mary Astor freely shares her opinions about directors and fellow performers, especially when Astor's opinions differ from those of others. During her life the consensus was that Mary Astor was difficult, but worth the agony.
I encourage everyone to read both of her autobiographies, A LIFE ON FILM and MY STORY.
It's worth paying more to get OK typeface when paperback editions are not re-set so the typeface is OK in the smaller binding format.
This is a real issue people should consider. It's important to be comfortable when reading a book and the size of the typeface is important.
A Life on Film is Mary Astor's deeply engrossing journal of filmmaking and self-examination on and off camera.
Ms. Astor never wanted to be a star and take on the responsibility of carrying a film; she was more comfortable with being a featured player because it was almost a guarantee of longevity and growth as an actor. She grew up before the cameras and progressed from a "sweet girl" to more mature roles (unfortunately, someone's mother). I think of Myrna Loy who started by playing exotics to becoming "the perfect wife." One always had to be labeled. While she recognized the seriousness of filmmaking, she also saw the absurdities of those who made the films (herself included). She was shy, sensitive, perceptive, and very self-deprecating. She calls her early films "easily forgotten dreary movie magic." She writes of the boring and formulaic themes that ran through those early films: encountering obstacles but everything comes out all right in the end, the unsexy pairing with milquetoast actors, and the publicity machine one had to deal with (nothing's changed there). But while she pokes fun at her early films, there are chapters where she pays loving tribute to the films that not only made her well-known, but she truly enjoyed making: Red Dust, The Maltese Falcon and another of my absolute all-time favorites, Dodsworth. I was very pleased she had good things to say about favorite follow actors Walter Huston, Ann Harding and Bogey (of course). There is nothing gossipy here; it wasn't needed and she was too much of a lady for that. When she writes of the technical side of films, it's never dry (thank goodness), especially the harsh make-up techniques they had to endure, and special effects ("Klieg eyes") and I feel it's because of her deep love of the craft. She explains it to you in a way as if she's actually talking to you. The book is chock-full of great photos from her collection and is an excellent read for fans of Ms. Astor, film historians, and anyone interested in the early days of filmmaking.
Now, I want to read her novels.