- Hardcover: 560 pages
- Publisher: Custom House (November 13, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0062440519
- ISBN-13: 978-0062440518
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.4 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 34 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,831 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Seduction: Sex, Lies, and Stardom in Howard Hughes's Hollywood Hardcover – November 13, 2018
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“Guaranteed to engross anyone with any interest at all in Hollywood, in movies, in #MeToo and in the never-ending story of men with power and women without.” (New York Times Book Review)
“The stories Longworth uncovers—about Katharine Hepburn and Jane Russell, yes, but also Ida Lupino and Faith Domergue and Anita Loos—are so rich, so compelling, that they urge you to question how much else in history has been lost within the swirling vortex of Great Men.” (Atlantic)
“A compelling and relevant must-read.” (Entertainment Weekly)
“A first-rate work of cultural curation, in which Longworth combs the countless stacks of Hollywood memoirs and biographies, with a focus on the pathological predations of Howard Hughes, Texas millionaire, starmaker and film producer.” (USA Today (four stars))
“An astute and entertaining takedown of the movie industry, the press and the multimillionaire turned wannabe filmmaker Howard Hughes. Hardly anyone emerges from the pages of Seduction unblemished by selfishness and greed once they are touched by the movie business and its promise of wealth, power and fame.” (Associated Press)
“From the force behind the You Must Remember This podcast comes a book exploring the glamour of classic Hollywood cinema through the lens of Texas business magnate, filmmaker (Hell’s Angels, Scarface), and notorious womanizer Howard Hughes—think a Harvey Weinstein–esque character decades before #MeToo.” (Vanity Fair)
“Longworth blasts through the seductive narratives propagated by men in the film business to uncover the dark stories underneath.” (The Cut)
“Vibrant… A compulsive page-turner… Much of Seduction reads like a long overdue act of redress, repositioning women into the more central positions where they belong.” (Los Angeles Times)
“Longworth pulls back the curtain on Hollywood’s golden age to reveal, through the stories of some of the actresses pursued by legendary millionaire mogul Howard Hughes, its dark and lasting legacy of power inequity, harassment, and abuse.” (Bustle)
“Seduction reads like a scandal sheet tempered with primary and secondary research.” (Los Angeles Review of Books)
From the Back Cover
The host of the hugely popular podcast You Must Remember This explores Hollywood’s glamorous golden age via the cinematic life of Howard Hughes and the women who encountered him—sometimes at the expense of their minds and souls
Howard Hughes’s reputation as a director and producer of films unusually defined by sex dovetails with his image as one of the most prolific womanizers of the twentieth century. The promoter of bombshell actresses such as Jean Harlow and Jane Russell, Hughes supposedly included among his off-screen conquests many of the most famous actresses of the era, among them Billie Dove, Katharine Hepburn, Ava Gardner, Ginger Rogers, and Lana Turner. Some of the women in Hughes’s life were or became stars and others would stall out at a variety of points within the Hollywood hierarchy, but all found their professional lives marked by Hughes’s presence.
In Seduction, Karina Longworth draws upon her own unparalleled expertise and an unpreceded trove of archival sources, diaries, and documents to produce a landmark—and wonderfully effervescent and gossipy—work of Hollywood history. It’s the story of what it was like to be a woman in Hollywood during the industry’s golden age, through the tales of actresses involved with Howard Hughes. This was the era not only of the actresses Hughes sought to dominate, but male stars such as Errol Flynn, Cary Grant, and Robert Mitchum; directors such as John Ford, Howard Hawks, and Preston Sturges; and studio chiefs like Irving Thalberg, Darryl Zanuck, and David O. Selznick—many of whom were complicit in the bedroom and boardroom exploitation that stifled and disappointed so many of the women who came to Los Angeles with hopes of celluloid triumph.
In his films, Howard Hughes commodified male desire more blatantly than any mainstream filmmaker of his time and in turn helped produce an incredibly influential, sexualized image of womanhood that has impacted American culture ever since. As a result, the story of him and the women he encountered is about not only the murkier shades of golden-age Hollywood, but also the ripples that still slither across today’s entertainment industry and our culture in general.
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I got through it by skimming large sections of seemingly repeated events and information.
A fascinating if tiresome journey.
Longworth recounts Hughes’ affairs with Katherine Hepburn, Ava Gardner, Bette Davis and Ginger Rogers among the many. Although Hughes was certainly in a position of power, all of these relationships were consensual. Hughes also had a retinue of people on his payroll who were responsible for scouting “talent” for him. He certainly was an insatiable cad, but he also was a romantic.
For example when he was courting Katherine Hepburn he landed his biplane on golf course where she was practicing on. Even the very wealthy and prominent Katherine Hepburn could not resist such an entreaty. In fact Hepburn stood up to him like none of the others. Perhaps it came from her strong ego reinforced by her patrician background.
Longworth discusses the movies made by Hughes’ women and tries to fine deep social significance in them. To me most of those movies were entertainment and were not designed to enforce the mores of the day on an unsuspecting public. If Longworth lightened up a bit, she could have written a much better book.
For those who bored their high school friends, or opened new doors to them to watch (before recording to watch later), I have set alarms to wake for the late late show often. Now it is so much easier. But there is a reason that the time covered by this book is considered classic. The music of people like Franz Waxman. The performances by Hepburn and Cary Grant (especially HOLIDAY and the one where he almost played himself as a Cockney.)
So read it and get the films you don't know, and watch. Many are classics still.
Congratulations Karina, now write a book on the Mark Brothers!