Sunday, February 15, 2015

A Touch of Stardust Takes Us to Pre-WWII Hollywood and the Set of Gone with the Wind

A Touch of StardustI'm not a Clark Gable fan and didn't watch or even read Gone with the Wind. But I do love most old movies. I'm a huge Colbert and Grant fan and looked forward to going behind the scenes in 1939 Hollywood.

It's not a bad story, but while I loved Alcott's previous titles, I found I didn't enjoy this one near as much. That's partly my fault. This is def geared at Gone with the Wind fans, and I'm not one. But it's also partly the telling of the tale. There's two different stories going on. The first is a young woman trying to find herself and make it as a screenwriter in Hollywood. Her parents want her back home and she must learn to stand up for herself and say, "Hey, I'm an adult..." She faces the usual struggles a woman back then would have faced trying to make it in the male-dominated industry, sexual harassment, prejudice, etc.

The Gables
The second story is Clark Gable and Carole Lombard's marriage/romance. The studio has to buy off his ex-wife; he and Carol are buying a ranch complete with bear rugs...

I felt like the book couldn't make up its mind who it was about and honestly, putting a small-town girl's romance next to Gable and Lombard's made it really diminish. Not to mention I didn't like the hero (Andy) at all. He was patronizing, always calling her "kid"; he was negative and just overall annoying. I wanted Julie to just move on and quit mooning over him.

Frances Marion
I did enjoy all the interesting tidbits though about this movie I've never seen: Vivien's cleavage trouble; Clark's bad breath and fake teeth and voice training and refusal to cry. I liked learning about screenwriting, about the groupwork, about the rewriting of duds. Learning about Frances Marion was another treat I took from this, a screenwriter who was also the first female to win an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. I love the role she plays as a mentor and helper to Julie.

But something didn't click for me between the two tales. No matter how often Julie went to Carole's and had the movie star serve her a scotch, the stories felt way too perpendicular, not parallel, and I think I'd have enjoyed this more had it just been one romance, one focus: the Gables, maybe even Carole's life and struggles to make it, with no Julie at all. As it was, going back and forth, focusing on one then the other, each story felt as though it was missing something, that it wasn't quite concluded.

I received this via Edelweiss. Photos are all courtesy of Wiki Commons.


  1. I like how you bring it down to "perpendicular, not parallel". I've noticed that in some other books.

    1. I was having a hard time expressing how I felt and that just seemed to really describe it. LOL Thanks for commenting. :)