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Sabotage

Gavin Millar

13 September 1990
Citizen Welles: A Biography of Orson Welles 
by Frank Brady.
Hodder, 655 pp., £18.95, January 1990, 0 340 51389 6
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If this was happiness: A Biography of Rita Hayworth 
by Barbara Leaming.
Weidenfeld, 312 pp., £14.95, September 1989, 0 297 79630 5
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Norma Shearer 
by Gavin Lambert.
Hodder, 381 pp., £17.95, August 1990, 0 340 52947 4
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Ava’s Men: The Private Life of Ava Gardner 
by Jane Ellen Wayne.
Robson, 268 pp., £14.95, November 1989, 0 86051 636 9
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Goldwyn: A Biography 
by Scott Berg.
Hamish Hamilton, 579 pp., £16.95, September 1989, 0 241 12832 3
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The Genius of the System: Hollywood Film-Making in the Studio Era 
by Thomas Schatz.
Simon and Schuster, 514 pp., £16.95, September 1989, 0 671 69708 0
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... ever seen – Romeo and Juliet.’ This was an unsolicited plug for a limp movie that had Shearer straining after girlishness at the age of 34. But then her whole life, and career, were a strain. Scott Fitzgerald said on Thalberg’s death, ‘The Golden Bowl is broken,’ and the same might be said for Shearer’s career. A more accurate portrait of the Thalberg-Shearer ménage than the rabbi’s ...

‘Mmmmm’ not ‘Hmmm’

Michael Wood: Katharine Hepburn

11 September 2003
Kate Remembered 
by A. Scott Berg.
Simon and Schuster, 318 pp., £18.99, July 2003, 0 7432 0676 2
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... than secrets or privacy; with Dietrich it’s an elegant contempt for whatever mush surrounds her, even when she’s supposed to be falling for the mush; and with Hepburn . . . Well, this is what ScottBerg’s vivid and subtle memoir is all about. Berg, the biographer of Maxwell Perkins, Sam Goldwyn, Charles Lindbergh and (in the works) Woodrow Wilson, first met Hepburn in 1982, when she was 75 ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: Katharine Hepburn

5 March 2015
... performance, contradict the story. She can’t be fooled, as her character is. Tracy thinks he has to explain to her what the phrase ‘Vive la différence’ means. As if she hadn’t always known. ScottBerg, thinking of a later Hepburn movie, makes a fine, understated remark: ‘It was ultimately difficult for an audience – to say nothing of the star herself – to accept Katharine Hepburn as ...

A, E♭, C, B

Paul Driver: Robert Schumann

21 February 2008
Robert Schumann: Life and Death of a Musician 
by John Worthen.
Yale, 496 pp., £25, July 2007, 978 0 300 11160 6
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The Cambridge Companion to Schumann 
edited by Beate Perrey.
Cambridge, 302 pp., £19.99, June 2007, 978 0 521 78950 9
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Schumann’s Late Style 
by Laura Tunbridge.
Cambridge, 246 pp., £50, October 2007, 978 0 521 87168 6
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... composer telling Wieck: ‘when I play Schubert, it’s as if I were reading a novel “composed” by Jean Paul.’ And in his chapter on Schumann’s ‘Novel Symphonies and Dramatic Overtures’, Scott Burnham, one of the non-specialists, sees the four symphonies as embodying the diversity of ‘characters’ and ‘tones’ that Schumann found in Jean Paul’s writing and heard echoed in Schubert ...

Mad to Be Saved

Thomas Powers: The Kerouac Years

25 October 2012
The Voice Is All: The Lonely Victory of Jack Kerouac 
by Joyce Johnson.
Viking, 489 pp., £25, September 2012, 978 0 670 02510 7
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... he ever did, thought or felt, often in multiple versions, creating, in addition to his shelf of autobiographical novels, a vast manuscript archive of notes, letters and diaries – now housed in the Berg Collection of the New York Public Library. Six of the women in Kerouac’s life – his first two wives and four occasional lovers – either wrote books about him or were the subject of books ...
30 October 1997
... conjugal fidelity brings with it the danger, and usually the actuality, of something that will obliterate it. Most critics who have written about Beethoven’s heroic middle period – most recently, Scott Burnham, but also Paul Robinson, for whom Fidelio is a relatively uncomplicated enactment of the French Revolution – can see nothing except the triumphalism with which he appears to end these works ...

What I heard about Iraq in 2005

Eliot Weinberger: Iraq

5 January 2006
... to the Sunnis and allowing them to come into the constitutional drafting process in a very constructive and healthy way. So there’s an awful lot good that’s happening in that country.’ I heard Scott McClellan, the White House press secretary, say: ‘I think we have a clear strategy for success, and there is great progress being made on the ground. We are succeeding and we will succeed.’ I ...

Memoirs of a Pet Lamb

David Sylvester: A Memoir

5 July 2001
... fifty runs of a Bradman innings. The sport he took me to of his own accord, apart from racing on the flat, was boxing, on Sunday afternoons at the Ring, Blackfriars, especially when Jack ‘Kid’ Berg was fighting.For that visit to Lord’s with Nurse, I chose the annual contest between Gentlemen and Players, which meant that I would be seeing the best English amateurs of the day play the best ...

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