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Seduction: Sex, Lies, and Stardom in Howard…
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Seduction: Sex, Lies, and Stardom in Howard Hughes's Hollywood (original: 2018; edição: 2019)

de Karina Longworth (Autor)

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10120211,500 (4.1)6
"A compelling and relevant must-read." -Entertainment Weekly In this riveting popular history, the creator of You Must Remember This probes the inner workings of Hollywood's glamorous golden age through the stories of some of the dozens of actresses pursued by Howard Hughes, to reveal how the millionaire mogul's obsessions with sex, power and publicity trapped, abused, or benefitted women who dreamt of screen stardom. In recent months, the media has reported on scores of entertainment figures who used their power and money in Hollywood to sexually harass and coerce some of the most talented women in cinema and television. But as Karina Longworth reminds us, long before the Harvey Weinsteins there was Howard Hughes--the Texas millionaire, pilot, and filmmaker whose reputation as a cinematic provocateur was matched only by that as a prolific womanizer. His supposed conquests between his first divorce in the late 1920s and his marriage to actress Jean Peters in 1957 included many of Hollywood's most famous actresses, among them Billie Dove, Katharine Hepburn, Ava Gardner, and Lana Turner. From promoting bombshells like Jean Harlow and Jane Russell to his contentious battles with the censors, Hughes--perhaps more than any other filmmaker of his era--commoditized male desire as he objectified and sexualized women. Yet there were also numerous women pulled into Hughes's grasp who never made it to the screen, sometimes virtually imprisoned by an increasingly paranoid and disturbed Hughes, who retained multitudes of private investigators, security personnel, and informers to make certain these actresses would not escape his clutches. Vivid, perceptive, timely, and ridiculously entertaining, Seduction is a landmark work that examines women, sex, and male power in Hollywood during its golden age--a legacy that endures nearly a century later.… (mais)
Membro:badams
Título:Seduction: Sex, Lies, and Stardom in Howard Hughes's Hollywood
Autores:Karina Longworth (Autor)
Informação:Custom House (2019), Edition: Reprint, 576 pages
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Seduction: Sex, Lies, and Stardom in Howard Hughes's Hollywood de Karina Longworth (2018)

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Mostrando 1-5 de 21 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
it's karina longworth so it's entertaining, nuanced, devastating, interested in the female perspective and fantastically written. i also just want to add that i didn't immediately pick this up when it came out even though i'm a huge "you must remember this" fan because i wasn't familiar with (or interested in) howard hughes at all and i can't emphasize enough how much this book is FOR people who don't know or care about howard hughes–- she uses his life as a wealthy, controlling, strange, mediocre man to write really insightfully about hollywood and specifically about the actresses in his orbit who are all 500 times more interesting and talented than he could ever be, and the tragedy of these women coming into contact with him.

also, as always, i was in a reading rut and this book had me up until 2am frantically turning pages. ( )
  okonomiyako | Nov 28, 2020 |
Esta resenha foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Resenhistas do LibraryThing.
Review of: Seduction: Sex, Lies, and Stardom in Howard Hughes's Hollywood,
by Karina Longworth
by Stan Prager (7-31-20)

“When people ask me if I went to film school, I tell them, 'No, I went to films,'” Quentin Tarantino famously quipped. While I’m no iconic director, I too “went to films,” in a manner of speaking. I was raised by my grandmother in the 1960s—with a little help from a 19” console TV in the living room and seven channels delivered via rooftop antenna. When cartoons, soaps, or prime time westerns and sitcoms like Bonanza and Bewitched weren’t broadcasting, all the remaining airtime was filled with movies. All kinds of movies: drama, screwball comedies, war movies, gangster movies, horror movies, sci-fi, musicals, love stories, murder mysteries—you name the genre, it ran. And ran. And ran. For untold hours and days and weeks and years.
Grandma—rest in peace—loved movies. Just loved them. All kinds of movies. But she didn’t have much of a discerning eye: for her, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre was no better or worse than Bedtime for Bonzo. At first, I didn’t know any better, and whether I was four or fourteen I watched whatever was on, whenever she was watching. But I took a keen interest. The immersion paid dividends. My tastes evolved. One day I began calling them films instead of movies, and even turned into something of a “film geek,” arguing against the odds that Casablanca is a better picture than Citizen Kane, promoting Kubrick’s Paths of Glory over 2001, and shamelessly confessing to screening Tarantino’s Kill Bill I and II back-to-back more than a dozen times. In other words, I take films pretty seriously. So, when I noticed that Seduction: Sex, Lies, and Stardom in Howard Hughes's Hollywood was up for grabs in an early reviewer program, I jumped at the opportunity. I was not to be disappointed.
In an extremely well-written and engaging narrative, film critic and journalist Karina Longworth has managed to turn out a remarkable history of Old Hollywood, in the guise of a kind of biography of Howard Hughes. In films, a “MacGuffin” is something insignificant or irrelevant in itself that serves as a device to trigger the plot. Examples include the “Letters of Transit” in Casablanca, the statuette in The Maltese Falcon, and the briefcase in Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. Howard Hughes himself is the MacGuffin of sorts in Seduction, which is far less about him than his female victims and the peculiar nature of the studio system that enabled predators like Hughes and others who dominated the motion picture industry.
Howard Hughes was once one of the most famous men in America, known for his wealth and genius, a larger-than-life legend noted both for his exploits as aviator and flamboyance as a film producer given to extravagance and star-making. But by the time I was growing up, all that was in the distant past, and Hughes was little more than a specter in supermarket tabloids, an eccentric billionaire turned recluse. It was later said that he spent most days alone, sitting naked in a hotel room watching movies. Long unseen by the public, at his death he was nearly unrecognizable, skeletal and covered in bedsores. Director Martin Scorsese resurrected him for the big screen in his epic biopic “The Aviator,” headlined by Leonardo DiCaprio and a star-studded cast, which showcased Hughes as a heroic and brilliant iconoclast who in turn took on would-be censors, the Hollywood studio system, the aviation industry and anyone who might stand in the way of his quest for glory—all while courting a series of famed beauties. Just barely in frame was the mental instability, the emerging Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder that later brought him down.
Longworth finds Hughes a much smaller and more despicable man, an amoral narcissist and manipulator who was seemingly incapable of empathy for other human beings. (Yes, there is indeed a palpable resemblance to a certain president!) While Hughes carefully crafted an image of a titan who dominated the twin arenas of flight and film, in Longworth’s portrayal he seems to crash more planes than he lands, and churns out more bombs than blockbusters. In the public eye, he was a great celebrity, but off-screen he comes off as an unctuous villain, a charlatan whose real skill set was self-promotion empowered by vast sums of money and a network of hangers-on. The author gives him his due by denying him top billing as the star of the show, rather giving scrutiny to those in his orbit, the females in supporting roles whom he in turn dominated, exploited and discarded. You can almost hear refrains of Carly Simon’s You’re So Vain interposed in the narrative, taunting the ghost of Hughes with the chorus: “You probably think this song is about you”—which by the way would make a great soundtrack if there’s ever a screen adaptation of the book.
If not Hughes, the real main character is Old Hollywood itself, and with a skillful pen, Longworth turns out a solid history—a decidedly feminist history—of the place and time that is nothing less than superlative. The author recreates for us the early days before the tinsel, when a sleepy little “dry” town no one had ever heard of almost overnight became the celluloid capital of the country. Pretty girls from all over America would flock there on a pilgrimage to fame; most disappointed, many despairing, more than a few dead. Nearly all were preyed upon by a legion of the contemptible, used and abused with a thin tissue of lies and promises that anchored them not only to the geography but to the predominantly male movers and shakers who dominated the studio system that literally dominated everything else. This is a feminist history precisely because Longworth focuses on these women—more specifically ten women involved with Hughes—and through them brilliantly captures Hollywood’s golden age as manifested in both the glamorous and the tawdry.
Howard Hughes was not the only predator in Tinseltown, of course, but arguably its most depraved. If Hollywood power-brokers overpromised fame to hosts of young women just to bed them, for Hughes sex was not even always the principal motivation. It went way beyond that, often to twisted ends perhaps unclear to even Hughes himself. He indeed took many lovers, but those he didn’t sleep with were not exempt to his peculiar brand of exploitation. What really got Howard Hughes off was exerting power over women, controlling them, owning them. He virtually enslaved some of these women, stripping them of their individual freedom of will for months or even years with vague hints at eventual stardom, abetted by assorted handlers appointed to spy on them and report back to him. Even the era of “Me Too” lacks the appropriate vocabulary to describe his level of “creepy!”
One of the women he apparently did not take to bed was Jane Russell. Hughes cast the beautiful, voluptuous nineteen year old in The Outlaw, a film that took forever to produce and release largely due to his fetishistic obsession with Russell’s breasts—and the way these spilled out of her a dress in a promotional poster that provoked the ire of censors. Longworth’s treatment of the way Russell unflappably endured her long association with Hughes—despite his relentless domination over her life and career—is just one of the many delightful highlights in Seduction.
The Outlaw, incidentally, was one of the movies I recall watching with Grandma back in the day. Her notions of Hollywood had everything to do with the glamorous and the glorious, of handsome leading men and lovely leading ladies up on the silver screen. I can’t help wondering what she might think if she learned how those ladies were tormented by Hughes and other moguls of the time. I wish I could tell her about it, about this book. Alas, that’s not possible, but I can urge anyone interested in this era to read Seduction. If authors of film history could win an Academy Award, Longworth would have an Oscar on her mantle to mark this outstanding achievement.


Review of: Seduction: Sex, Lies, Stardom in Howard Hughes's Hollywood, by Karina Longworth https://regarp.com/2020/07/31/review-of-seduction-sex-lies-stardom-in-howard-hug... ( )
  Garp83 | Jul 31, 2020 |
I knew it was going to be good because Karina Longworth, and it was.

(For sheer writing and research, this should get 5 stars. But Hughes was so awful, I can't do it.) ( )
  the_lirazel | Apr 6, 2020 |
I really like Karina Longworth's podcast You Must Remember This. unfortunately I find hh very boring.is it me, is it him or is it the writing. ( )
  mahallett | Jun 10, 2019 |
Esta resenha foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Resenhistas do LibraryThing.
You have heard about people who exhibit a fine line between insanity and genius. That adage could be applied to the man who inherited Hughes Tool Company. Howard Hughes Junior’s fortune started when his father died. The senior Howard Hughes was initially wealthy because of a company that manufactured drill bits for use in the oil fields. Howard Junior was the only inheritor of that wealth in 1924.

The younger Hughes parlayed his wealth into new pursuits after transplanting himself from Houston to California. There he veered off into two new lucrative directions. He produced motion pictures with his RKO studio organization, and also was big in early commercial aviation. Have you ever heard of TWA? If you are old enough, you remember TWA. He was the guy behind that venture.

A remarkable young author named Karina Longworth exhaustively researched exploits of the late Mr. Hughes. For an author so young, she shows a surprising interest in the time frame when cinema was transitioning into the era of “talkies.” She was not born until 1980, but the book resurrects names of many actresses with whom Hughes crossed paths. Examples include Clara Bow, Katherine Hepburn, Ava Gardner, Jane Russell, and Ida Lupino.

Hughes was a womanizer. Whether his young starlets slept with Hughes is not always something Ms. Longworth was able to discover, but she certainly dug into it. There are stories of things she learned that could be considered prurient interest. If Hughes were alive today I suspect it not unlikely that he would be sharing the spotlight with Harvey Weinstein.

The book is chock full of fascinating Hughes facts. He was a codeine addict near the end of his life. It could be considered a miracle that he did not meet his demise in a plane crash. There were crashes, and there were times when he barely escaped with his life. Films produced by Hughes came under close scrutiny by the censors. He continually pushed the limits with regards to what was considered acceptable screen fare for the day and age.

Longworth tells us that as Hughes as approached the end of his life, he feared black people and germs. He loved watching old movies and was known to view films in his own screening room. Sometimes he watched for hours while totally naked. To be able to request the movie he wanted to see late at night while watching TV, he purchased a television station in Las Vegas. He was an eccentric, quirky guy.

Thanks for a great book, Karina. It's called Seduction: Sex, Lies and Stardom in Howard Hughes Hollywood. This one is worth the maximum number of stars! ( )
  JamesBanzer | Feb 8, 2019 |
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"A compelling and relevant must-read." -Entertainment Weekly In this riveting popular history, the creator of You Must Remember This probes the inner workings of Hollywood's glamorous golden age through the stories of some of the dozens of actresses pursued by Howard Hughes, to reveal how the millionaire mogul's obsessions with sex, power and publicity trapped, abused, or benefitted women who dreamt of screen stardom. In recent months, the media has reported on scores of entertainment figures who used their power and money in Hollywood to sexually harass and coerce some of the most talented women in cinema and television. But as Karina Longworth reminds us, long before the Harvey Weinsteins there was Howard Hughes--the Texas millionaire, pilot, and filmmaker whose reputation as a cinematic provocateur was matched only by that as a prolific womanizer. His supposed conquests between his first divorce in the late 1920s and his marriage to actress Jean Peters in 1957 included many of Hollywood's most famous actresses, among them Billie Dove, Katharine Hepburn, Ava Gardner, and Lana Turner. From promoting bombshells like Jean Harlow and Jane Russell to his contentious battles with the censors, Hughes--perhaps more than any other filmmaker of his era--commoditized male desire as he objectified and sexualized women. Yet there were also numerous women pulled into Hughes's grasp who never made it to the screen, sometimes virtually imprisoned by an increasingly paranoid and disturbed Hughes, who retained multitudes of private investigators, security personnel, and informers to make certain these actresses would not escape his clutches. Vivid, perceptive, timely, and ridiculously entertaining, Seduction is a landmark work that examines women, sex, and male power in Hollywood during its golden age--a legacy that endures nearly a century later.

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