|Product Details |
Phoenix Press, London WC2
Think of Greta Garbo: imagine aloofness, eyelashes, huskiness, naturalness, "the smell of freshly mown hay." Think of Cecil Beaton: imagine camp foppery, narcissism, extravagance, artifice, "a snotty peacock." The two met once in 1932, then not again for 14 years, at which point they became embroiled in a thrillingly uneven relationship marked by projection, mismatched desire, and masochism. So what was the "terrible homosexualist" society photographer doing with "the divine" actress? Amateur psychologists, sharpen your pencils. Diana Souhami wisely does not allow herself to extemporize too wildly, despite the understandable allure of such an alliance. Along with the Scandinavian shoulders and paddle feet, Garbo also possessed a Nordic cold melancholy, rendering her screen portrayals attractively distant and her own self frustratingly absent. The truth was that she did not seem to possess a character to match her undoubted grace and beauty. Beaton, on the other hand, was instinctively bright and bursting with desire to be adored. He matched her indolence with bustling industry. At times, particularly in the recounting of his early days, his obnoxiousness borders on the unbearable, and Souhami barely conceals her disgusted glee. But she is superb at reining in such characters, as she showed in Gertrude and Alice, and she thrives on the challenge of eliciting respect for the sheer indomitable life force of such individuals. Beaton pursued the artificial throughout his life, and nothing could be more superficial than the hollow idealized self he saw in Garbo.
Absence--physical, emotional, and sexual--pervades every aspect of this book. Souhami's sympathetic and shrewd attentions coax a tragic and complicatedly familiar story from two masters of illusion who are united, then estranged, by their lonely natures--uncomfortable in their own skins but ultimately unable to live within each other's. --David Vincent, Amazon.co.uk --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The author of the biography, Gertrude and Alice, discusses the relationship between the enigmatic and elusive Hollywood actress and the celebrated Hollywood photographer, discussing Garbo's loves, Cecil Beaton's flamboyance, and more. 15,000 first printing. $25,000 ad/promo. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The story of the tempestuous romance between screen goddess Greta Garbo and society photographer Cecil Beaton--two enigmatic and iconic legends of the 30s. Best-selling author Souhami has drawn on diaries, letters, photographs, and films to show they both infused their work with the allure of androgyny--while concealing it in their private lives. A beautiful picture of two remarkable individuals and their era. "Compelling reading."--Literary Review. "...fascinating insight..."--Elle.