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Barbara Stanwyck: The Miracle Woman (Hollywood Legends)

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3.05 of 5 stars 3.05  ·  rating details  ·  41 ratings  ·  14 reviews

Barbara Stanwyck (1907-1990) rose from the ranks of chorus girl to become one of Hollywood's most talented leading women-and America's highest paid woman in the mid-1940s. Shuttled among foster homes as a child, she took a number of low-wage jobs while she determinedly made the connections that landed her in successful Broadway productions. Stanwyck then acted in a stream

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Hardcover, 252 pages
Published February 3rd 2012 by University Press of Mississippi (first published December 7th 2011)
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Sandi Steinberg
Callahan assumes that every decision and feeling in Stanwyck's life came from her hardscrabble childhood about which little is known.

He's very hard on a lot of her movies and a lot of her costars, but he's quite right about the miscasting of several of them.

Stanwyck was very private and had only a small cadre of friends, it appears. It would have been a far richer book if Callahan had gotten more of them to talk and share insight into this tough, talented woman (who Callahan annoyingly refers to
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Katie
Jul 18, 2012 Katie marked it as missions-incomplètes
This isn't a biography. It's a slow, detailed description of the movies she starred in.
Leslie
Callahan says upfront that he will supply just as much information about Stanwyck's personal life as he needs to frame a discussion of her career, so if you're looking for a gossipy movie-star-tell-all biography, this is not the book for you (not that movie-star-tell-all biographies aren't all sorts of fun when they're done well, of course). But Callahan is interested in the films. So he gives us the basics of her life: tough childhood characterised by poverty, neglect, and abandonment in pre-WW ...more
Patty
More of a filmography than a biography, Stanwyck super fan Dan Callahan does present an exhaustive review of the film and TV star's work while providing just enough details of her personal life to explain the motivation behind Stanwyck's often 'tough cookie' persona. Rising above a tough childhood and a couple of miserable marriages, Stanwyck was a pro who preferred to get it right on the first take, liked to do her own stunts (an early one resulted in a life-long back injury) and managed to mak ...more
Kimberly Mussell
I gave this two stars as it basically was a synopsis of her movies. Was hoping for more of a personal read on her life.
Benjamin
Interesting approach to a biography, by structuring each chapter by groupings of Stanwyck's films, and not simply going chronologically through her career. Unfortunately there wasn't much on here private life, but this might simply be due to her leading a very private life!
She certainly is an interesting personality and a great actress, such a pity that she was such a staunch Republican! I love and respect her as an actress, not sure I would have liked to have been friends with her, though...
Heather
This book was described as a biography, but was in fact more of a filmography. It still was a quick and interesting read about the life and career of one of classic Hollywood's most under-rated actresses. The author analyzed each film in a manner more befitting the casual viewer rather than a film critic, and interjected the book with stories and anecdotes from Ms. Stanwyck's private life. All in all, an enjoyable book.
Linda
I was not impressed by this book. It was not a biography but a recap of the various movies she had made and the television series she had starred in. From the brief glimpses of her personal life given, she appeared to be a very selfish individual. She had adopted a son during her first marriage and totally ignored the boy even up to the time of her death.
Jane
The author took too many liberties, for my taste, with the heart and mind of Stanwyck. There were some interesting anecdotes, though I didn't always agree with the conclusions drawn here during analysis of her work. The author gets in the way of the subject. The few tidbits of impressions from those who knew and worked with her only left me wanting more.
Angela
Feb 19, 2012 Angela rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Biography
I absolutely love Barbra Stanwyck so this book was a delight to read. Though the author expressed more of what he thought as opposed to what Ms. Stanwyck thought, there were still quite a bit of revealing stories about life in Hollywood in the 1930's. If you have any interest in the silver screen then this should be read.
Brenda Osborne
I am a big fan of this amazing actress but didn't care for the book. I just didn't like the style of talking in-depth about the movies. Some intriguing information was hinted at, but never expanded on. The treatment of her adopted son made me loose respect for her, but did we get the whole picture?
Kathie
Great survey of Stanwyck's films that meticulously details every single one of her projects. The more personal and professional (and more interesting) details of the actress come out in bits and pieces scattered throughout, almost as asides. Fascination nonetheless.
J.
Unless you were an expert on Barbara Stanwyck movies you will be lost in the book. The author is obviously in love with Stanwyck and is in awe of most of her movies and dismissive of her co-stars and directors.
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