Monday, March 9, 2015

If You Love Classic Movies, Read Touch of Stardust

A Touch of Stardust
By Kate Alcott
Review copy

A Touch of Stardust was wonderful timing after reading Burial Rites. I needed something upbeat and light. I am glad I did.  Reading, Touch of stardust was literary, a touch of stardust. This is the second novel I read by Kate Alcott. The first was Dressmaker. Which was a wonderful to read as well.

I love novels that take place during the turn of the century to the 1930's. Loved the movie, Gone with the Wind. What a great combination for me. Do you know anyone that didn't think Clark Gable was H-O-T! Before hot was a word? LOL! You see before Brad Pitt, and Angelina Jollie, there was Clark and Carole.

 I have always loved the classic movies from MGM, Warner brothers, etc.  I have never read a book that fictionalized Hollywood, or the screen stars. But, I have read plenty of biographies of the stars, Judy Garland, Lucille Ball, Shirley Temple, etc. This was a treat.

A Touch of Stardust is about Julie Crawford from Indiana. With the protest of her parents she goes off in the sunset toward California. She arrives in Hollywood to make her mark. She's fired within a few days of arriving with the famous director( Selznick).  Which incidentially is during  the making of the contraversal movie, Gone with the Wind.

At the same time she is fated to meet Andy Weinstein who has plenty of connections. He gets her into another job working with, actress Carole Lombard as her assistant. With these connections she is at the movie studio during the making the movie. Which was not easy with Selznick( director). He was a very difficult person to get along with. At every turn of the making of GWTW, there seemed to be trouble.

Eventually Julie gets another break. She would rather be a screenwriter. She finalizes her play, and her friend Carole calls the famous Francis Marion. Ms. Marion, eventually is able to get her a job. She is working on a trial basis.
Francis Marion by the way is a famous screenwriter. She wrote many silent movies with Mary Pickford( silent film star). She is the first woman screenwriter that won an oscar.

In the meantime, there many things going on. Her boyfriend Andy, was Jewish.  What it was like to be Jewish during this time.( for me it was interesting). The relationship of Carole Lombard, and Clark Gable as they were not married yet, Learning about Hollywood, and how an actor or actress can get caught up in the razzle dazzle of it all.

The behind the scenes relationship of Rhett and Scarlett. How Clark Gable didn't like the fact that the black actors were not welcome in Atlanta when the premiere opened. Clark Gable was going to start a protest. The movie makers did not at the time want to start trouble in Europe. Movies that were made slid by without talking about war.

The best part was how the relationship of Carole and Julie played out. Carole was a wize cracker. I didn't realize she was a comedianne, and pretty much sprouted out everything not realizing the consequences. My favorite part was when Julie brought her parents over for a barbeque with Clark making the bar-b-que. I could picture this.

There are something that other reviewers were bothered by. They felt somethings were not realistic. But, this is fiction. The writer can play out the book how she wants. If it bothers you so much, then read a biography or memoir. I enjoyed reading A Touch of Stardust immensely.  I would love to read other fictionalized books about actors and the Hollywood business in the early years of MGM, Warner brothers, etc.  Thank you for the review copy from Penguin.

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