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  • Published: 19 November 2014
  • ISBN: 9780142180679
  • Imprint: Plume
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 304
  • RRP: $27.99

Scandals of Classic Hollywood: Sex, Deviance, and Drama from the Golden Age of American Cinema



Part biography, part cultural history, these stories cover the stuff that films are made of: love, sex, drugs, illegitimate children, illicit affairs, and botched cover-ups. But it's not all just tawdry gossip in the pages of this book.

Believe it or not, America's fascination with celebrity culture was thriving well before the days of TMZ, Perez Hilton, Charlie Sheen's breakdown and allegations against Woody Allen. And the stars of yesteryear? They weren't always the saints that we make them out to be. Film professor Anne Helen Petersen is here to set the record straight with Scandals of Classic Hollywood. Pulling little-known gems from the archives of film history, Petersen reveals eyebrow-raising information, including:
The smear campaign against the original It Girl, Clara Bow, started by her best friend The heartbreaking story of Montgomery Clift's rapid rise to fame, the car accident that destroyed his face, and the 'long suicide' that followed Fatty Arbuckle's descent from Hollywood royalty, fueled by allegations of a boozy orgy turned violent assault Why Mae West was arrested and jailed for 'indecency charges' And much more Part biography, part cultural history, these stories cover the stuff that films are made of: love, sex, drugs, illegitimate children, illicit affairs, and botched cover-ups. But it's not all just tawdry gossip in the pages of this book. The stories are all contextualized within the boundaries of film, cultural, political, and gender history, making for a read that will inform as it entertains. Based on Petersen's popular column on the Hairpin, but featuring 100% new content, Scandals of Classic Hollywood is sensationalism made smart.
'Delectably lucid and sympathetic cultural analysis.  Petersen brings a fresh, thoughtful perspective to a question that's still relevant: How does the Hollywood dream factory deal with its own nightmares?'  Mark Harris, author of Pictures at a Revolution and Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and the Second World War
'Reading Anne Helen Petersen's Scandals of Classic Hollywood feels a little like sitting in on  a slumber party hosted by the funniest, gossipy-est, and yet - somehow - kindest girl in school.  Who also can make decades old stories of sex, drugs, and violence seem sweaty, twisted, and new.'  Edith Zimmerman, founder of The Hairpin

  • Published: 19 November 2014
  • ISBN: 9780142180679
  • Imprint: Plume
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 304
  • RRP: $27.99

About the author

Anne Helen Petersen

Anne Helen Petersen is a senior culture writer for BuzzFeed. A former academic, Petersen received her PhD at the University of Texas at Austin, where she focused on the history of celebrity gossip. Her previous books, Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud and Scandals of Classic Hollywood, were featured in NPR, Elle, and the Atlantic. She lives in Missoula, Montana.

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