I've only read two memorable movie star biographies in the last year or so. One of them was Ava Gardner: Love is Nothing, by Lee Server. I highly recommend this book to anyone -- it's one of the rawest and most insightful bios of a movie star from the old-timey days that I've ever read in my life. The writing, research and overall focus is exceptional from start to finish. The other memorable bio I read was Nicole Kidman, by David Thompson. This was a book so eye-popping that I actually wrote up a full review of it for Cinematical, which you should read. It's not extraordinary for uncovering new information or for being a notably detailed biography of the actress -- no, it's extraordinary because the author, a known film critic, is in love with Kidman and writes the book from the point of view of the lovelorn. He actually gives the reader page after page of his Nicole Kidman fantasies, including one in which she's a high-class prostitute and he visits her brothel -- I kid you not.

I doubt that Dark Victory: The Life of Bette Davis, a forthcoming 500-page biography, will be as entertaining as either of those books, but it is expected to be a definitive portrait. The writer, Ed Sikov, has previously written biographies of Billy Wilder and Peter Sellers, as well as a book about screen comedy in the 1950s. I'll probably check out the book because of the buzz surrounding it, but I've never been a huge fan of Bette Davis. I don't feel she was terribly astute in her choices, and benefitted a lot more from luck in her career than from any kind of major, unstoppable talent. Anyway, Bette Davis fans should mark October 30 on their calendar -- that's when the book will be hitting shelves.

categories Features, Cinematical