PERFORMING ARTS

Mean…Moody…Magnificent! Jane Russell and the Marketing of a Hollywood Legend

Univ. of Kentucky. (Screen Classics). Jun. 2021. 372p. ISBN 9780813181080. $29.95. FILM
COPY ISBN
Though actress Jane Russell is probably best-remembered for costarring alongside Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Rice (Ann Dvorak: Hollywood’s Forgotten Rebel), a librarian at Los Angeles Public Library, aims to rectify that with this intricately researched biography that offers a far fuller portrait. Russell was born in Minnesota, and her parents moved to Los Angeles when she was a baby. Russell didn’t plan on becoming an actress, but a brief modeling career led to her discovery by Howard Hughes, who was looking for an unknown to star in his movie The Outlaw. The film was a breakout hit for Russell, though it was arguably more famous for the photo in which she posed provocatively on a haystack, and the resulting censorship assaults, than for her performance. Writing in a folksy, readable style, Rice shares the contradictions of Russell’s career and personal life: She was a sex symbol who studied the Bible, and while she was a staunch conservative, she advocated for social programs for orphaned children. Rice also explores Russell’s association with Hughes, which lasted for more than 30 years and was both a blessing and a curse.
VERDICT Whether readers are intimately familiar with the golden age of Hollywood, or are newcomers to the topic, they’ll come away having learned something about one of its stars.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


RELATED 

ALREADY A SUBSCRIBER?

We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing

ALREADY A SUBSCRIBER?