Frank McLynn

Much Ado About Nothing

How to Be a Movie Star: Elizabeth Taylor in Hollywood

By

Faber & Faber 484pp £20 order from our bookshop

I ought to declare a prejudice straightaway, for Elizabeth Taylor has always left me cold, and that celluloid image so many raved about seemed to me merely a portrait of sullen, boorish, peevish arrogance. In the 1950s she was the apotheosis of Hollywood as glamour, a fitting star for MGM and its high production values, but not a scrapper like Bette Davis or Barbara Stanwyck. She played the studio game, colluded with its press agents and publicity machine, virtually invented the paparazzi, and either initiated or perfected many of the tricks of the image-shaping game that are common currency today.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • With our February issue about to go to press, enjoy a slice of LR history - Hilary Mantel on Joan Haslip's biograph… ,
    • What did London look like in the 6th Century? Rory Naismith's 'Citadel of the Saxons' tries to answer that questi… ,
    • Start your week with a dose of Russian Revolutionary zeal. Donald Rayfield reviews Tobie Mathew's 'Greetings From t… ,
    • A treat from the LR Archive: exactly 20 years ago, Malcolm Bradbury reviewed John Updike's 'Bech at Bay' ,
    • ‘When bullets come close, the noise they make as they go past changes from a zing to a crack’ John Lanchester's dy… ,
    • Man with a Bloody Paintbrush: Robin Simon on Lucian Freud ,
    • Jane Ridley reviews The Diaries of Kenneth Rose (ed. D R Thorpe) ,