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Hollywood Babylon: The Legendary Underground Classic of Hollywood's Darkest and Best Kept Secrets [Mass Market Paperback]

Kenneth Anger
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 9.99
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Book Description

Nov. 15 1981
Originally published in Paris, this is a collection of Hollywood's darkest and best kept secrets from the pen of Kenneth Anger, a former child movie actor who grew up to become one of America's leading underground film-makers.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Good for a laugh. Oct. 16 2006
By Hodiak
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Hollywood is not the scandal ridden, seedy place a lot of people seem to think it is. Sure there were people who had no redeeming qualities and yes there were unsolved celebrity murders, but there are also several stories of great things happening there just like any other place. In any case several stories are only myths and this book is no exception.

Speaking for both the Hollywood Babylon books, this book is full of it. There is no evidence that Cary Grant and Randolph Scott were lovers and yet there it is in the book as if it were fact. Parrish speaks about Judy Garland as if she were a pill popping queen and yet she tried to get off the pills all her life. She did not commit suicide, it was an accidental overdose, people forget she was a survivor and think of her only as a tragedy.

Combining both books together, what is the deal with presenting sisters Lillian and Dorothy Gish as lovers and then offer no explanation or proof just a photo caption with saying they were lovers. That's the problem with this book, Parrish offers us a story and then refuses to delve further. He has the Mauch twins on a horse together with the caption "Closer than Close" and that's it. What's the deal with the photo of "Petty Girl" Robert Cummings in drag, and Van Johnson dressed up as a Reverand. It was only a gag photo in a studio. Does Parrish seem to think that this photo hints at a different side to both Cummings and Johnson?.

The front cover picture of Elizabeth Taylor was not flattering either, this is what Parrish does best, he makes all the stars look like trash.
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4.0 out of 5 stars fun Jan. 28 2012
Format:Mass Market Paperback
overall, hollywood babylon is an interesting and engrossing read. as with any book on old hollywood, it's important to take the insinuations made by the author with a grain of salt, since the individuals being profiled are unfortunately no longer alive and able to tell their side of the story. sure, there are flat-out factual inaccuracies (in terms of dates of events, etc.), but i think this book has great entertainment value and is well worth the time to read it if you love gossip and know enough not to take what you read too seriously.
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2.0 out of 5 stars SICK, SICK, SICK! Dec 5 1999
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Hollywood Babylon is like the movie, "Alive," in that it was great, but so sickening, you're not sure whether or not you want to recommend it to anyone. If you're of the faint of heart and want to hold onto cherished memories of the Golden Age of Hollywood, don't read it at all; you will be grossed out completely and may even lose your mind from the depravity. If you're of a stronger constitution, you may like it, but be prepared for grisly photos of dead people, revolting scandals and disgusting incidents. But if you're just a sick puppy, this book's for you! I, for one, am not one, so I gave it three stars. I would've given it four, but I had to deduct a point for the Tackyness Factor (c'mon--did we really need to see a picture of Jayne Mansfield's mangled dead dog after her fatal car crash? Yeeesh!). At any rate, buy this book if you like, but remember--you've been warned!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Anger is the right name for this guy! March 5 2007
Both Hollywood Babylons are full of lies and gossip. Some might find it titilating, but have a close look at the faces in some of the pictures. The nudes he implies are Jean Harlow in the first book are not even her. One of the nudes which is supposedly Joan Crawford is definitely not her. Anger makes insinuations of all kinds that he never explains, much less backs up. The spread on the Black Dahlia is tasteless and insensitive to the extreme. Some of the pictures are fun, but there are plenty of books out there with good pictures -- spend your money on one of them and not this trash by a failed actor and director of colossally boring "Art" films.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a book that is a fun guilty-pleasure!!! July 16 2004
By Kate C.
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Hollywood is a place i have always dreamed about and have NEVER wanted to visit, and this book only solidifies my conviction.
what's great about it is that all of our present day sandals-- OJ, Michael Jackson, J-Lo, the list goes on-- seem like small potatoes compared to the movers and shakers of the Golden Age of Cinema. Drug overdoeses, sex, violence, police corruption, and hintings of the underworld ran rampant and Anger's prose in the style of a tabloid is so engaging i couldn't put this book down!
and i'm not ashamed to admit that the pictures (which were helpful in stories regarding actors i had never heard of before) add to the narrative in surreal and funny ways *** check out the picture of Jayne Mansfield's dead dog at the end!
a fun and quick read for the summer!
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3.0 out of 5 stars An inside glimpse of Tinsel Town May 6 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Kenneth Anger, once a child actor himself, unvales and points both barrels at Hollywood and its subculture of excess and outrageousness. Anger tells many stories of Hollywood's greats and not so great throughout the early history of films to the more recent personalities of the golden era of movies (1920s to 1950s). The book is writen in a gossipy National Enquire tone and is entertaining. However, after reading through the book, it seems that the author has a vendetta against Hollywood and is quick to shine the spotlight to uncover the weaknesses and shortcomings of the stars. One cannot help but feel that Anger, (an interesting last name for the author), may have had his own dreams broken by Hollywood and writes to salve his own bitterness about his encounters with Tinsel Town. If not for this edge to the writing, it would have gotten a higher rating. Just the same, if you are interested in Hollywood, in all its foibles, this may be a good read for you.
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars The Worst Book I've Encountered In Some Time
This book is questionable as far as accuracy. For example, I have read several recent books on Judy Garland. Read more
Published on April 14 2004
2.0 out of 5 stars Good For The Photos Only
The photos are rare, and oftentimes very shocking, but the books overall are nothing but half-truths and outright fabrications. Read more
Published on March 13 2004 by Heidi Crabtree
1.0 out of 5 stars Lies, lies and more lies
Kenneth Anger obviously hates Hollywood. So he writes this book based on gossip magazines that has little facts in truth. Read more
Published on Jan. 8 2004
3.0 out of 5 stars A full-sized load of Hollywood's dirty laundry
Reading this book probably wasn't the best way to learn of Hollywood's sordid trash, when I bought this ages ago, but I didn't have a movie encyclopedia at the time, which would... Read more
Published on Sept. 22 2003 by Daniel J. Hamlow
4.0 out of 5 stars A "Must Read" on Hollywood History
Hollywood Babylon is a definate must read for anyone interested in Hollywood history. I doubt if everything in the book is accurate. It reads like a tabloid. Read more
Published on Aug. 13 2003 by Donna Grayson
5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious, malicious fun! (but don't believe a word of it)
Kenneth Anger's trash classic is still worth a look after all these years. No, this is not the book for those tender and naive dears among us who still think "they wouldn't print... Read more
Published on July 27 2003
1.0 out of 5 stars If You Like To Read Lies, This Book Is For You
Hollywood Babylon is filled with inaccuracies and slander, but if that's your cup of tea, go for it.
Published on May 28 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Stars Shimmer as they get Dimmer
Like any newspaper article, events are turned into "stories." These "stories", like any silver screen biography, tells the dramatic tale of a life in turmoil. Read more
Published on Dec 5 2002 by rareoopdvds
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