By Mark Griffin
Drawing on greater than a hundred interviews with such icons as Kirk Douglas, Angela Lansbury, Lauren Bacall, Tony Curtis, and George Hamilton, Griffin turns the highlight at the enigmatic “elegant director,” revealing long-kept secrets and techniques on the middle of Minnelli’s genius.
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Extra resources for A Hundred or More Hidden Things: The Life and Films of Vincente Minnelli
The curse of Vincente Minnelli is really the curse of eighty-five percent of Hollywood’s great artists,” says film scholar Jeanine Basinger: Jerry Lewis is a great filmmaker but, you know, he just acts funny. Raoul Walsh is a great director but he just makes action and gangster films. It’s really the curse of people not taking Hollywood seriously. ” In some ways, people fear fantasy. They fear escapism. They’re afraid it’s trivial. And people don’t want to take film on it’s most artistic terms.
Mina continued performing—as a visibly pregnant ingénue—until the latest possible moment. When she could hold out no longer, she retreated to her mother’s house. On February 28, 1903, Lester Minnelli made his debut in Chicago. Years later, there would be an enormously successful return engagement. AS SOON AS LESTER WAS OLD ENOUGH, his parents worked him into the act. “I played the children’s parts whenever there were any to play,” he recalled. It was Lester’s unforgettable performance in the Minnelli Brothers’ production of the creaky melodrama East Lynne that sealed his fate as an actor.
Ever the industrious impresarios, the Minnelli boys came equipped with their own electric-light plant, folding chairs (for reserved seats), and bleachers (for general admission). If all that wasn’t enough, the Mighty Dramatic Company could even deliver a vivacious star who had once graced the Broadway stage. Lester’s mother, Mina Le Beau, in 1938. c While appearing on the bill of a Charles A. Loder revue, Mina met V. C. Minnelli. It was anything but love at first sight, as almost immediately, the star and her musical director clashed over her accompaniment.
A Hundred or More Hidden Things: The Life and Films of Vincente Minnelli by Mark Griffin