Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Jennifer Frost's "Hedda Hopper’s Hollywood," the movie

Now showing at My Book, The Movie: Hedda Hopper’s Hollywood: Celebrity Gossip and American Conservatism by Jennifer Frost.

The entry begins:
Hollywood gossip columnist Hedda Hopper was a powerhouse of Hollywood’s golden age, and people either loved the “duchess of dish” or hated this “gargoyle of gossip.” For 27 years and 32 million readers over the mid-20th century, Hopper wrote her movie gossip column about the big stars, their movies and marriages, their secrets and scandals. What made her most stand out from the crowd of celebrity journalists of her day—apart from her famous, flamboyant hats—were her political coverage and her political conservatism. The intertwining of popular and political culture was exceptional in Hopper’s column but is commonplace in today’s mass media.

Whether reporting on entertainment or politics, Hopper wrote in a witty, catty style, wielding her gossip as a weapon. In return, she earned a reputation for herself in Hollywood as “unpredictable and ruthless,” “cold-blooded,” and “a vicious witch.” But she also was smart, blond, and attractive, always well groomed and dressed, and had many close friends and committed fans. Her great rival Louella Parsons, who preceded and competed with her in the Hollywood gossip business, was not one of them however. The Hopper-Parsons feud shaped both their careers, and should be a key plot line in the movie.

Hopper: Jane Alexander played a young Hopper in a 1985 television movie, Malice in Wonderland, but that movie only took Hopper to the start of her career and Alexander played her sweetly. To portray Hopper throughout her powerful career, Glenn...[read on]
Learn more about Hedda Hopper’s Hollywood at the publisher's website.

Jennifer Frost is senior lecturer in history at the University of Auckland, New Zealand.

At the Wall Street Journal, film historian Steven J. Ross named Hedda Hopper’s Hollywood on his list of the five best books about politics and the movie industry.

My Book, The Movie: Hedda Hopper’s Hollywood.

--Marshal Zeringue