Now, Charlotte Chandler, the acclaimed biographer of Ingrid Bergman (Ingrid), Bette Davis (The Girl Who Walked Home Alone), and Groucho Marx (Hello, I Must Be Going), gives us a revealing and often surprising portrait of Joan Crawford, much of it in Joan Crawford's own words.
©2008 Charlotte Chandler; (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
I'm not sure what this biography adds to the Crawford mystique, but for my money it doesn't add anything. The author stuffed the book with unnecessary facts and descriptions of Crawford's films for no apparent reason (other than to pad the skimpy book). There's not a single fact or insight that hasn't been made before (and better!). And the pretentious narration left me confused: no change of inflection, no attempt to differentiate one character from another, the narrator sounds as if she's reading a papal encylical and with all the passion of an accountant. Bad all around.
Yes, the narrator has an affected way of speaking and mispronounces basic movie names (Joseph Mankiewicz as Man KEE a WITZ), and yes the plot summaries are unnecessary and substitute for more substantive details about Crawford's life. Still, this gives a good picture of Crawford's marriage to Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., with extensive interviews, and you get used to the narrator after a while. The story is compelling despite these flaws.
Whether the content written by author Chandler is true or not, I find it appalling that the narrator appears to have prepared less than adequately for her performance. She pronounces a number of names incorrectly, such as Charles Boyer (pronounced "Boi-yuhr", as opposed to the expected "Boi-yay") and Jack Palance (Pa-LANCE instead of the correct PAL-ance). There is a deliberate pacing that could be admirable until I positively cringe with such pronunciation errors.
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