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Barbara Stanwyck: The Miracle Woman

Hollywood Legends
Narrated by: Colleen Patrick
Length: 11 hrs and 3 mins
3 out of 5 stars (18 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Barbara Stanwyck (1907-1990) rose from the ranks of chorus girl to become one of Hollywood's most talented leading women-and America's highest paid woman in the mid-1940s. Shuttled among foster homes as a child, she took a number of low-wage jobs while she determinedly made the connections that landed her in successful Broadway productions. Stanwyck then acted in a stream of high-quality films from the 1930s through the 1950s. Directors such as Cecil B. DeMille, Fritz Lang, and Frank Capra treasured her particular magic. A four-time Academy Award nominee, winner of three Emmys and a Golden Globe, she was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Academy.

Dan Callahan considers both Stanwyck's life and her art, exploring her seminal collaborations with Capra in such great films as Ladies of Leisure, The Miracle Woman, and The Bitter Tea of General Yen; her Pre-Code movies Night Nurse and Baby Face; and her classic roles in Stella Dallas, Remember the Night, The Lady Eve, and Double Indemnity. After making more than eighty films in Hollywood, she revived her career by turning to television, where her role in the 1960s series The Big Valley renewed her immense popularity.

Callahan examines Stanwyck's career in relation to the directors she worked with and the genres she worked in, leading up to her late-career triumphs in two films directed by Douglas Sirk, All I Desire and There's Always Tomorrow, and two outrageous westerns, The Furies and Forty Guns. The book positions Stanwyck where she belongs-at the very top of her profession-and offers a close, sympathetic reading of her performances in all their range and complexity.

The book is published by University Press of Mississippi.

©2012 Dan Callahan (P)2013 Redwood Audiobooks

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Loving and analytical deep dive into Stanwyck

I loved this book! I was wary because I saw a review that said it was mostly a filmography, but I am so glad I took a chance on it anyway. It has much more information than the other Stanwyck offering available on Audible by Charles River Editors. The author clearly enjoys and admires Stanwyck, and that's what took this book from "good" to "delightful" for me. The book discussed her personal life as well as her movies, and went into a lot of film, scene, director, and acting choice analysis, which was really interesting! The author would contrast Stanwyck's performance with how other actresses of the day would have played it, and I appreciated the analysis. I also found a lot of the descriptions of directors and their competence humorous. The book really seems like a love letter to Stanwyck and old movies. Great author, and great narration! If you enjoy film, particularly film history, you will enjoy this.

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  • Jane
  • Estevan, SK, Canada
  • 06-28-13

Awful, Amatuerish & Boring

Would you try another book from Dan Callahan and/or Colleen Patrick?

Nope. The writing is no better than any run of the mill self serving blog.

Has Barbara Stanwyck: The Miracle Woman turned you off from other books in this genre?

No, because it's cataloged wrong. There is almost no biography here, it's solely a listing of filmography with some fawning by the author in between.

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

The narration is great, no issues at all. Shame a talent is wasted on a lousy book.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Extremely disappointed. I can WATCH the movies myself. I want to know about the person. Why publish a filmography that's online for free?

Any additional comments?

Waste of a credit.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • audrey platt
  • 10-25-16

Rather Dull

Really struggled with this book made a great movie star pretty dull. Over descriptive chapters on some bad movies.

Sweeping statements regarding other actors im not sure Ms Stanwyck would enjoy this rather dry interpretation of her work.