Reviews - What do customers think about Grace Kelly (Movie Icons)?
S O....M U C H....I N.....O N E...S M A L L ....B O O K...! Aug 18, 2008
MOST BOOKS....ESPECIALLY MOST BOOKS ABOUT THE MOVIES, ARE MUCH LARGER THAN THIS ONE. IN SIZE, (LENGTH X HEIGHT). This book, ("Movie Icons - Grace Kelly", published by Taschen, edited by Paul Duncan. with text by Glen Hopp, and photos from the Kobol Collection), is smaller in it's height and width, ( ) -- but has 192 pages, all of fine quality photo paper, and brimming with many, many photos, and a very informative text. Like all the books in the "Movie Icons" series, (and there are so many wonderful ones to choose from!), this smaller page size enables the publishers to bring more photos to the reader, at a lower price, and to add a just about the best binding I have seen in any paper-back book to date! Also, this nice small, (but not too small size), makes it lighter amd easier to carry, (and so look through more often!), than larger, more luxurious, (and more expensive!) books! Nothing except size has been in the least stinted on here...it is truly a neat, easily-carried little book, with a full compliment of some of Grace Kelly's most memorable photos, on-screen and off.
This is a truly international book. Taschen, the publisher. has offices in Hong Kong, Kolin, (Berlin?), London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Paris and Tokyo. Each picture in the book has a caption -- in English, in German, and in French! So -- along with learning more about Grace Kelly/Princess Grace, you can also learn a few words of another language, (or two!) whilst perusing these pages!
The photos here ARE wonderful. (If this and the other "Movie Icons" books were sized more like other books, it probably would command at least three times the price!) The introductory essay, "Grace Kelly: Cool Beauty", is repeated in all three languages -- each prefaced by a different picture of Ms. Kelly! A "Visual Filmography", of black-and-white and colour pictures follows....with at least 10 stills, (pictures), from each film. The captions are informative -- and sometimes give surprising information to the reader just getting acquainted with the details of Ms. Kelly's life. (For instance, there is a full-page still of Grace Kelly and Ava Gardner in "Mogambo". Grace's character is the wide-eyed innocent, looking up curiously at Ms. Gardner's obviously worldly, blase character. One would think these two characters came from different planets, not just different backgrounds, (Ms. Gardner came from an extremely poor family). But the caption says that, after working together, Ava Gardner and Grace Kelly became life-long friends! The actresses did -- their characters in "Mogambo" sure didn't! Though it has been said that Grace Kelly chose her parts carefully, knowing her range of acting was NOT unlimited, this still from "Mogambo" shows that, within a limited range, or not within a limited range, (and the role for whch she won her Oscar, "The Country Girl", showed just how great a range of emotions she did have on-screen!), Ms. Kelly could emote in a totally believable manner!
On pages 116-120, is an interesting reprint of an article, "Home Town Report on Grace Kelly", by Patty de Roulf. The source is not given -- but it seems to be from a Sunday supplement of either a Philadelphia, or a national newspaper or magazine. It gives a picture of the young Grace Kelly, growing up like most normal American kids, (only a little richer). Pictures of her family, and high school friends are in this article as well -- and one is fascinated by it. Along with everything else, is a full-page, full-colour portrait of Grace, smiling happily at the camera, wearing jeans and being barefoot, sitting on a rock in a local forest or park, fishing with a twig fishing-pole! (Naturally, her hair is perfectly coiffed, and her blouse has a paisley print -- but you can still tell that she is truly enjoying herself -- or else she would probably have insisted on being photographed in more citified surroundings!) Sadly, when page 120 is reached, the article says, "Please turn to Page 67"....but the balance of the article is missing. I guess it is really lost -- else I'm sure it would have been printed here.
There are two especially delightful and natural pictures from the set of "To Catch A Theif". One, in full colour, shows Alfred Hitchcock and Grace on the bottom steps of what seems a grand hotel. Mr. Hitchcock is looking at Grace -- in full 18th century ballgown wardrobe for the ball scene -- and Grace...despite the elegance of her attire, is looking past him, her mouth open, and she seems to be saying something like: "Hey...we were promised food here an hour ago!" to a person off the picture, while Mr. Hitchcock looks on, somewhat in amusement, but much more in admiration. The other, in black & white, shows Grace giving Mr. Hitchcock a haircut, whilst wearing the same ballgown -- as smiles play about both their faces, and that of an onlooker, (the real barber?) in the background.
A still from "High Society", (one of 14), shows Grace hand-in-hand with Frank Sinatra. Her character is trying to learn from his character....and Grace, looking at Mr. Sinatra, seems to know she, as an actress, can learn much from him.....
Towards the end are two pictures of Grace as Princess. One, shows a back (inside) view of Rainier and Grace, waving from the palace balcony. The other is a picture of Grace, self-assured, in the latest coutour hat.
On page 55 is a full-page colour portrait taken in 1954, for "Dial M For Murder". Grace's hair here is parted in the center in this picture, and she her hairstyle is one reminiscent of the style still worn by H.M. Queen Elizabeth II. Her expression in this picture, (reflecting the character she plays in "Dial M For Murder" -- and which is also reprinted on the back cover of this book), is hopeful, young, slightly naive, but looking confidently to the future. The caption for this picture is: Judy Quine, friend: 'Grace made the actual woman of the 1950s into a vision of glamour.' Perhaps this is the essense of Grace Kelly's magic. Though her neigbourhood, growing up, WAS a wealthy one, most American admirers can still relate to her as "the girl next door". Though classically beautiful, she still has the aura of the "hometown girl who made good". Aristocratic, but never snooty, always kind and gracious, (and MEANING it), her warm heart, and cool beauty, are an American, and perhaps, a world ideal. I read once that, when asked when she was young, what she wanted to be in later life, her reply was, "NOT to be a housewife!" Presaging the "Woman's Lib" movement by decades, this statement is immensely telling. Grace -- like the lyrics in the song made famous by her friend, Frank Sinatra -- "did it MY way". Grace could have stayed in Philadelphia, and been a proper and secure member of society there. She chose to become an actress. When she married Prince Rainier in 1956, no commoner of recent memory had ever married into any royal European family. She was at first snubbed by many members of European royalty -- but her own true royal-like nature soon won them over. Regal, yet "regular", beauiful, yet not haughty....THESE are the the qualities which still endear us to Princess Grace today -- and probably always will.
This book, "MOVIE ICONS -- GRACE KELLY", is full of fascinating photos documenting her life, on screen and off. They also -- if you look at several of them closely -- will show you the type of person that she was. Not without faults...but still, truly exemplary!