Sunday, June 16, 2013

Hollywood Kryptonite by Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger

This book claims to reveal the truth about one of Hollywood’s great unsolved mysteries—the death of George Reeves. It puts his affair with Toni Manix squarely at the heart of the matter.

Toni, “The Lady,” was the wife of “The Bulldog,” Eddie Mannix, a powerful executive at MGM Studios, and George Reeves was “The Boy,” in this love triangle that went murderously wrong when party girl Lenore Lemmon came on the scene and ousted Toni from George’s bed and affections.

It all makes a very interesting story, and it’s hard not to feel some sympathy for George Reeves, torn between two women in his personal life, and professionally being trapped by the role of Superman, an all too human and aging man played a character expected to be always young, strong, and handsome, and worrying about children being injured trying to fly like their television hero (one little boy even brought a real gun to one of George’s public appearances as Superman, an incident dramatized in the movie Hollywoodland), but I can’t honestly say I’m convinced they've solved it. I was also struck by a glaring error in this book, the authors state there was no window in George Reeve’s bedroom, but there definitely was, if you look at the illustrations in the book you can even see the window, and when an author makes an important error like that in a nonfiction book it really makes me wonder if they've played fast and loose or misinterpreted or ignored other facts for the sake of their story and proving their theory.

If you read this in the spirit of a novel, or a dramatization of George Reeves’ death, like watching the movie Hollywoodland, it makes a great story, riveting and page turning, and is definitely worth reading, but as a true crime book I think it falls a little short. Ultimately, I think the death of George Reeves is fated to remain one of Hollywood’s unsolved mysteries.

1 comment:

librarypat said...

Thanks for insightful reviews of both books. It is almost more difficult to get to the real truth when dealing with famous people. Everyone has their own opinion and puts their own spin on things. I think the truth rarely comes out in these cases. It is nice to at least get some more information.