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Shvoong Home>Books>Biographies>If this was happiness...The life of Rita Hayworth Review

If this was happiness...The life of Rita Hayworth

Book Review   by:D Stansfield     Original Author: Barbara Leaming
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This abstract was translated from Si aquello fue felicidad...La vida de Rita Hayworth
 
Rita Hayworth was a popular American actress in the forties and fifties, raised to the category of sex symbol - the Goddess of Love, she was called. However, her private life couldn't have been more different. She married and divorced five times and ended her days interned in a clinic, a victim of Alzheimer's disease.The book we are reviewing shows her life in minute detail from her infancy through to her old age and death. It tells us in detail of her parents, her passions, lovers, adventures and misfortunes. The author dedicates a considerable number of pages to two of her husbands: Orson Welles (The great love of Rita's life, according to Leaming) and Dick Haymes, a talented singer yet already in the throws of decadence when he married Rita. The actress is depicted as a consummate professional but an unhappy woman, who only felt peace occasionally and who, surprisingly, never wanted to be what she was: a movie star and sex symbol for the postwar era. The book follows the typical structure for a biography of a famous person and an exceptional artist but lacks a true focus and fails to satisfy in the treatment of certain themes. It gives little information about Rita Hayworth the actress; there is no clear index or detail of the films she made, no information about the filming itself, even of her most famous works, such as Gilda. Despite this, it gives a very good approximation of the life of this star of the screen, revealing many facts which, in the opinion of her biographer, shaped the life of the actress: the continued physical and psychological abuse by her father, to the extreme of incest. These facts occupy the focus of various chapters of the book. For all those of us who enjoy the cinema and wish to know better the figures of the golden age of Hollywood, this book makes for interesting reading.
Published: February 23, 2006   
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