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Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

New book explores the life and cultural impact of film icon Joan Crawford – Orange County Register

By Vaseline May30,2024
New book explores the life and cultural impact of film icon Joan Crawford – Orange County Register

Samuel Garza Bernstein’s new book is titled “Starring Joan Crawford: The Films, the Fantasy, and the Modern Relevance of a Silver Screen Icon.” The author will sign copies of the book on June 4 in Santa Monica. (Image courtesy of Globe Pequot/Rowman & Littlefield Publishers)

For decades she was one of Hollywood’s biggest stars.

She was a powerful female figure in the male-dominated film industry, and although she had her demons, Joan Crawford fascinated award-winning writer and playwright Samuel Garza Bernstein, whose latest book explores the icon’s life in depth.

“The book is about her cultural impact. It’s entirely about her, but in many ways it’s about how we react to her, how we respond to her,” says Garza Bernstein, author of “Starring Joan Crawford: The Films, the Fantasy, and the Modern Relevance of a Silver Screen Icon.”

Samuel Garza Bernstein’s new book is titled “Starring Joan Crawford: The Films, the Fantasy, and the Modern Relevance of a Silver Screen Icon.” The author will sign copies of his book on June 4 in Santa Monica. (Photo by Joshua Michael Shelton)

It will be released Wednesday, June 5, but before that, Garza Bernstein, a Stonewall Book Award-winning writer, will attend a book signing at Diesel bookstore in Santa Monica on Tuesday, June 4, where he will talk about his A 360-Page Book Exploring the Impact of Crawford as a cultural force and model of feminist self-determination for women even today is examined.

“No one would have used the word feminism in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, but that’s really what she did,” he said.

Joan Crawford was born Lucille Fay LeSueur on March 23, 1906 in San Antonio, Texas. She began her acting career in the 1920s and by the 1930s, Crawford was a well-known star who had made a successful career for herself and later won her only Oscar in 1945. She was known for often playing the role of a hard-working young woman able to balance romance and find financial success.

Garza Bernstein’s fascination with Crawford was driven not only by the actress’s talent, but in large part by his own unique upbringing.

He was born to an undocumented Mexican mother who passed as white by using a false name, and a Jewish father who moved the family to Cairo for a year while Israel and Egypt were still at war. According to Garza Bernstein, who now splits his time with his husband in Portugal and Los Angeles, he had no idea what his father did for a living, but rumors swirled that he was in the gun business. .

“According to my grandmother, she said he sold weapons to the Palestinians. I don’t know if that was true. I think he was more involved in supporting the underdog,” he said.

His family later moved extensively to places like Honolulu, Austin, Phoenix, New York, Los Angeles and Colorado.

“I grew up surrounded by a lot of secrets and very strange family situations and everything just felt very heightened. And I definitely think that sense of heightened reality is part of what draws me to Joan Crawford, who is nothing if not full of drama and a heightened sense of reality,” he said.

Garza Bernstein first saw Crawford in her 1928 film “Our Dancing Daughters.”

“It was just amazing. She was a completely modern woman. You can imagine her being successful right now, you can imagine her making videos and dancing on TikTok. She was so modern and I just thought that was really fascinating,” he said.

Five phases

In his new book, he divides her decades-long career into five phases and begins by writing about her as an “Influencer and It Girl.”

“Teenage girls across America thought she was the ideal woman for years after her first major film ‘Our Dancing Daughters’. Girls all over the country wanted to grow up and be like her, wear what she wears, look like her,” he said.

The other phases he explores in the book are her as ‘Queen of the Movies’, ‘Mother and Martyr’, ‘Dragon Lady’ and ‘Survivor’ where he talks about the final phase of her career and her drive to be in the to play a leading role. the 1962 horror thriller ‘What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?’, one of her best-known films.

Although her career was notable, Garza Bernstein acknowledges that many people will likely remember Crawford from the 1981 film “Mommie Dearest,” which was an adaptation of the book written by her adopted daughter Christina Crawford. The book and film portray Crawford as a demanding and abusive mother.

Although Garza Bernstein touches on this subject, it is not something he dwells on in his new book.

“I am certainly investigating the phenomena of their relationship. What I don’t do is try to pick a side. “I’m not here to prove or disprove the idea of ​​whether Joan was a great mother,” he said.

“What I’m doing is diving deep into all of her work because that’s what I hope she’ll be remembered for most,” Garza Bernstein said.

Book signing

When: 6:30 PM June 4

Where: Diesel Bookstore, 225 26th St., Suite 33, Santa Monica

Free

Information: dieselbookstore.com

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