By Mark Griffin
Drawing on greater than a hundred interviews with such icons as Kirk Douglas, Angela Lansbury, Lauren Bacall, Tony Curtis, and George Hamilton, Griffin turns the highlight at the enigmatic “elegant director,” revealing long-kept secrets and techniques on the middle of Minnelli’s genius.
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Additional info for A Hundred or More Hidden Things: The Life and Films of Vincente Minnelli
Considering that Minnelli’s first feature was released in 1943 and that his Broadway career stretched back to the early 1930s, finding people to talk to postmillennium was not going to be easy. And even if I managed to track people down, how forthcoming would some of these press-savvy Hollywood veterans be if I broached the very personal subject of Vincente’s sexuality? Even though we were living in supposedly less repressive times than Minnelli had, most of his colleagues had graduated from the MGM School of Public Relations and they were masters at deflecting uncomfortable questions.
I said, “I love that. ” It was just something that came off his sketch pad but it was really beautiful. But also, if you looked at it long enough, you could see that he was a very complicated soul. I remember thinking, we may be friends but I really don’t know Vincente at all… . 7 Taking everything into account—the enigma of Vincente Minnelli as both an individual and an artist, his unconventional upbringing, an ambiguous sexuality, a show-business career that afforded him the opportunity to work with everyone from Josephine Baker to Jack Nicholson, long-concealed family secrets, and no less than Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli as supporting players—it’s truly astounding that Minnelli’s story has received so little attention.
Oftentimes, the sumptuousness and sheer artiness of Minnelli’s presentation has tended to distract viewers from the fact that there was plenty going on beneath the elegantly appointed surface. Though as Minnelli pointed out to interviewer Henry Sheehan, he always intended that the decorative trappings should be in service to the story: “Most people don’t realize that the décor, what [the characters] hold and the surroundings tell an awful lot about the character. ”4 From Madame Bovary to Eddie’s father, the characters in Vincente Minnelli’s films are some of the most beloved in all of cinema, which is a bit surprising when one considers the fact that they are anything but your typical Hollywood heroes.
A Hundred or More Hidden Things: The Life and Films of Vincente Minnelli by Mark Griffin