Notorious: The Life of Ingrid Bergman

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9780060187026: Notorious: The Life of Ingrid Bergman

Chronicles the life of the much admired international screen legend, from her childhood in Sweden to her role as the star of such films as Casablanca, The Bell's of St. Mary's, and Notorious. 60,000 first printing. $40,000 ad/promo. Tour.

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Review:

Written with the exhaustive thoroughness readers have come to expect from Donald Spoto's celebrity biographies, Notorious moves smoothly through the details of actress Ingrid Bergman's life. Although most will equate the book's title with the 1946 Hitchock film that provided Bergman with one of her more complex and unusually dark roles, the very definition of the word proves an appropriate description of her life; derived from the Latin notus, notorious is defined as "famous or celebrated; secondarily, known for something not generally approved." Disapproval of Bergman--both virulent and far-reaching--stemmed from her extramarital affair with director Roberto Rosellini and the subsequent birth of their son (conceived before their marriage). It is this fall from grace that intrigues Spoto.

In 1939 Ingrid Bergman was hailed as a fresh-faced girl, "dignified, gracious, unpretentious and spiritual," who represented everything good that America loved and needed. Although already a wife and mother, she was most often described as innocent, even virginal. But in 1949 this perception changed, and Bergman was no longer a martyr for the sake of her movies; at the time, she was regarded as the foulest of sinners, a renegade whose "powerful influence for evil" was soon to be condemned in churches, schools, and even on the floor of the U. S. Senate. However, Spoto doesn't neglect Bergman's artistic drive and integrity; he creates a portrait of a woman on trial for aspiring to both professional success and intellectual fulfillment. The details accrue to portray a disarmingly modest professional--at times idolized, at times disparaged, but always skilled and committed.

From the Publisher:

Ingrid Bergman's dramatic story is as compelling as any of the women she portrayed in dozens of memorable movies and plays, an impressive list that includes Intermezzo, The Bells of St. Mary's, Spellbound, Notorious, Anastasia, Hedda Gabler and A Woman Called Golda. Whether acting the role of saint or sinner, Bergman found in her characters the extremes of her own devoted and passionate nature.

This riveting biography takes readers from her blighted childhood in Sweden to her time in Nazi Germany; from the golden age of Hollywood to her status as an international star on the stages and screens of Europe and America; from the time she was branded "an apostle of degradation" to the twilight of her life, when she endured a tragic final illness with grace and courage.

The supporting cast in her life story is a veritable International Who's Who, and includes, among many others, David O. Selznick, Alfred Hitchcock, Roberto Rossellini, Spencer Tracy, Gary Cooper, Howard Hughes, Cary Grant, Bing Crosby, John Gielgud, Yul Brynner and Robert Capa.

Notorious: The Life of Ingrid Bergman is the epic biography of a great actress who not only altered the shape of international celebrity but also significantly changed the world's ideas about what a woman could be.

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