I just realized that I haven’t reviewed some of the books that I mentioned in my earlier posts. First of all, I finally finished reading two autobiographies, which I got hold of because of curiosity, though this happened months ago. Joan Fontaine’s book, ‘No Bed of Roses’ (1978), does contain some interesting information, at least for me. This book is hard to obtain now, even on the internet. I was able to find it at a library, however. The most interesting part of the book for me was the beginning, in which Fontaine related her early life. This woman was born in Japan in 1917 to British parents, but she grew up in the United States. Her father was in his fourties when he met her mother in Japan. Interestingly, he died in North Vancouver, which is exactly where I reside. Fontaine had an older sister, Olivia de Havilland, who was a more famous actress than her. Fontaine died in 2013, and Olivia died in 2020, when she was 104 years old. Fontaine wrote that Olivia was intelligent and that she did very well in school. Olivia also began her Hollywood movie career earlier than Fontaine. I think that both of the sisters looked rather good. Well, both of them became actresses, after all. And in the movie business you usually have to have good looks in order to make it. I even bought a poster of Olivia. This poster is a black & white photograph of Olivia that was taken when she was in her twenties. This poster is the only black & white poster that I have, and it’s also the only poster of an actress that I have. All my other posters are 1980s movie posters, paintings, or landscapes. Now, some people think that Olivia is the most beautiful actress from Classical Hollywood cinema and even the most beautiful actress ever. Well, she certainly looked good enough for me to buy a poster with her face, but people should remember that even during the Golden Age of Hollywood actors wore makeup. And this is one of the reasons why they looked attractive. The right cinematography also helped them to look good. This doesn’t mean that they looked bad without makeup. This simply means that makeup made them look more appealing in films and on photographs. But I think that I have to agree with the people who think that Olivia was a beautiful actress, at least with makeup on her face. When it comes to Hollywood actresses, she was definitely one of the most attractive. If Olivia had written an autobiography, I would have read her autobiography before I read Joan’s autobiography. As to be expected, most of Joan’s book is about her movie career, which is considerably less interesting than I would have liked. The films that she starred in are almost all worth seeing, but reading about them, and about what happened to her, wasn’t very interesting for me. When it comes to Joan’s political views, it appears that she wasn’t particularly political, but she still came off as a kind of liberal, I suppose. Since she was an actress, it’s clear that she had to support the American establishment because Hollywood is a very politicized industry. The USA is obviously a right-wing state. Nowadays, I think that it can even be called a semi-fascist state. Real leftists, and especially communists, weren’t tolerated in Hollywood, especially after World War II. Charlie Chaplin, for example, was a known supporter of the Soviet Union during World War II, and he got driven out of Hollywood because of his politics. There’s information that George Orwell, Mr. 1984 himself, secretly accused Chaplin of being a secret communist and a friend of the Soviet Union. Contrary to what some right-wingers say, Hollywood was not some haven for communists, even before the Cold War began. I’ve seen many Hollywood films that were made before and after World War II. I can say that not one of them featured pro-Soviet or pro-communist comments or propaganda. On the contrary, some of the Hollywood films that I’ve seen featured only anti-Soviet and anti-leftist comments or propaganda. It’s unthinkable that a pro-Soviet or pro-communist film or book can be released in the USA. This has never happened. It’s possible to get neutral books or pro-Soviet books from minor publishers, but these are rare. For example, you won’t find a book by Grover Furr at a book store or even at a library. None of the major publishers have ever published a pro-Soviet or pro-communist book. Perhaps there were exceptions during World War II, when the USA was an ally of the Soviet Union, but this lasted only for a few years. Since just about everything is controlled by an oligarchy in the USA, a person can’t obtain truthful books or information about the Soviet Union, about Mao Zedong, about the Soviet economy and society, about Joseph Stalin, about the collapse of the Soviet Union, and about many other topics. Anyway, since Joan Fontaine wasn’t one of the actors or filmmakers that got expelled from Hollywood, it’s clear what her political views were like. In fact, at the end of her book, she clearly made a few anti-Soviet, anti-South African, and pro-American remarks. But is her book worth reading? I’d say that it is worth reading, especially for those people who are interested in Classical Hollywood cinema.
Eileen Rockefeller’s book, ‘Being a Rockefeller, Becoming Myself: A Memoir’ (2014), was a somewhat less interesting read for me than Joan’s book. And, again, the beginning of the book, in which Eileen related her early life was the most interesting part for me. I got the impression that she didn’t have a happy childhood. But there’s also the possibility that she didn’t want the reader to think that she had a happy childhood. I’ve read articles about her, and it’s clear that she’s very much aware of what many people think about her famous family. She doesn’t want people to think that she had it good simply because she’s a Rockefeller and because she had a privileged upbringing. It seems that she wasn’t as close to her parents as her other siblings, and she wasn’t particularly close to her siblings either. She has five older siblings (three sisters and two brothers). I think this means that her mother, Margaret McGrath, was popping out babies for about a decade or more. Well, Eileen was born in 1952, and she can be called a baby boomer. The two or three decades after World War II were a pretty good time for the USA. The economy was booming at that time, and it’s not surprising that white American women were giving birth to many children. As to be expected, because of her family’s status and wealth, Eileen attended all-girls schools and private schools. If I remember correctly, she even had a mentor, Norman Cousins, who probably taught her something about international relations and world affairs. In the book, Eileen revealed some of the ways in which her parents raised her. I definitely learned a few things from these accounts. One example is that her mother wanted her and her siblings to spend some time with farm animals in order to gain empathy. Overall, the book is not a bad read, I suppose. Eileen very much reminds me of one of my grandmothers, my father’s mother. Her personality and the way she writes are very similar to my grandmother’s. Eileen’s book is easily available. I bought the audiobook on Audible. If you’re looking for more juicy information about the Rockefeller family, I think that this book isn’t for you. In the book, Eileen didn’t even reveal what her political views are like, though she did mention some things about her siblings. Since Eileen had an upper class upbringing, the book is very much a work by an upper class, well-behaved woman. It’s by an American woman, but still by an upper class woman. Therefore, you won’t come across any words about female anatomy, like in Joan Fontaine’s book. But I guess that Eileen still couldn’t help herself from time to time because there are some jokes in the book. And she also included one rather memorable episode in which she had a fight with her husband. The difference between upper class people and lower class people is actually quite staggering in Western countries. I’ve had to deal with lower class people my whole life, but only as an adult, after seeing some films and reading some books, have I done some thinking about this issue. I can say that lower class people don’t get a good education. Therefore, they don’t know much and they can be easily manipulated by the authorities. Many of them are not well-behaved. They can easily be rude, cruel, vile, or bigoted. They obviously don’t have much money, and, therefore, they don’t dress well or have good taste. If they eat out, they almost always go to fast food restaraunts. In fact, I once heard Andrei Fursov mention in one of his interviews that people from the upper class in England like to make fun of the way people from the working class and the middle class dress and behave. And the activities of lower class people rarely go beyond watching television, watching sports games, or talking about their monotonous lives and lower class issues with their lower class friends.
One of the television series that I finished watching a few months ago is Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water. It’s another memorable show from the talented director Hideaki Anno. Two of his other shows, Gunbuster and Neon Genesis Evangelion, are some of my all-time favorite shows. Nadia could have been another all-time favorite of mine had it not been for its length. The series contains 39 episodes, and about a third of them can be called filler episodes. Several of them are simply terrible. The series shares some similarities with the works of Jules Verne. It starts out quite well. As is the case with some of Anno’s other series, some of the early episodes of Nadia aren’t particularly good. Some are good. Some are passable. It’s in the second half of the series where the truly fantastic episodes are to be found. The problem with Nadia is that these must-see episodes are the four very last episodes. They are as good as, or even betten than, the best episodes of Neon Genesis Evangelion. But, in order to fully enjoy watching them, the viewer has to sit through the preceding episodes, which range from good to bad. Still, in my opinion, Nadia is another must-see show from the golden age of anime. Another series that I finished watching some months ago is the Vision of Escaflowne. This was my third time watching this series. The Vision of Escaflowne is an even better show than Nadia because it’s consistent and well-made from beginning to end. There are almost no filler episodes. The story of the show shares some similarities with the story of Nadia. Both stories feature Atlanteans, for example. And, like in Nadia, there are some Masonic influences and symbolism in the Vision of Escaflowne. The main villain in the show is Isaac Newton. I watched the Vision of Escaflowne for the first time when I was a child. I watched reruns of the show on television. The dub that was created for the show is quite good, but, for my latest viewing, I switched the track to Japanese (with English subtitles).