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 center of Minnelli’s genius.
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Additional info for A Hundred or More Hidden Things: The Life and Films of Vincente Minnelli
After Minnelli’s death in 1986, suggestions that the director may have had a divided life of his own began to appear in print. Along with such iconic figures as James Dean, Cary Grant, and Rudolph Valentino, Vincente Minnelli has always been a sexually suspect character. Just consider the “evidence”: Minnelli was a former window dresser and costume designer. He had an unerring eye for décor. An alleged affinity for eye liner. A romantic association with Judy Garland. In the eyes of some, Minnelli was seriously overdue for his own float in a gay pride parade.
Although the Minnelli Brothers managed to press on for a number of years, there were indeed hard times ahead. A fire destroyed their entire operation at one point, necessitating a $10,000 reconstruction effort. Neighbors in Delaware also remembered that the Mighty Dramatic Company was sidelined by the Great Flood of 1913. Although the Minnellis survived these setbacks, even they were no match for a new-fangled invention that was proving to be more of a legitimate threat than a passing fancy. As Vincente remembered it, “Motion pictures had finally done the theatre in.
Was it possible that, just as people had looked “too fast” at Minnelli’s work, snap judgments had been made about him as a person? Had Vincente been stereotyped into a corner? Minnelli may have been effeminate, androgynous even, but did this automatically add up to gay? Even in our more socially conscious times, there are some observers (including an exceedingly sequined relative) who seem convinced that everyone is barking up the wrong tree. “My sister, Liza, passionately resents the suggestion that her father had a secret gay life,” Judy Garland’s daughter, Lorna Luft, wrote in her 1998 family memoir.