The Girls: Sappho Goes to Hollywood

The Girls: Sappho Goes to Hollywood

Diana McLellan / Apr 06, 2020

The Girls Sappho Goes to Hollywood Diana McLellan reveals the complex and intimate connections that roiled behind the public personae of Greta Garbo Marlene Dietrich Tallulah Bankhead and the women who loved them Private corresponde

  • Title: The Girls: Sappho Goes to Hollywood
  • Author: Diana McLellan
  • ISBN: 9780312283209
  • Page: 395
  • Format: Paperback
  • Diana McLellan reveals the complex and intimate connections that roiled behind the public personae of Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Tallulah Bankhead, and the women who loved them Private correspondence, long secret FBI files, and troves of unpublished documents reveal a chain of lesbian affairs that moved from the theater world of New York, through the heights of chic sDiana McLellan reveals the complex and intimate connections that roiled behind the public personae of Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Tallulah Bankhead, and the women who loved them Private correspondence, long secret FBI files, and troves of unpublished documents reveal a chain of lesbian affairs that moved from the theater world of New York, through the heights of chic society, to embed itself in the power structure of the movie business The Girls serves up a rich stew of film, politics, sexuality, psychology, and stardom.

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      Posted by:Diana McLellan
      Published :2020-01-10T09:05:33+00:00

    About "Diana McLellan"

      • Diana McLellan

        English born Diana McLellan made her bones as a Washington reporter, feature writer, magazine journalist, columnist, critic and editor Penney Missouri Award, Washington Balti Newspaper Guild Front Page Awards for humor Pulitzer nominee She spent ten years as a gossip columnist, The Ear , for the Washington Star, Washington Post, and Washington Times She is the author of Ear On Washington, Arbor House, 1982, and The Girls Sappho Goes to Hollywood, 2000 A new Special Author s Edition of The Girls, with new pictures, layout, information and other features, comes out in both ebook and paper in 2013, from Booktrope, which in 2012 published her well received first book of poems, Making Hay, charmingly illustrated by the great New Yorker artist Peter Steiner Diana spent several years as Washington editor of Washingtonian Magazine, a Washington correspondent for the Ladies Home Journal, and feature writer for magazines of papers like the London Times, the London Telegraph, the Mail on Sunday, etc She had a longago weekly spot on Maury Povich s innocent old Washington show, Panorama, and appeared regularly on the CBS Morning News with Charles Kuralt She considers herself a slacker cum caregiver, but occasionally writes a book review Washington Post, Wall Street Journal She is married to former historian Richard X McLellan.


    1. The sewing circle in 1920s Hollywood This is a highly readable book and the author has way with words when she describes feminists of 1920s Hollywood who were redefining sexuality and marriage. The so called sewing circle consisted of a significant number of Hollywood elite who chose and practiced their sexuality openly and lavender marriages, supported by studios, were accepted with grace. It was a daring practice of post-WWI feminism. The author focusses on three major stars who were notorious [...]

    2. This book simply blew me away. I was held captive from page one all the way through until the end. The writing is wonderfully vivid and well-researched. The crass warblings of The L Word is nothing compared to the complex, stylish, heady world of lesbians, gays, and various other sexual outlaws during the pre and post-code years of Hollywood. This has everything: silent film divas with a commune for deviants, 1920s Weimar Debauchery, bitchy mayhem, lesbian Duh-raaammmaaa and revenge that makes t [...]

    3. A rollicking read if ever there was one. Garbo, Weimar Germany, old movies, international spycraft, stolen jewels and gorgeous, Jet Setting women with supercharged libidos: What's not to like? This is the most fun I've ever had between the covers of a book about Hollywood.It's great to see that nearly one-fifth of the ratings here on are from people who have read The Girls this year. That shows the staying power of a book I first read more than a decade ago. It's even better to learn that it's [...]

    4. How was I supposed to resist a title like that?This is the allegedly true, research-based story of Hollywood's two most famous LGBTQIA actresses of the 1930s, Ms. Greta Garbo and Ms. Marlene Dietrich. Neither woman self-identified as lesbian, bisexual, or pansexual during her lifetime, so I have to state for the record that it's a bit unfair of me to label them after their deaths, when they lived in a very different world than we do now. However, there is ample evidence to support that both wome [...]

    5. It's a history book, in that it's nonfiction and written about the past, but McLellan's writing is just as titillating and gossipy as you want it to be when reading about such a delicious subject. However, the level of detail can be confusing and tedious, since so many names come in and out of the picture you'll have to re-read some parts just to keep everybody straight (no pun intended). In fact, it's SO detailed that it made me doubt the veracity of the material; could McLellan really know thi [...]

    6. According to this book, it's amazing that Marlene Dietrich was ever vertical long enough to make a movie. Some juicy bits, but overall just an okay read.

    7. According to this book, Hollywood used to be full of gorgeous, talented, and wildly promiscuous commie lesbians. Oh, would that my life were half so interesting--! But alas, it is not to be.

    8. Good read - writing sufficient, but there were major players and basic information missing. What was in the book was good, writing and flow sufficient - just lacking slightly on certain, key players and giving very little new insight on the people noted. For those unaware of the lavender side of Hollywood, this would be a great primer.

    9. Solidly a great read full of tidbits, horizons filled with lust and multiple lesbian affairs. Bisexuality was the norm, and frequent bedding of multiple partners. Greta has multiple female and male lovers and lives in a strange private world. Marlene Dietrich hops in and out of beds as does Greta.A must read.

    10. I'm not even half way through this gem and I can't put it down!! The 'sewing circle' which includes Marlene Dietrict, Greda Garbo, Talulluh Bankhead, and other Hollywood starletts, is incestuous! These women have insatiable appetites for sex, stardom, and glamor. I love this book, go and read it!

    11. Super fascinating research. The best line is a quote from Noel Coward to Tallulah Bankhead. "Stop stuffing reefers up your jacksie, Talullah!"

    12. Having read both The Sewing Circle by Axel Madsen and this one, I have to say I favor Diana McLellan's version. It's meatier (twice as long), more detailed and has a lot of humor.If you love to read about lesbians (and gays) in classic Hollywood and the stage, it can't get any better than this.5 stars

    13. Un libro que pretende dar respuesta a muchos enigmas, que al final se quedan en eso: enigmas. Una basura sensacionalista escrita por una periodista de tabloides, que se vende como evangelio y se queda en menos que apócrifo. Un libro que parte de simples rumores y en el que finalmente solo queda clara una cosa: que la autora tiene mucha imaginación, opiniones sesgadas, y una montaña de teorías chismosas a las que no aporta ningún tipo de prueba concluyente. Todo cae por su propio peso desde [...]

    14. I learned that "Dyke Drama" transcends class (whether rich or poor), and sexuality (homo or bi). This was a great read an EXTREMELY informative. The book deserves 4 stars just for the amount of research she has done. Granted, even the author states a lot of information has to be taken with caution; but most of it seems plausible.

    15. Things I never knewI'd never been an old film buff, but maybe I would have been if I'd known how many of these actresses were lesbian by preference. A fabulous and fascinating book which I highly recommend.

    16. Fascinating account of lesbianism in HollywoodI gave this book five stars because it brought life to a fascinating time in Hollywood history, and the lives and loves of some of the most interesting women of film.

    17. A meticulously detailed, sometimes intriguing/sometimes fantastical biography on a coterie of glamorous and decadent stars from Hollywood's Golden Era. McLellan leaves a lot to conjecture, but when the prose is as dishy and compulsively readable as The Girls' is, it's easy to forgive her.

    18. If you've read The Celluloid Closet and The Sewing Circle, you might like The Girls. Although it focuses primarily on Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich, there are some interesting anecdotes about other glamorous ladies who moved in Sapphic circles.

    19. Well this was obviously written by a gossip colomnist and not a historian! The language just came across as Oh So Scandalous, and everyone was described as whose lovers they were, rather than who they were. She would repeat conversations of people after they'd had sex together, and I had to ask, how did she get this information??? Most of her information comes from published biographies and autobiographies, and yet she writes it all as speech that was taking place that she somehow witnessed and [...]

    20. This is the complete review as it appears at my blog dedicated to reading, writing (no 'rithmatic!), movies, & TV. Blog reviews often contain links which are not reproduced here, nor will updates or modifications to the blog review be replicated here. Graphic and children's reviews on the blog typically feature two or three images from the book's interior, which are not reproduced here.Note that I don't really do stars. To me a book is either worth reading or it isn't. I can't rate it three- [...]

    21. I feel like I have been reading this book forever, and while I enjoyed some of the anecdotes, I am quite glad to be finally done. The book was well researched and very well written - in fact, if the writing was not as good as it was, I would have likely given up a while back. I kept reading 10-20 page chunks and putting it down again.I believe someone with more interest in the early Hollywood stars would have been much more into this book. As it was, I have heard the names of some of the stars ( [...]

    22. This book was very disappointing. I really thought it would be an easier piece to read, but I slogged 20% of the way before I just gave up and then started skimming through the rest of the book.I think there was really old information in it; however, it didn't appeal to me the way similar books have. Too bad. I started reading this book in May 2015 and would put it aside and come back to it. Finally finished late in July 2015.

    23. The girls by McLellan was a long-winded expose of two main actresses, namely Garbo and Dietrich. At times I had to look back a page or two to see whom was being talked, especially as the lovers? interrelated. I'm not a film buff so the movies meant little to me. At least I am old enough to remember a few of the stars sprinkled throughout the book. Has the subject of lesbianism been taken out of the closet today? And were these women bisexual with their lavender weddings?

    24. A book you kind of have to take with a grain of salt. McLellan will suggest something that #may# have happened and then continue on from that supposition as if it’s an obvious proven truth. Specifically focuses on Dietrich and Garbo; other women float in and out of the narrative as they float in and out of the orbit of one or both of the lead players.

    25. I found the story told utterly fascinating, but there was something about the tone of it, the author's voice, that put me off. While I'm happy to learn more about LGBTI history, it made lesbianism sound like a superficial diversion. Still, the author seems to have done her homework and builds a compelling case that Garbo & Dietrich knew one another.

    26. Everyone needs a little trash on their bookshelf. I, quite frankly, found this book wildly entertaining. Its also an interesting glimpse into the hidden symbols in female gay culture during the first 50 years of the last century. If you like old movies at all you'll love this.

    27. Amazing! Book, I love it. It has all the information that I've been looking for about Hollywood's lesbians; plus it has a lot of information about my favorite actress–Alla Nazimova.

    28. Finally picked this book off my shelf and the wind was immediately taken out of my sails reading the acknowledgments. Any author mentioning their "good friend" trash writer David Bret

    29. Not only were Garbo and Dietrich lesbians, they were communist SPIES!!! I don't give a damn if it's true or not, it's hilarious.

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