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Donna Rifkind: The Sun and Her Stars

We welcome critic Donna Rifkin in support of her book, The Sun and Her Stars: Salka Viertel and Hitler's Exiles in the Golden Age of Hollywood. 

About the book: The little-known story of screenwriter Salka Viertel, whose salons in 1930s and 40s Hollywood created a refuge for a multitude of famous figures who had escaped the horrors of World War ll.

Hollywood was created by its "others"; that is, by women, Jews, and immigrants. Salka Viertel was all three and so much more. She was the screenwriter for five of Greta Garbo's movies and also her most intimate friend. At one point during the Irving Thalberg years, Viertel was the highest-paid writer on the MGM lot. Meanwhile, at her house in Santa Monica she opened her door on Sunday afternoons to scores of European émigrés who had fled from Hitler--such as Thomas Mann, Bertolt Brecht, and Arnold Schoenberg--along with every kind of Hollywood star, from Charlie Chaplin to Shelley Winters. In Viertel's living room (the only one in town with comfortable armchairs, said one Hollywood insider), countless cinematic, theatrical, and musical partnerships were born.

Viertel combined a modern-before-her-time sensibility with the Old-World advantages of a classical European education and fluency in eight languages. She combined great worldliness with great warmth. She was a true bohemian with a complicated erotic life, and at the same time a universal mother figure. A vital presence in the golden age of Hollywood, Salka Viertel is long overdue for her own moment in the spotlight.

 

Donna Rifkind's reviews appear frequently in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times Book Review. She has also been a contributor to the Los Angeles TimesWashington PostTimes Literary SupplementAmerican Scholar, and other publications. In 2006 she was a finalist for the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing from the National Book Critics Circle.

 

Event date: 
Tuesday, March 10, 2020 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
124 E. Washington St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
The Sun and Her Stars: Salka Viertel and Hitler's Exiles in the Golden Age of Hollywood Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9781590517215
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Other Press - January 28th, 2020