It probably reflects no glory on me but I have a weakness for the kind of late-night trash pop TV bio where a gruff presenter says things like “but what happened next would change things forever”, while prowling a moodily lit backdrop representing a scrubbed-up approximation of mean streets.
The video below is just such a beast, promising the “mysteries and scandals” in the life of silent movie star (Alla) Nazimova. But for a show which actually uses the word ‘sexcapades’ it detours into some surprisingly non trash-typical territory as it charts Nazimova’s ill-starred career.
Biographer Gavin Lambert tells of Nazimova’s awful childhood in the Crimea (you may have heard tell of this region in the news of late). Her abusive father ensured she was unable to fulfil considerable early promise as a musician, belittling her and once breaking her arm after a violin recital. Later in life the scheming Charles Bryant joined her in a not-uncommon lavender alliance but exploited her financially, and her dream project Salomé brought her film career to a premature close.
But it’s not all gloom: there’s the triumph of her Broadway years, a degree of artistic independence almost unthinkable in today’s Hollywood and, of course, those pool parties in the Garden of Alla.
click here if you don’t see the video embedded below