Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Carole Mallory


The Metamorphosis of Richard Gere -- From 'Goodbar' to 'Arbitrage'

Posted: 09/17/2012 10:17 am

Richard Gere sashays through Arbitrage in a much subdued performance when one compares it to his acting in Looking for Mr. Goodbar. Still his swagger is there. And certainly his sexuality. But a mature, more reserved, yet, enfin, handsome actor has emerged since the days Richard and I worked together in Goodbar. Age embraces him. His moves are languid. His eyes blink and twitch at all the right moments and capsulate an energy moving throughout his body that finally bursts into his mind.
When we were on the set of Goodbar in '77, he took me to lunch. We talked like kids in a playground because we hadn't seen each other since the early '70s and Wyn Handman's acting class above a Chinese laundry in Manhattan. Wyn was the Director of The American Place Theatre. In that class Richard was wiry in his performances and reminiscent of James Dean. He caught a lot of flack for that, yet a bit of Jimmy Dean's mannerisms are still apparent in Goodbar. These mannerisms eased out of his body in American Gigolo. In Arbitrage his movements have become fluid and cerebral.
There is a glimpse of the old Richard when he discovers that his mistress is dead. He has accidentally murdered her after falling asleep at the wheel. His reaction is on the money and hyperkinetic like the ole Richard of yore.
Then there was Richard's performance on Broadway in Bent when his body was so much a part of his acting, but in Arbitrage, save for the car crash, all of that frenzy of the past has become fluid restrained movement with a kind of grace and elegance.
Gere takes his moments and makes mountains out of some and quick flashes of others, but one thing is certain he is the center of your attention. His white hair gives him an elder statesman quality and air. One wonders why we don't see more of him at the movies. He said on a talk show that he was 63 and was surprised to be working at this age while the women in the audience swooned and simply could not get enough of him. Let's hope we don't have to wait another long extended pause for his next film. Oscar talk accompanies his performance, but talk is talk. See for yourself. Catch his performance that is electrifying in Arbitrage. He makes going to the movies a real treat and a reason to venture out into a dark movie theatre and risk being assaulted by mediocrity or entertained by the multitalented Richard Gere.

Sunday, September 16, 2012


Carole Mallory


Book Review: Alana Stewart'sRearview Mirror

Posted: 09/07/2012 2:05 pm

By her own admission Alana Collins Hamilton Stewart was raised in abject poverty in Nacogdoches, Texas. The early pages of her memoir are fascinating and touching as one wonders how she could have escaped her roots to become the respected celebrity she is today. She survived a mother who was a drug addict and the use of an outhouse as a bathroom. Alana's mother threatened to kill Alana on more than one occasion. Once Alana was able to leave Texas after a brief stint as a domestic airline hostess, she began modeling in New York City. Here she met playboy types who were looking for nubile and gullible flesh to exploit.
And Alana was born beautiful. Her beauty could have been a curse as it attracted men who used her.
One of these men was not George Hamilton whom she married in 1972. In 1974, she gave birth to their son, Ashley.
Rearview Mirror was written by Alana and has flaws in the writing which prove the authenticity of this claim.
George and Alana remain friends today. He even has given her a blurb for her memoir though she has written revealingly about him. Hamilton has written:
Through marriages and divorces, I've gotten to watch this fascinating and complex woman come into her own, from small town roots to the confidante of the glamorous and powerful. Her take on the ride is not only insightful and exciting; it's gut wrenching and more than enough for a lifetime.
Hamilton wrote these words of praise though Alana recalled the time he left her mother's funeral to make an appearance at a convention out of town and abandoned Alana to be alone with her grief. With typical Hamilton savoir faire, he did not object to her mentioning this in her memoir and several other unflattering things about him.
On the other hand, there is no blurb from her second husband, Rod Stewart, who is the father of Sean and Kimberly, two of her three children. Rod's attraction to Alana was not only due to her blonde beauty, but to her status in Hollywood's inner circle and to her catching George Hamilton. Alana had learned from George how to social climb. She focused on making friends of the rich and powerful. A bangers and mash man (I know because when Rod and I dated I would eat them with him in his kitchen), Rod wanted the approval of Hollywood's elite and to be accepted by them. Also Rod had a fixation on George Hamilton due to George's class and status.
Rod suffered from a deep insecurity about his childhood. Alana and he shared humble roots.
After a stormy, drug-fueled marriage, multimillionaire rocker Rod left his globetrotting, celebrity-oriented wife and mother of two of his children financially in need in the twilight years of her life. While pregnant, Alana, who believed "until death do us part," signed a killer prenuptial in haste defying stellar legal advice. "I remember seeing her right before that divorce," George Hamiltonrecalled in an interview, "She had that look only combat veterans get. That million mile stare."
When Alana first arrived in New York, her values were focused on fame and fortune. She caught that brass ring by marrying Rod, but that ring tarnished after their divorce.
Still, she was left with a glowing friendship with George. Rearview Mirror is the story of a lasting love between Alana and George Hamilton. Even though today George has a girlfriend, it is apparent that his heart always will belong to Alana.

In the first part of her life, Alana's fascination with celebrity was understandable given her humble beginnings. However, if it had not been so all encompassing, one would have greater compassion for her.
In her later years, she discovered 12-step programs and spirituality. One hopes that she has acquired genuine values and is at peace.
While Alana's mother who committed suicide in her later years in Hollywood was unable to be emotionally available for her due to addictions, Alana sought the help of therapists to learn to be emotionally available for her children. Without proper therapy, it would have been difficult for her to free herself from her past. Two of Alana's three children suffered from alcoholism which is a disease that can be inherited. Today they are sober.
And while Alana and I studied comedy improvisation together in the late '70s, she kindly makes reference to this in Rearview Mirror. For me, her greatest accomplishment in the acting arena was her talk show with George in which she utilized her comedic talents. Unfortunately The George and Alana Show was canceled too soon due to inexperienced producers.
Stay tuned for Rod: The Autobiography to be published October 23 and his rebuttal.