David Ehrenstein of the LA Weekly sits down at home with British ex-pat Gavin Lambert to reminisce about Hollywood and Natalie Wood, the subject of Lambert's latest book.
"I came here in the winter of ’56-’57,” Gavin Lambert recalls, somewhat wistfully. “The studio era was going to be over pretty soon. There were big cracks in the walls, even though the building was still standing.” For the next five decades, this great British writer — who will be celebrating his 80th birthday this year — has recorded those cracks. A leading light of that brilliant band of British émigrés (Christopher Isherwood, David Hockney, Aldous Huxley, Tony Richardson) who helped to define Los Angeles and its chief industry, Hollywood, Lambert has written memorable fictions on this double-barreled subject, The Slide Area, The Goodbye People and Inside Daisy Clover among them. Then there are his biographies of Norma Shearer and Alla Nazimova, his interview book On Cukor and the very personal Mainly About Lindsay Anderson...
As for Wood’s legacy, Lambert sees a spark of it in Scarlett Johansson. “She’s absolutely brilliant. She hasn’t quite reached stardom, but she’s going to, obviously. There’s some sort of meeting between her and the audience — you want to watch what she does. Yes,” says Lambert brightly, “that’s a definition of a star.”
Also in the Weekly, Christopher Lisotta writes about West Hollywood not following San Francisco's lead on marriage of same-sex couples.