Carol Lynley: Her Film & TV Career in Thrillers, Fantasy & Suspense (paperback)
Nominated for the 2021 Rondo Award!
Since she was a child, the beautiful Carol Lynley graced television and movie screens from 1956 until 2002. She successfully progressed from child model, to teenage idol, to ingénue in such hit films as The Light in the Forest, Blue Denim, Return to Peyton Place, and Under the Yum Yum Tree. Then her cool beauty was put to perfect use as the bewildered blank-faced mother search- ing for a missing daughter who may or may not exist in the cult mystery thriller Bunny Lake Is Missing. This propelled Lynley to adult leads where she excelled playing the lady in peril culmi- nating with her most famous role as terrified pop singer Nonnie in The Poseidon Adventure.
Carol Lynley: Her Film & TV Career in Thrillers, Fantasy and Suspense highlights Carol’s appearances in the titled genres. She has been terrorized on screen by everything from psychotic relatives to werewolves and the Blob, from murderous convicts to rampaging beasts and sinking upside down ocean liners. Most fans of these genres do not realize how prolific Carol was, going from theatrical features (The Shuttered Room, The Cat and the Canary, Blackout), to made-for-TV movies (The Immortal, The Night Stalker, Death Stalk), to television guest appear- ances (Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Invaders, Night Gallery, Fantasy Island, Tales of the Unexpected) and back again for over thirty years. Peppered with comments from Carol Lynley specifically for this book and past published sources, it also features fascinat- ing behind-the-scenes tales from her co-workers including Arledge Armenaki, Stephan Chase, Matt Dotson, John Goff, Howard Kazanjian, Harry Langdon, Jr., Alan J. Levi, and Tina Sinatra. Tom Lisanti goes beyond The Poseidon Adventure to shine a light on Carol Lynley’s underrated work in the thriller/fantasy/suspense/horror genres with this meticulously researched and well-illustrated tribute book.
Tom Lisanti is an award-winning author whose books include Talking Sixties Drive-In Movies and eight others about sixties Hollywood. He resides in New York City.
"Tom Lisanti is another author I admire.
He has interviewed and written about many
1960s actresses who truly deserve attention.
I am less knowledgeable about ’60s movies
and players, although I do watch these films,
and it’s nice to have a scholar such as Lisanti
to chronicle the decade. His new, massive
tome (700-plus pages!) is Carol Lynley: Her
Film & TV Career in Thrillers, Fantasy and
Suspense (BearManor Media softcover $39).
I have liked her ever since I saw—no kidding—
Holiday for Lovers (1959), where she
played the snappy daughter of—no kidding—
Clifton Webb and Jane Wyman. I laughed like
an idiot over her line deliveries; as young as
she was, she really elevated that picture.
“I’ve never been in a scandal,” Lynley
once said. “I’ve never been caught running
naked down a highway. I’ve not tried to shoot
anybody. Nobody’s ever tried to shoot me.
My child is legitimate... I’ve never been to
Betty Ford... No porn... No drug addictions...
I’ve outlived three of my doctors.
"So if you’re going to write a juicy book, I’ve
got a problem.” Since Lynley cooperated
with this book before her 2019 death—and
is extensively quoted in it—she certainly
didn’t have a problem with Lisanti and his
approach. While some would balk at a book
without titillating stories, they need not
worry here. Lisanti does an incredible job
writing about Lynley’s life and career in such
detail that there simply isn’t anything else
you SHOULD know about her.
"The title might deter a few readers, since
it sounds pretty specialized. But, as Lisanti
points out, “She has been terrorized on
screen by everything from psychotic relatives
to werewolves and the Blob, from
murderous convicts to rampaging beasts and
sinking upside down ocean liners.” I never
realized until this book that Lynley acted so
extensively in thrillers, fantasy and suspense
films, but some of her best-known films are
in those genres: Shock Treatment (1964),
Bunny Lake Is Missing (1965), The Shuttered
Room (1967), The Night Stalker (1972), The
Poseidon Adventure (1972), etc. But, despite
the title, her other films are discussed, too:
The Light in the Forest (1958), Blue Denim
(1959), Return to Peyton Place (1961), The
Last Sunset (1961), Under the Yum Yum Tree
(1963), The Pleasure Seekers (1964), Norwood
(1970), etc., and her TV work. If you
are a fan of Lynley’s, there is simply no reason
why you shouldn’t get this—it is thorough,
insightful, filled with her opinions on just
about everything pertaining to her career,
and dozens upon dozens of terrific photos. In
addition to his interview with Lynley, Lisanti
talked to quite a few of her co-workers and
"Lisanti knows his stuff, his research is impeccable,
he has a genuine love of Lynley and
her films, and you can tell he is having fun recounting her movies and TV performances.
"The narrative is fawning at times, but that’s
fine. If he wasn’t a fan, he wouldn’t be writing
this book. The author is completely honest
about Lynley and her missteps; he certainly
doesn’t paint her as a perfect creature.
He expresses his opinions in an intelligent,
sometimes humorous way, and the text is
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