I’ve been wanting to read The Lady from the Black Lagoon: Hollywood Monsters and the Lost Legacy of Milicent Patrick by Mallory O’Meara ever since it was released in Hardcover earlier this year. With my birthday coming up in a few weeks, I went to Amazon to add it to my Wish List and saw that the Kindle Edition is only $1.99 right now!
I immediately bought it (I read my Kindle books through the app on my iPad Mini). So, if this book has been on your to-read list, I suggest you do the same immediately because I do not know how long this sale will last.
The title of the book is a reference to The Creature From the Black Lagoon, the 1954 black-and-white Universal Pictures horror film famous for its title monster, also known as the Gill-Man. The head of the Gill-Man costume was created by Milicent Patrick, who was notably the first woman to work in a special effects and makeup department at Universal. Realizing that Patrick never received the credit she deserved for her creation or the proper status as a female pioneer in the film industry, O’Meara set out to write about her life and works.
Official synopsis of The Lady from the Black Lagoon:
The Lady from the Black Lagoon uncovers the life and work of Milicent Patrick—one of Disney’s first female animators and the only woman in history to create one of Hollywood’s classic movie monsters
As a teenager, Mallory O’Meara was thrilled to discover that one of her favorite movies, Creature from the Black Lagoon, featured a monster designed by a woman, Milicent Patrick. But for someone who should have been hailed as a pioneer in the genre, there was little information available. For, as O’Meara soon discovered, Patrick’s contribution had been claimed by a jealous male colleague, her career had been cut short and she soon after had disappeared from film history. No one even knew if she was still alive.
As a young woman working in the horror film industry, O’Meara set out to right the wrong, and in the process discovered the full, fascinating story of an ambitious, artistic woman ahead of her time. Patrick’s contribution to special effects proved to be just the latest chapter in a remarkable, unconventional life, from her youth growing up in the shadow of Hearst Castle, to her career as one of Disney’s first female animators. And at last, O’Meara discovered what really had happened to Patrick after The Creature’s success, and where she went.
A true-life detective story and a celebration of a forgotten feminist trailblazer, Mallory O’Meara’s The Lady from the Black Lagoon establishes Patrick in her rightful place in film history while calling out a Hollywood culture where little has changed since.
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