The Lady From the Black Lagoon 👩‍🎨 Book Review


 

Written by Thelonia


For many years her contributions were misattributed and denied, but now Mallory O’Meara has done the research and unearthed the details of the strange life of Creature from the Black Lagoon designer, Milicent Patrick (one of many names she eventually took on throughout her life and career), recounting Patrick’s story in the context of the time and in the context of O’Meara’s own life.

From a childhood at the Hearst Castle, home of American Mogul William Randolph Hearst (known at the time as the “La Cuesta Encantada”(The Enchanted Hill)), to a career in Hollywood both in front and behind the cameras, to dealing with sexism and overblown male egos, as well as her many tumultuous relationships with men as well as her family, Milicent (not her given name) was truly a woman who went through a lot, but who managed to never let it get her down. Her life and career took her all over the place, and due to lack of recognition and her frequent name changes (and some small fibs, including a fake Italian title of nobility), Patrick's trajectory up to and after her most famed creation, he-of-the-Black-Lagoon, is a difficult one to track, but O'Meara manages to do so, and in remarkable detail.

The Lady from the Black Lagoon is a very interesting look at a woman who should be known by anyone interested in old Hollywood or horror in general, and O’Meara does a great job both uncovering old forgotten details and contextualizing Milicent’s life (including signing her future ghost up for Mormon dating, thanks Mallory), even putting it in context for recent phenomena like the #MeToo movement.

Though parts of the book get a bit less fist-pumping and more staring-mournfully-out-the-window-contemplating-life, Patrick’s life is one that, while having its share of ups and downs, is an overall must-read. Definitely check it out for the full story of a lost icon and for the full story on how the world buried her achievements.


The Lady from the Black Lagoon: Hollywood Monsters and the Lost Legacy of Milicent Patrick is currently available everywhere books are sold.

If you want further information on the author, check out Mallory O'Meara's podcast with Brea Grant, Reading Glasses.

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