Mean Moody and Magnificent: New biography of Jane Russell

Kevin Brianton, Adjunct Senior Research Fellow, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia

Mean… Moody… Magnificent! Jane Russell and the Marketing of a Hollywood Legend by Christina Rice. University Press of Kentucky, 2021.

Jane Russell was one of Hollywood’s leading pre-Marilyn Monroe sex symbols in the 1940s and 1950s. Russell came to prominence in her first film, the notorious The Outlaw, which tested the censorship boundaries of the Production Code. She was presented as a sultry sex siren, yet Russell’s politics were conservative, and she was a passionate Christian. The tension between her onscreen persona and her strong spiritual values is an intriguing area for study.

Her biographer Christina Rice raises some interesting questions about the actor and singer in this book. Rice appears to be interested in women who closely associated with RKO head Howard Hughes. She has also written on another actor associated with Hughes in Ann Dvorak: Hollywood’s Forgotten Rebel.

The full review is available at

Brianton, Kevin. “Mean… Moody… Magnificent!: Jane Russell and the Marketing of a Hollywood Legend.” Film & History 52, no. 1 (2022): 67.

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