The Lady From the Black Lagoon

The Lady From the Black Lagoon

Hollywood Monsters and the Lost Legacy of Milicent Patrick

Book - 2019
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2019 SCIBA Book Award Winner for Biography

A Hugo and Locus Award Finalist

Winner of the Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Award

The Los Angeles Times Bestseller

A Thrillist Best Book of the Year

A Book Riot Best Book of 2019

One of Booklist's 10 Best Art Books of the Year

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.
Publisher: Toronto :, Hanover Square Press,, [2019]
Copyright Date: ©2019
ISBN: 9781335937803
1335937803
Branch Call Number: 741.58092 Patri -O
Characteristics: 307 pages : illustrations

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samcmar17
Aug 01, 2020

I love Mallory O'Meara on the Reading Glasses podcast. She's crass, sassy, and just very entertaining when it comes to the discussion of reading and writing. She's a very passionate individual and her first book The Lady from the Black Lagoon not only focuses on the life of Milicent Patrick, who crafted monsters for a living, but O'Meara also parallels Patrick's struggles of being a woman in Hollywood with her own personal struggles as a young genre film producer.

I was to first comment on how personal the writing felt in this book. It's very conversational, very open-faced and honest. Reflecting on Milicent Patrick's life and trying to uncover who she was, O'Meara goes through great lengths to learn about how Patrick survived in male dominated Hollywood as a woman who worked in Disney's animation Department (she was responsible for "Night on Bald Mountain" and Chernabog design in Disney's Fantasia!) to what it was like designing the suit for The Creature from the Black Lagoon. O'Meara shares her discovery of Patrick's lack of credit for her various accomplishments and the toxic culture that unfortunately, still exists in Hollywood today.

I think what I loved about this book was just reading Mallory's experience is doing research about someone who was fairly elusive. It was amazing to read about the lengths she went from doing specialized research with the L.A Library, to situations involving special collections, to even just stepping foot on Disney property to uncover as much as she could about Milicent Patrick. The library nerd in me was very into the deep dive of what it meant to go into an intense research frenzy. You feel O'Meara's highs and lows while reading this book. Learning about the horror industry as well was very fascinating as someone who is fairly unfamiliar. Learning about how the horror industry is fairly sexist and misogynistic was of course, known, but reading about both O'Meara and Patrick's experiences definitely made my blood boil at times.

I love when I get to read a book that is all about uncovering new truths about someone or something. Not only was Lady from the Black Lagoon a very approachable read, but it was one that allowed me to learn so much about an industry and a genre that I'm not the most familiar with. All in all Lady from the Black Lagoon was an enjoyable romp into uncovering the bright and darksides of what it means to be a female in the film industry.

IndyPL_ShelbyG Jul 16, 2020

Surely you know the Creature from the Black Lagoon, but do you know who created him? This biography/memoir follows Mallory O’Meara’s journey to tell the story of Millicent Patrick, designer of the Creature from the Black Lagoon (among many other creatures) and how misogyny in Hollywood hid her successes in the film industry. O’Meara adds her experiences in film and struggles as a female producer, and how she relates to Millicent. A truly touching story that brought me to tears multiple times and made me see the Creature in a completely different light. O’Meara’s debut is a fantastic nonfiction read and I learned so much about the entertainment industry in the 20th Century; can’t wait for her next work!

OPL_JacobL Apr 10, 2020

Part biography, part research hunt, author Mallory O'Meara delves deep into the life of Milicent Patrick, the true designer of the creature from the film "Creature from the Black Lagoon." A wonderfully engaging read with plenty of side notes from the author, you walk away from this title with a deeper understanding of what women during the early 20th century had to deal with in the entertainment business, as well as how true talent can be wasted by ego and avarice. After completing this wonderful biography, I am certain of one thing: Milicent Patrick deserves every bit of recognition for her contributions to film history as the author proposes.

k
kcanimator
Dec 02, 2019

A fun and easy read. It brings to light the history of an artist in the film industry, Milicent Patrick, during the last gasp of the big Hollywood studio system. She remains to this day, the only woman to design a movie monster. She designed the Creature from the Black Lagoon! That's pretty cool! And her family history is pretty cool & interesting as well.

This book doesn't just focus on Milicent Patrick though. The author does interweave her own modern day experiences working in the film industry showing that while much has changed for the better for women in this industry, some things still have not.

m
maryellenwilson
Oct 11, 2019

WOW! A beautifully honestly written book that also includes much personal information of the author and her research and life regarding this subject. I highly recommend this. Totally teary in final chapter (Chapter 13 -- Fade Out). Will definitely read more of her books and follow her on FB & her web site.

vm510 Jul 16, 2019

An entertaining and insightful look at a forgotten woman in Hollywood history. The author weaves information she learns about the life of actress/artist Milicent Patrick with her own memoirs as a newcomer in L.A. working in film production. I thought the narration was fun, self-deprecating. I learned quite a bit about horror movies and monsters, too.

OPL_DavidD Jul 06, 2019

A book about meeting your hero posthumously. O'Meara gets to know the woman who designed the monster from Creature from the Black Lagoon as a person. She is able to examine the unfair ways women still get treated in Hollywood, but also gets to see the human behind the elusive figure.

e
EBirdy
Jun 10, 2019

I loved this book. Milicent Patrick was fascinating, and O'Meara clearly was in love with her subject. However, she did a good job of avoiding speculation about things she had no documentation on. The stories about women in the movie industry, Disney, Hearst Castle and much more were also really interesting. The writing style is approachable and not dry, but never trivializes the subject.

The fact that the author works in the same genre of movie making, "monster" movies, lends extra insight into the whole process and what it's like to be a woman in that industry today and O'Meara does a nice job of comparing and contrasting what Milicent experienced and what goes on today.

If you like watching movies of any kind, have followed the #metoo movement, or are a woman who has experienced gender discrimination in any field, you will probably enjoy this book a lot.

j
JoeHumble
Jun 04, 2019

You know when someone says "I couldn't put this book down"?
Well, I could not put this book down.
The book travels between modern day Los Angeles, the indie film industry, and the authors experiences, and the LA of the early 20th century and the experiences of Millicent Patrick.
This back and forth of the narrative helps ground the stories of the past with the current day issues in entertainment and culture, especially around women's experiences and stories. And it brings the reader along for the ride without getting bogged down in the present or the past.
Well worth the read, especially if you like monsters. :)

r
Rot
May 06, 2019

I am disappointed in this book, I was excited when I heard of this book coming out, but so far of what I read, the author keeping insert herself into story, I don't care about author, I just want know about Milicent Patrick. Instead I got author talk about herself, footnote really not even add to anything, I keep getting hipster vibe. I don't have time to read book about author. Maybe later on, she stop talk about herself and focus on Milicent Patrick, then let me know, I will come back to this book.

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Kristen MERKE
Apr 11, 2019

Kristen MERKE thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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