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The marvelous Mabel Stark

 | Movie | Book | Author | Director & cast |

Book: The Final Confession of Mabel Stark (2003)
Movie: The Marvelous Mabel Stark (2005)

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Premise movie:
There is not much news about the movie. Shooting is planned for the summer of 2005. Kate Winslet will play Mabel Stark, however a director has not been found (yet).

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Premise book
"This ribald, rough-hewn debut novel by a prize-winning Canadian writer is based on the flamboyant career of Mabel Stark, arguably the greatest (certainly the greatest female) tiger trainer of all time. Recounted as Stark is turning 80 in 1968, the faux memoir follows her path to superstardom through the 1910s and '20s as she learns to tame tigers and men, and finally tours with the famous Ringling Brothers Circus. Stark, born Mary Haynie, is a teenage Louisville, Ky., nurse, when she is committed to a mental hospital after rebelling against her brutish husband's insensitivity. Aided by a smitten psychiatrist, she escapes to Tennessee, where she becomes Little Egypt, a headliner belly dancer with the Great Parker Carnival. Another marriage and another gig as a "cooch dancer" follow, until she is rescued at the age of 23 by Al G. Barnes, a carny pal, lately owner of a small circus. When the show's animal trainer falls for her, he teaches her how to work with tigers and a new career is launched. Famous for the act in which she wrestles Rajah, a 500-pound Bengal tiger she's raised from a cub, she is also known for her brazenness, multiple marriages ("My men. Whew. Had a slew of them") and black leather jumpsuit. Rich in the atmosphere of circus life, this graphic, slangy fictional reminiscence also offers some surprising, deft metafictional touches." "Mabel Stark was the greatest female tiger trainer in history. During the golden age of the big top, she was the superstar of the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus, and one of America's most eccentric celebrities. A tiny, curvaceous Kentucky blonde in a white leather bodysuit, Mabel was brazen, sexually adventurous, and suicidally courageous. It is 1968. Mabel, nursing her most serious mauling yet, is just turning eighty and about to lose her job at Jungleland, a Florida game park. Devastated by the loss of her cats, she looks back on her life and her five husbands: the fifth -- a cross-dresser whom she married without bothering to divorce the other four -- would one day be tragically mauled by her one true love, her ferocious yet amorous 550-pound Bengal tiger, Rajah. Starting with her escape from a mental institution to begin her circus career as a burlesque dancer, Mabel's exquisitely voiced confession is a live wire of dark secrets, broken dreams, and comic escapades. It is a brilliant, exhilarating story of an America before television and movies, when the spectacle of the circus reigned and an unlikely woman captured the public imagination with her singular charm and audacity."


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"Robert Hough has made his name writing narrative-driven nonfiction about characters "who live beyond our culture's conception of normalcy," for such magazines as Saturday Night and Toronto Life. His fiction has appeared in many journals, including Canadian Fiction, Quarry and The Fiddlehead. He lives in Toronto."


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There is not much news about the movie. Shooting is planned for the summer of 2005. Kate Winslet will play Mabel Stark, however a director has not been found (yet).

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