Hi RT . . .
Agree, the Gardner bio was no newsbreaker. Still, I devoured it. In this case, I think I'm prejudiced, in favor of the 'female lead.' I was crazy about Ava Gardner. I've seen the BAREFOOT CONTESSA, at least twenty times; Server's book reminded me of that script! In 'Contessa,' Maria Vargas rather navigates through life on novocaine, whining about her newfound good fortune, longing to play once again, in 'real' dirt.
Ava always called herself a 'little hillbilly, from North Carolina.' She said she'd rather have been barefoot and pregnant, than to be a movie star.
I understand your disappointment, in Server's book. But, I'm reminded of what Christie Hefner said, about Playboy Centerfolds: 'if the interviews with them, make these girls sound insipid . . . I've met many of them. And they, are insipid.'
Perhaps there wasn't all that much more, to this woman . . . an excess of beauty, and not much else.