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Home Classic Movies ‘The House at Riverton’ aka ‘The Shifting Fog’: Kate Morton Book Cover’s Unbilled Old Hollywood Star + Fellini ‘Book of Dreams’

‘The House at Riverton’ aka ‘The Shifting Fog’: Kate Morton Book Cover’s Unbilled Old Hollywood Star + Fellini ‘Book of Dreams’

The Shifting Fog Kate Morton Miriam Hopkins
‘The Shifting Fog’ a.k.a. ‘The House at Riverton’ book cover featuring 1930s and 1940s Hollywood actress Miriam Hopkins.

Kate Morton ‘The Shifting Fog’ book cover featuring (unbilled) Hollywood star Miriam Hopkins

Ramon Novarro biography Beyond Paradise

Australian author Kate Morton’s bestselling novel The Shifting Fog, known as The House at Riverton in the US and the UK (see comments section below) chronicles the emotional and romantic travails of two beautiful sisters from a declining aristocratic British family during the early twentieth century.

The reason I’m writing this brief post about The Shifting Fog / The House at Riverton has nothing whatsoever to do with the plot of the novel, or with Kate Morton, or with an upcoming film adaptation. What matters here is the Australian book cover, which features an image of former Paramount, Samuel Goldwyn, and Warner Bros. contract player Miriam Hopkins – a 1935 Best Actress Academy Award nominee for playing the title role in the first three-color Technicolor feature ever made, Rouben Mamoulian’s Becky Sharp.

Coincidentally, only yesterday I posted a two-part interview with author Allan Ellenberger, who’s currently working on a Miriam Hopkins biography. Today, Allan sent me a link to a review of Morton’s book.

The Shifting Fog, I should add, has nothing whatsoever to do with Miriam Hopkins – except for the fact that the novel’s heroines and Hopkins are all blondes.

Miriam Hopkins movies

Curiously – though hardly surprising – even though Miriam Hopkins was a major star in the 1930s, I didn’t find a single mention of her name (as in, “What is Old Hollywood actress Miriam Hopkins doing on the book cover?”) in the various commentaries and reviews of The Shifting Fog.

Besides Becky Sharp, among Miriam Hopkins’ best-known movies are Rouben Mamoulian’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931), with Fredric March; Stephen Roberts’ racy The Story of Temple Drake (1933); Howard HawksBarbary Coast (1935), with Edward G. Robinson and Joel McCrea; and two melodramas co-starring Bette Davis: Edmund Goulding’s The Old Maid (1939) and Vincent Sherman’s Old Acquaintance (1943).

Miriam Hopkins on The Shifting Fog a.k.a. The House at Riverton book cover: Allen & Unwin.

Federico Fellini's Book of Dreams

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ new exhibition, “Fellini’s Book of Dreams,” opens on Saturday, January 24, in the Academy’s Grand Lobby Gallery in Beverly Hills. Admission is free.

“Fellini’s Book of Dreams” features two original notebooks on which Federico Fellini jotted down his thoughts and fantasies from the 1960s to 1990, in addition to more than 100 reproductions of original pages from Fellini’s Book of Dreams, which includes numerous images that inspired his most renowned films. As a plus, the exhibition will showcase self-portraits, celebrity caricatures, and film clips.

Fellini, who died in 1993 at the age of 73, received a total of 12 Academy Award nominations (four for directing, eight for writing) in addition to an Honorary Academy Award in 1992. Four of his films won the best foreign-language film Academy Award: La Strada (1956), Nights of Cabiria (1957), (1963), and Amarcord (1974).

Federico Fellini's Book of Dreams

The exhibition is being presented in collaboration with the Fondazione Federico Fellini (website) and the Fondazione Cinema per Roma.

“Fellini’s Book of Dreams” will be on display through Sunday, April 19. The Academy’s Grand Lobby Gallery, located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills, is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and weekends, noon to 6 p.m.

For more information call (310) 247-3600 or visit

Images: Courtesy Fondazione Federico Fellini and Fondazione Cinema per Roma

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Janet Ann -

Has the book been made into a film ??

Andre -

Thanks for the clarification, Grace. I’ve amended the post.

Graceann -

It was only when I went to Kate Morton’s website that I even found this version of The Shifting Fog, which was released in the UK and in the States under the title “The House at Riverton.” Since I read “Riverton,” I didn’t even know about Miriam on the cover of this book, else I would have made a comment about it in my review at Amazon. Very interesting, indeed.

As I mentioned to Allan, there is another mystery that I received recently which features Louise Brooks on the cover. As far as I know (I haven’t read it yet), she’s not in the story, but it’s set in her heyday, and they used a picture of a gorgeous flapper.


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