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Who the Hell's in It: Conversations with Hollywood's Legendary Actorsby Peter Bogdanovich
Synopses & Reviews
Peter Bogdanovich, known primarily as a director, film historian and critic, has been working with professional actors all his life. He started out as an actor (he debuted on the stage in his sixth-grade production of Finians Rainbow); he watched actors work (he went to the theater every week from the age of thirteen and saw every important show on, or off, Broadway for the next decade); he studied acting, starting at sixteen, with Stella Adler (his work with her became the foundation for all he would ever do as an actor and a director).
Now, in his new book, Who the Hells in It, Bogdanovich draws upon a lifetime of experience, observation and understanding of the art to write about the actors he came to know along the way; actors he admired from afar; actors he worked with, directed, befriended. Among them: Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, John Cassavetes, Charlie Chaplin, Montgomery Clift, Marlene Dietrich, Henry Fonda, Ben Gazzara, Audrey Hepburn, Boris Karloff, Dean Martin, Marilyn Monroe, River Phoenix, Sidney Poitier, Frank Sinatra, and James Stewart.
Bogdanovich captures—in their words and his—their work, their individual styles, what made them who they were, what gave them their appeal and why theyve continued to be Americas iconic actors.
On Lillian Gish: “the first virgin hearth goddess of the screen . . . a valiant and courageous symbol of fortitude and love through all distress.”
On Marlon Brando: “He challenged himself never to be the same from picture to picture, refusing to become the kind of film star the studio system had invented and thrived upon—the recognizable human commodity each new film was built around . . . The funny thing is that Brandos charismatic screen persona was vividly apparent despite the multiplicity of his guises . . . Brando always remains recognizable, a star-actor in spite of himself. ”
Jerry Lewis to Bogdanovich on the first laugh Lewis ever got onstage: “I was five years old. My mom and dad had a tux made—I worked in the borscht circuit with them—and I came out and I sang, ‘Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? the big hit at the time . . . It was 1931, and I stopped the show—naturally—a five-year-old in a tuxedo is not going to stop the show? And I took a bow and my foot slipped and hit one of the floodlights and it exploded and the smoke and the sound scared me so I started to cry. The audience laughed—they were hysterical . . . So I knew I had to get the rest of my laughs the rest of my life, breaking, sitting, falling, spinning.”
John Wayne to Bogdanovich, on the early years of Waynes career when he was working as a prop man: “Well, Ive naturally studied John Ford professionally as well as loving the man. Ever since the first time I walked down his set as a goose-herder in 1927. They needed somebody from the prop department to keep the geese from getting under a fake hill they had for Mother Machree at Fox. Id been hired because Tom Mix wanted a box seat for the USC football games, and so they promised jobs to Don Williams and myself and a couple of the players. They buried us over in the properties department, and Mr. Fords need for a goose-herder just seemed to fit my pistol.”
These twenty-six portraits and conversations are unsurpassed in their evocation of a certain kind of great movie star that has vanished. Bogdanovichs book is a celebration and a farewell.
From the Hardcover edition.
From Lillian Gish to Jack Lemmon, Bogdanovich captures brilliantly--in their own words and in his--the work and styles of 26 fascinating Hollywood iconic actors and actresses. 120 photos in text.
About the Author
Peter Bogdanovich, is the author of thirteen books, including Who the Devil Made It, as well as This Is Orson Welles, The Cinema of Howard Hawks and John Ford. Bogdanovich has directed such plays as The Big Knife, Camino Real and Once in a Lifetime. His films include Targets, The Last Picture Show, What's Up, Doc?, Paper Moon and They All Laughed. His essays and reviews have appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Esquire and the New York Observer.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Arts and Entertainment » Film and Television » Actors » Anthologies