Still the best biography on Laughton and a reference book for those interested in the inner works of acting in particular and film and theatre in general.
It provides good background of each of Laughton's performances and a sharp analysis of them, daring to contradict the general consensus on some of his best praised performances (Ruggles of Red Gap, Hobson's Choice) and bringing some focus on others which where considered lesser back in the time but which certainly deserve new attention (White Woman, The Bribe and This Land Is Mine). Unlike previous biographies, Callow gives extended consideration to Charles' work on stage, one of the highlights being his seance at the Old Vic in 1933-34.
It's also a sound book, on the strictly biographical sense, which doesn't shy away from focusing on the influence of Charles' personal life (His homosexuality, his independence from established Hollywood, West End and Broadway Lobbies…) and its influence on its work, but wisely declines getting lost in the gossip (as lesser biographies of the man have done).
Recent books on "the Night of The Hunter*, have shed new light on Laughton and dismissed some statements which back in 1987 were believed as fact, and Callow ackowledges that in the new preface for the 2012 reprint: but this book still remains the best work on Laughton, as a man and as an actor.
* Books like Preston Neal Jones' Heaven and Hell To Play With, Jeffrey Couchman's The Night of the Hunter: A Biography of a Film and Callow's own book in the BFI classics series.