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Dirk Bogarde: The authorised biography Hardcover – 13 Sep 2004

4.6 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Orion; First Edition edition (13 Sept. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0297607308
  • ISBN-13: 978-0297607304
  • Product Dimensions: 25.3 x 19.2 x 5.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 577,823 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Biographies only tend to be definitive until the next one comes along, but there's no danger of Coldstream's erudite, moving analysis ever being superseded. (Christopher Fowler THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY)

This stupendous biography. Its masterful justification of his many sides make it possible for us still to learn from him in death. (John de Falbe THE DAILY TELEGRAPH)

this extremely interesting life of a determined stage actor, reluctant film star, gay icon and wicked charmer has been beautifully documented, with fairness, enthusiasm and quite exceptional diligence. (Michael Coveney THE GUARDIAN)

a monumental piece of work.....fascinating throughout its more than 600 extremely well-written pages. (Charles Osborne THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH)

I have seldom read a biopgraphy as intelligent, urbane and judicious as this.... Definitive and magnificent. (Roger Lewis SUNDAY EXPRESS)

this meticulous biography. (Christie Hickman THE NEW STATESMAN)

Coldstream is the most generous of biographers... Coldstream's biography will tell you all you want to know...... about this very interesting actor and very tricky human being. (Craig Brown THE MAIL ON SUNDAY)

'a scrupulous and sober portrait of a deeply troubled man.' (Michael Arditti THE INDEPENDENT)

his compendious and well-written biography.......his research on his life is exhaustive. (George Perry THE SUNDAY TIMES)

With this superb biography John Coldstream has pulled off a remarkable feat (Keith Baxter THE SPECTATOR)

very readable new biography (Gilbert Adair EVENING STANDARD)

this is a big fat biography to treasure: a subtle take on a genuinely interesting, downright elusive, easily caricatured actor-writer-artist. (Michael Pye THE SCOTSMAN)

an absorbing look at a complex and absorbing character who, ironically, said that when he died, 'Just forget me. (Gail Walker THE BELFAST TELEGRAPH)

'gripping' (Andrew Lycett LITERARY REVIEW)

all but flawless biography. (Hugh Leonard THE IRISH TIMES)

Coldstream has been thorough and conscientious in his research (Frank McLynn THE HERALD)

this massively researched biography..... Bogarde's double life is sensitively handled as well as the actor's late flowering into an autobiographer and novelist of great skill. (Quentin Falk ACADEMY MAGAZINE)

This helps make the biography more fascinating, not simply as a portrait of a movie actor, his glamorous friends, work and family but as a social history.... it was a rich life and once you start the journey through it you will enjoy and relish the experience. (Brian Baxter THE VETRAN)

Book Description

Official biography of the charismatic actor and bestselling author.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm delighted that John Coldstream's biography of Dirk Bogarde is now out in paperback, which means that more readers will have access to this compelling story of one of the finest actors of the 20th century. And, to my own pleasure, the paperback makes it easy to read in bed or carry in a pack, removing all worry about damaging my cherished hardback version.
Without reserve, I can say that this is one of the best biographies I have read in years and certainly the finest that will ever be written on Dirk Bogarde. From the minute one picks up this book, as beautiful in paperback as in hardback, one knows that it is not the usual star biography filled with gossip, written merely to pump up a star's image or to make a quick profit. Coldstream's engrossing look at the public and private lives of this icon of British film is impossible to put down. The first page quickly turns into 200 pages.
Coldstream has the rare perspective of friend and one who worked with Bogarde, which brings a special understanding and appreciation of the private Bogarde to this biography. Yet, unlike writers who set out to prove theories, Coldstream's balanced, extensively researched approach is the ultimate tribute to Bogarde. The reward for readers is a compelling view, written with candour, insight, and affection.
Given unlimited access by Bogarde's family to private papers, photos, and rare home movies, Coldstream unfolds a life that holds us spellbound. He illuminates the early influences on Bogarde, his military years, journey from matinee idol to serious actor, second career as a writer, and knighthood in 1992, giving us behind-the-scenes looks at some of the biggest names and players in British film and Hollywood.
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By Nicholas Casley TOP 500 REVIEWER on 21 Jun. 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a review of the original hardback edition of 2004.

One immediately has reservations when it comes to `authorised' biographies: how much we are told is true and how much has been left out? But with John Coldstream's biography of Dirk Bogarde, I think we are on safe ground, if only because the general demeanour of the narrative is not by any means uncritical of its subject. In his introduction, Coldstream recognises that "Dirk was a writer whose entire oeuvre became a fiction, thanks in large part to his hyperactive imagination and his fantasies", that Bogarde sought to cover his tracks through chaff, camouflage, and a scorched-earth policy.

The prologue opens with Bogarde's quiet, painless, and sudden death in his flat in Cadogan Gardens and how his nurse of two years sensed Bogarde urge her not to try and resuscitate him. It is quite an odd and moving passage. What follows is then a chronological account of Bogarde's careers as actor and writer, for he is as detailed about Bogarde's later writing career as about his acting, although alas on both there are no detailed critiques provided. We learn how in his late teens Bogarde was taught art by a then little-known Graham Sutherland, and how he chatted about acting to a completely unknown Peter Ustinov. Tony Forwood does not appear until the start of chapter four, and even then, only offering to manage Bogarde. Forwood then disappears as Bogarde goes off to war

Coldstream's account, however, is in two parts, 'Derek' and then 'Dirk', denoting a decisive break around 1946 in Bogarde's outlook and persona. This was when he was demobilised at the ripe age of twenty-five. Coldstream notes how Bogarde wrote on a book's endpaper `Derk, Dirk, Derek' as if deciding what name would look better up in lights.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a most absorbing book of one of the greatest British Film actors. I found it absolutely fascinating to discover so much about Bogarde and from such excellent recorded sources. The author lays bare much of the gossip surrounding him and it adds to his mystique and attractiveness. john Coldstream clearly found the topic interesting and, fortunately, found the good and the bad and wrote about both. An excellent read.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is one of the best biographies I've read in years and certainly the finest written on Dirk Bogarde. From the minute you pick up this beautiful book, you know that it is not the usual star biography filled with gossip, written merely to pump up a star's image or to make a quick profit. Coldstream's engrossing look at the public and private lives of this icon of British film is impossible to put down. The first page quickly turns into 200 pages.
Coldstream has the rare perspective of friend and one who worked with Bogarde, which brings a special understanding and appreciation of the private Bogarde to this biography. Yet, unlike writers who set out to prove theories, Coldstream's balanced, extensively researched approach is the ultimate tribute to Bogarde. The reward for readers is a compelling view, written with candour, insight, and affection.
Given unlimited access by Bogarde's family to private papers, photos, and rare home movies, Coldstream unfolds a life that holds us spellbound. He illuminates the early influences on Bogarde, his military years, acting days, career as a writer, and knighthood in 1992, giving us behind-the-scenes looks at some of the biggest names and players in British film and Hollywood.
We are privy to Bogarde's thoughts on the Rank and Hollywood Studio systems, on acting, the rigours of filming, and his unaccredited revisions of awful scripts. We hear his candid comments on the famous people who graced his beautiful homes on any given weekend: Ingrid Bergman, Ava Gardner, Judy Garland, Charlotte Rampling; directors Cukor, Losey, and Visconti, to name a few. Bogarde knew them all. Equally fascinating are their unvarnished thoughts on him, good and bad.
But Coldstream gives us more than glitter.
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