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Terence Rattigan: A Biography [Hardcover]

G. Wanswell
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Mcclelland & Stewart Ltd; First Edition edition (1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857022017
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857022018
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16.5 x 4.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 493,213 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terence Rattigan - A Review by Barry Van-Asten 19 Nov 2013
This is a fine biography (originally published in 1996) of the playwright Terence Mervyn Rattigan (1911-1977) and Geoffrey Wansell captures the atmosphere of his times perfectly. Rattigan's first success in the West End was his comedy `French without tears' in 1936, followed by the well-known drama `The Winslow boy' (1946) and the excellent `The Browning version' (1948). His other works include: `The Deep Blue Sea' (1952), `Separate Tables' (1954), `Ross' (1960) and `Cause Celebre' (1977).
Rattigan's middle-class `French-window dramas' became unfavourable in the 1950's and 60's when the so-called `kitchen-sink' dramatists such as Shelagh Delaney (1939-2011) and John Osborne (1929-1994) became popular. Despite this, Rattigan has proved to be a lasting influence and his plays which dealt with love in all its forms from one-sided passions, homosexual themes and unexpressed feelings are still loved by audiences the world over. Marvellous!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A well written and researched book 12 April 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book after seeing a recent play about Rattigan, which used the book for much of the source material. It's a good read if you are interested in biographies, particularly of famous gay people from another era. My second-hand copy was clearly very old, even if unblemished by use.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Clock Moves Ever Onward 4 Nov 2013
By D. Brown Consignment - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have loved Terence Rattigan ever since I read "The Browning Version" and was impressed by his ability to dramatize the world of hurt that human beings can manage to live with. As a playwright, Rattigan had few peers in recognition and financial success. As this biography confirms, he was both the beneficiary and the victim of his times. He was the witty, glittering celebrity writer, friends with all the famous British theatrical luminaries, writing screenplays for the Burtons and making tons of money-- spending it left and right, a good deal of it on his parents and friends. Of course he was a deeply closeted gay man who could barely flirt with his forbidden world or risk everything. It was left to some of the rest of us to rip the hinges off the closet door. Thanks, Terry, for leaving us something to be passionate about. Wansell makes the case that Terence Rattigan suffered a great deal from less and less criticial esteem, leading to depression and ill health. But for every failure he had, there was a new screenplay or a revival or even a new play that somebody wanted from Rattigan. Who in life gets even one tiny iota of such plums?!
The British theatre changed about 1956 with onslaught of the Angry Young men, championed by Kenneth Tynan and other kitchen-sink lovers (who were also virulently homophobic). These people "suspected" that Rattigan and that crowd were "pansies" and would hardly have thought the "pansies" courageous for coming out of the closet. Of course the kitchen-sink dramas have had their day as well. Lower-class whiners are not that delightful for long!
The biographer here is lucid, understands the pressures on Rattigan, and goes a long way to rescue and revive his reputation. He was hardly a frivolous writer, and his life is very interestingly displayed in this book.
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