Customer Reviews


8 Reviews
5 star:
 (1)
4 star:    (0)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:
 (4)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


5.0 out of 5 stars Buy "Sparks Fly Upward" rather than this offering if you wish to learn more about Stewart Granger
No complaints regarding the book, but the author sets out more as an amateurish movie critic than biographer and a lot is left to be desired concerning factual content surrounding Stewart Granger, due to personal opinion and assumptions seeing IMHO far too much use.
Published 3 months ago by Palmer Outdoors

versus
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing Critical Analysis of Sparks Fly Upwards
Certainly, Stewart Granger was an interesting subject, albeit a complicated, vain, intransigent individual who disliked being told what to do, even before he became a celebrity as a 40's film star in the UK and then as an MGM star in the U.S. Not many accounts here from friends, acquaintances or former wives; actually there is absolutely nothing directly from second wife...
Published on 21 Oct 2005 by Door Knob


Most Helpful First | Newest First

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing Critical Analysis of Sparks Fly Upwards, 21 Oct 2005
This review is from: Stewart Granger (Hardcover)
Certainly, Stewart Granger was an interesting subject, albeit a complicated, vain, intransigent individual who disliked being told what to do, even before he became a celebrity as a 40's film star in the UK and then as an MGM star in the U.S. Not many accounts here from friends, acquaintances or former wives; actually there is absolutely nothing directly from second wife Jean Simmons or any of Granger's children from his three marriages.. Neither is there anything revealing that transpired after 1960 (where Granger's autobiography Sparks Fly Upwards ends) except a summarized detail of Granger's divorce and lapsed career. There are, however, a few depressing accounts of B-movies made in Europe, bad business deals, a few lines about Granger's third marriage to Belgian beauty queen Caroline LeCerf, and his moving about in Europe and then settling in Santa Monica, California, and later silly TV cameo roles. The photos included reveal nothing, except, at the very last, a very sad one showing an aged Granger with his grown daughter Samantha from his third wife LeCerf. Shiach asserts that Granger was uncomfortable as a father and made a conscious decision never to actually be one for any of his children after his subsequent divorces. If only Shiach had acquired some input from Granger's children...(but perhaps they declined to cooperate?)
Shiach makes much of how Granger was disliked for his arrogance and temperament, mostly due to Granger's disgust with authority, homophobia and distrust of women. His analysis of Granger's autobiography (Sparks Fly Upwards) refers to this frequently, and Shiach makes valid points. There is not much enlightenment here, however, as one can easily read Granger's autobiography and scan whatever comes up on Granger from any internet search engine. What I would have liked is some intimate anecdotes from family, ex-wives and friends. I really do not understand why Shiach did not have their cooperation. Perhaps they were compelled, at the very least and at the very end, to grant Mr. Granger the privacy and respect he felt he deserved, at last.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars High Expectation not fulfilled, 6 Dec 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Stewart Granger (Hardcover)
I had high expectations of this book. I had already read Stewart Granger’s autobiography which gave me an appetite to learn more. This book did not fulfil my expectations. I am not really interested in reading some sort of judgement of character. Rather I wanted to learn more about the man’s life. For example what happened after 1960 when Mr. Granger departed America for England. This book left me little the wiser about these missing years from the autobiography. I would also have liked some explanation of the relationship between Mr. Granger, his mother and his so called uncle. I did not find the explanation of this relationship in the autobiography completely convincing. However, Don Shiach book left me little the wiser. All in all I felt this book was a missed opportunity. There are unlikely to be many other biographies and many of the people involved with Mr. Granger’s life will not be available for much longer.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hatchet Job, 17 Dec 2007
By 
Shiach seems increasingly to dislike Stewart Granger. His run through the film star's life and times is marred by repetitive psychobabble about his compensating for a supposedly disadvantaged childhood, and one soon loses confidence in a biographer who places the Old Brompton Road in London's East End. He gives a pretty comprehensive account of Granger's 50 odd films,without being much impressed by any of them - and he wrongly casts him as the reporter in THE CROOKED ROAD: that part was played by Robert Ryan, and Granger was the dictator.
We learn far too little about Granger's marriage to Jean Simmons and far too much of Shiach's judgments on his macho pretensions and politically incorrect colonialism and misogyny. I've no objections to a 'warts and all' biography, but here it is hard to see past the warts!
I must confess, though, as a fellow Old Epsomian that I didn't appreciate our alma mater's being dismissed as 'a minor public school'!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars No 'Swashbuckling' in this book, 5 Aug 2008
This publication is no biography of Stewart Granger.The author appears no friend of the star,as the book is over 200 pages of sarcasm,negative comments and counter asumptions to all Granger's decisions and actions. I'll now read ,and enjoy,Granger's own account in 'Sparks Fly Upward'.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Reasonable overview of career, 1 Dec 2006
The other reviewers have said it all really. Sparse on detail and short on insights from family and friends, particularly concerning Granger's later career from the 60s onwards.

However, it does provide a reasonable run - through of the basic facts of Granger's life.

In my opinion, he was an excellent actor and deserves to be regarded in the same league as David Niven and James Mason. If only he had chosen (or been allowed to appear in) a wider variety of non-action roles.

The definitive book on this neglected and underrated actor remains to be written.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Worst Book I Have Ever Read, 30 April 2010
This review is from: Stewart Granger (Hardcover)
Imagine a book about Hollywood written in 1956 by a low-level Soviet apparatchik living disappointedly in a concrete tower-block in Minsk while working in the local office of Kruschev's Ministry of Information, and you pretty much have the accurate picture of this turgid, toxic and self-serving biography of Stewart Granger by Mr Don Schiach. Think of sitting for hours on the Brighton train next to an adenoidal, anaemic Trot in a 1980s parka festooned with ideologically-correct lapel badges, droning out envious rants about everyone middle-class and everything except trainspotting, interspersed with smug sanctimonious little homilies about sexism, classism, racism and homophobia. This book is the worst I have ever read, although Dan Brown comes close. Three hours of pain and boredom, redeemed only by the fact that it was a library loan not a purchase. It requires masochistic stamina to plough through to its flabby and incoherent ending, in the vain hope of a funny anecdote or a novel insight emerging from the steatorrheic sludge. Stewart Granger, a flamboyant and swashbuckling filmstar of the 40s and 50s, disappears almost entirely from view beneath the municipal, clipboard socialism in this poisonous little tract. I knew very little about Granger before this book, and at the end of it I know little more, although I find I've developed a near-homicidal animus against the wormlike Schiach. Schiach clearly loathes the subject of his book, although I detect a strong fishy whiff of homoerotic attraction underneath the dreary ideological correctness and crashing inverted snobbery. Schiach can hardly bear to concentrate on his subject for more than a sentence or two before turning to his (surely very few) readers to denounce another perceived example of Granger's supposed homophobia, sexism, snobbery or whatever other self-righteous obsession floats into Schiach's joyless little mind. Granger's well-loved films (Scaramouche, Moonfleet, Saraband for Dead Lovers), his lifelong friendships with women, his love of the great outdoors, his enviable business acumen - all are turned relentlessly against him in nitpicking and self-contradictory detail. The most painful and depressing aspect of this book is the flycover, which reveals that Don Schiach writes textbooks on English grammar and drama for UK schoolchildren, something that confirms my worst fears about the state school system. Schiach's career has been sustained by the taxpayer to write propagandist textbooks that his readers have had no choice but to read and I feel so sorry for them. That Schiach is accustomed to addressing a captive audience of bored 14 year-old readers shows clearly in the style of this biography. Faced with the prospect of reading a Schiach tome in class, the options of suicide or truancy must seem so much more attractive. Needless to say, his grammar is atrocious, his spelling dodgy, his syntax sloppy and his proof-reading non-existent. The style is painfully dismal, disorganised and predictable. You can almost sense him searching his limited imagination for something he has already said in order to say it again a couple more times. In many places Schiach loses his thread entirely and starts arguing the opposite view from the one clumsily espoused at the start of the paragraph. Sometime he changes his mind three times within a single sentence. At best, this book is an amateurish cut-and-paste job of review quotes from cheap film magazines of the 1950s and modern film guides, sparsely peppered with much better-written and lively quotes from Granger's autobiography (Sparks Fly Upwards) of 1981. From the tiny glimpses revealed by Schiach, it sounds a much more enjoyable book than this achingly obnoxious piffle. I may invest in buying up all extant copies on Amazon just for the pleasure of destroying them. I hope fervently that Schiach writes no more like it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A waste of time, 20 Dec 2007
This review is from: Stewart Granger (Hardcover)
Stewart Granger was not a great actor, nor was he a bad one. He appeared in good, as well as bad films. He did not possess the balletic athleticism of say, Fairbanks Sr., Burt Lancaster or Gene Kelly but anybody seeing the very short punch-up in the cellar of the hunting lodge in `The Prisoner of Zenda' would have no doubt as to his pugilistic capabilities.

So Steward Granger was a handsome, muscular screen personality and at that, he was very good, indeed. He led an interesting life with all the financial and emotional ups-and-downs that are a film star's lot. Therefore, an enthralling biography could have been written. Unfortunately, this isn't it.

Don Shiach appears, at best, to dislike his subject and at worst, to despise him; why he ever started his research at all is beyond me. Because to write a competent biography, the writer has to turn detective; to dig and keep digging until every clue, rumour, fact and witness has been discovered, sifted and evaluated - and in this, Mr. Shiach has been woefully inadequate. The book is not improved by continually harping on about Granger's - and the plots of his films, which heaven knows were nothing to do with him - political incorrectness regarding gender or race.

No, perhaps Mr. Shiach should stick with his textbooks in drama and English. As one of my schoolmasters said of me fifty years ago, "Unless he makes a concentrated effort next term, I really do not know what will become of him." Perhaps Mr. Shiach might profit from those wise words.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Buy "Sparks Fly Upward" rather than this offering if you wish to learn more about Stewart Granger, 30 Aug 2014
By 
Palmer Outdoors "Gary" (County Durham, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Stewart Granger (Hardcover)
No complaints regarding the book, but the author sets out more as an amateurish movie critic than biographer and a lot is left to be desired concerning factual content surrounding Stewart Granger, due to personal opinion and assumptions seeing IMHO far too much use.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Stewart Granger
Stewart Granger by Don Shiach (Hardcover - 29 Aug 2005)
Used & New from: £0.01
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews