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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Old-school...
This book is definitley for you if like me, you're underwhelmed by the sheer blandness of many of the film stars from the modern era...Yes Jude Law, Orlando Bloom, stand up!...In the era of Richard Burton, Richard Harris, Peter O'Toole and Oliver Reed, those guys would have been playing the screaming, helpless victim role, dead by the first quarter of the film...
Published on 5 Jun 2008 by Mark Gillespie

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Compendium of drunken anecdotes
If you enjoy hearing about other peoples' inebriated exploits, this book will be a complete treat. Burton, O'Toole, Harris and Reed certainly drank a lot so there are numerous stories of their madcap antics whilst under the influence. On one level, this is jolly funny. However, as others have already said, it does get a bit repetitive and whilst I like a drink as much...
Published on 2 July 2009 by Ichabod J


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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Old-school..., 5 Jun 2008
By 
Mark Gillespie "Sparky" (Glasgow, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This book is definitley for you if like me, you're underwhelmed by the sheer blandness of many of the film stars from the modern era...Yes Jude Law, Orlando Bloom, stand up!...In the era of Richard Burton, Richard Harris, Peter O'Toole and Oliver Reed, those guys would have been playing the screaming, helpless victim role, dead by the first quarter of the film!

This book is largely all about the drunken escapades of the four Hellraisers, and is guaranteed to have you laughing out loud more than once. It's worth remembering though, just how talented and unique these men were though and it's that talent/charisma/uniqueness/last of a dying breed, call it what you will, that makes them truly worth remembering.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars REAL actors, 30 Aug 2008
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Love this book - instantly readable, full of information, these were real actors living hellishly wonderful lives - not like today's talentless soap stars. Highly recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 10 July 2008
By 
P. Hamer "Paulie" (Cardiff Wales) - See all my reviews
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I haven't laughed so hard or loud reading a book in a long time! Tears were rolling down my face. Not only four great actors but four total madmen. Brilliant! Have a read, You won't be disappointed.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read, 13 Aug 2008
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Mr. M. Regan "THE man in black" (Cumbria) - See all my reviews
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I would suggest that there is nothing earth shattering in terms of revelations here about any ot the characters involved, but the book is well assembled and interesting to read. I did enjoy reading about these greats of the stage and screen especially when out coming crop of actors and musicians seem to be so very bland. Interesting and amusing book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Compendium of drunken anecdotes, 2 July 2009
By 
Ichabod J (Farleigh Wallop, Hampshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hellraisers: The Life and Inebriated Times of Burton, Harris, O'Toole and Reed (Paperback)
If you enjoy hearing about other peoples' inebriated exploits, this book will be a complete treat. Burton, O'Toole, Harris and Reed certainly drank a lot so there are numerous stories of their madcap antics whilst under the influence. On one level, this is jolly funny. However, as others have already said, it does get a bit repetitive and whilst I like a drink as much as the next bloke (not the subjects of this work however), there is an underlying sense that these 'hellraisers' can't have been that much fun to be around.
Sellers delivers the narrative with laddish zeal, but the book is actually light on why these actors felt compelled to knock it back with such dedication. Was it as a consequence of being tortured creative artists, egomaniacs or just plain old-fashioned alcoholics? You may be left wondering, but ultimately not caring.
Worth a read for the funny stories; if nothing else, you'll be able to recount some of them in the pub where they'll probably get a laugh. Just don't expect to read well-rounded biographies - this is specifically a history of drinking and drunkenness.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Drinking in Heaven, 28 May 2008
Hellraisers: The Life and Inebriated Times of Richard Burton, Richard Harris, Peter O'Toole and Oliver Reed, by Robert Sellers, recounts the lives and deeds of four of Britain's most talented actors and also the most sozzeled in a generation of highly smashed thespians.
In our sanatised age when a couple of drinks too many will send a present day celebrity to the Priory for six weeks of counselling, post war Britiain produced a group of actors who drank, fornicated and caused hell wherever they went.Possessing larger than life personalities, distinctive of feature and voice, while at the same time having star quality and a crate full of raw talent they lived life to the full. Beginning in the fifties, this group of actors boozed their way through three decades, untill death, ill-health and too many late nights caught up with them. Out the four actors featured in this book, and many more mentioned in passing, only Peter O'toole, now frail and in his mid-seventies is still with us.
Robert Sellers has written a cocktail of a book, weaving biography and well worn tale together. Rather than give us a six chapters on each actor, Sellers jumps around from one to the other as we follow them up the ladder to stardom and the booze soaked tales. Although some of the stories in this book are as old as the hills and have become drinking folklore such as Oliver Reed drinking 126 pints in 24 hours or Richard Harris being so paralytic he went to the wrong room in his hotel and climbed into the bed of a young couple, Sellers sets such a pace that reading Hellraisers is like spending a boozy night out at the pub and laughing yourself stupid at the same story your've heard many times but actually finding it funnier in the upteeth telling.
The personalities of these four giants of the cinema and stage come over extremely vividly. Although each drink stained page recounts yet another pub brawl or broken relationship the sheer determination and talent of these four hits the reader between the eyes.
So, how inebriated were they? By the standards of today, very.
Richard Burton's personality comes over as dark and troubled even though he attained fame and riches beyond his dreams. His alcohol consumption which consisted of two bottles of vodka a day and anything else in slight turned him morose and even violent at times. When he died at the age of fifty-eight many said he had wasted his God-given talent.
Richard Harris on the other hand played the stage Irishman all his life.What he lacked in talent he certainly made up with sheer maddness and guts. Reading of Harris's comsumption (drugs as well as booze) one wonders if he was on a death wish, and some of his drunken pranks, like running down the highway attacking cars, mark him out as top hellraiser with Oliver Reed.
Peter O'Toole remains the most enigmatic and charismatic figure in an age of hugh personalities. Drinking for Britain, this Irish born actor nearly died in his mid-forties from the bottle and certainly the only reason he is alive today is giving up or definitely cutting back (nobody seems to know whether he still drinks or not). O'Toole comes over as totally eccentric and at times on the edge of maddness. While notching up fantastic screen roles he even had time to fit in playing Hamlet at the National Theatre whilst getting hammered every night after the play.
If a person knows nothing about Oliver Reed they will know he was probably Britain's biggest drinking actor and one of the funniest. Not bothered about being the next Olivier or appearing at Stratford, Reed smashed his way into films and for the next four decades amused the British public with his bizarre behaviour and amazing drinking feats.
Of course not all of Sellers book is a big drunken hoot. To be one the recieving end of Harris' boozed up temper or finding yourself in the middle of one of Reed's practical jokes probably wasn't as amusing as it reads. And as for these actor's wifes and partners life could not have been the great party portrayed here. The trail of destruction too, caused by alcohol to this book's subjucts should not be overlooked and one wonders where Reed, Burton and Harris would be in the acting firmament if they had moderated their booze intake or had had a wake-up call like O'Toole.
Sellers has written with affection on probably our four greatest acting boozers who we must not judge by today's standards. They were a product of their age and it is impossible for even the most puritanical of us to read Sellers book and not wish we had been a bit more like them.
Clearly put beside the so called talent and celebratly of today, Burton, Harris, O'Toole and Reed and all who boozed with them, cast these pretenders into the shadows with a gusto and force which is never likely to be seen again.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars great tales, 25 Sep 2008
these are the ultimate theatrical characters - and this is a great new way to look at them. It darts around at a bit of a pace but then so did they. it is a bit sad to see the damage they did to those around them as well as to themselves. But it's a great record of a wilder age - and shows that booze and britain go back a very long way ....
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Boozy fun, 2 Jan 2009
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A. Johnston (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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Don't get this expecting a high-brow biography of a bunch of thespians. Or even a serious book dissecting the lives of these actors, all the films that they were in etc etc.

The clue to this is the title. It's a series of tales and anecdotes about these four drinkers (plus the occasional aside about some of their drinking buddies) interwoven against the background of the films / plays that they were appearing in and their sex lives. It's entertainment, pure and simple. I devoured this in a couple of days and had to stop myself laughing out loud many times over.

The only possible downside is that there is a certain amount of rose tinted nostalgia in this too. Admittedly there are some bland actors around now (as there were back in those days), but there are still a few hell raisers out there today.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Loaded wouldn't touch it, 11 Feb 2013
Not because of the subject matter - this could have been a British version of Easy Riders, Raging Bulls or Dino. But the writing is awful. The trick of Loaded, Jack, FHM etc. is that although the subject matter is unironically low-brow, the writing is sharp and witty. This unedited piffle is just too tiring to read, and feels like the work of an enamoured sixth-former who would love to be cool.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Staggering!, 11 Feb 2011
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This review is from: Hellraisers: The Life and Inebriated Times of Burton, Harris, O'Toole and Reed (Paperback)
An amazing biography of the film industries hardest drinkers, Burton, O'Toole, Harris and Reed. Some of their escapdes will have you laughing, crying and wanting to read parts out to people on the bus!
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