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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Minor Masterpiece
I must admit, I was a bit reluctant to buy Robert Sellers' latest book. A superficial glance suggested that after Hellraisers, Bad Boy Drive and The A-Z of Hellraisers we were re-treading old ground. Happily, I was completely wrong. Don't Let the Bastards Grind You Down is a well-researched, thorough book charting the rise of a group of working-class actors in the...
Published on 15 Aug 2011 by Ian Payn

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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Harris and O'Toole Weren't British...
It always troubles me when books like this, which look to celebrate a certain aspect of a nation's culture, resort to shoe-horning in factually inaccurate subject matter just to pad out the word count. The whole world and its dog knows O'Toole and Harris were Irish so why the pretence that they are part of this celebrated group of British actors? For sure, O'Toole and...
Published 7 months ago by Donegal


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Minor Masterpiece, 15 Aug 2011
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This review is from: Don't Let the Bastards Grind You Down: How One Generation of British Actors Changed the World (Hardcover)
I must admit, I was a bit reluctant to buy Robert Sellers' latest book. A superficial glance suggested that after Hellraisers, Bad Boy Drive and The A-Z of Hellraisers we were re-treading old ground. Happily, I was completely wrong. Don't Let the Bastards Grind You Down is a well-researched, thorough book charting the rise of a group of working-class actors in the nineteen-fifties who went on to successful careers, nationally and internationally. Finney, O'Toole, Connery, Caine, Harris, Robert Shaw and Alan Bates receive generous coverage, as does the slightly later Tom Courtenay. Whilst one might question whether these people "changed the world", they certainly brought a new style to British acting, and Sellers has spoken to as many of their contemporaries as he could (some of whom, like Trevor Bannister, have since died, but that's inevitable when you're dealing with people of this age). Where the book triumphs is in the sheer amount of ground it covers. No career move is ignored, and one really leaves the book thinking one has learnt something. For instance, Sian Phillips is a saint, and so is Elizabeth Harris (who has gone on to wed both Rex Harrison and Jonathan Aitken!); Robert Shaw was a nasty piece of work (who'd have thought it); Richard Harris and Peter O'Toole were headed for oblivion before they even started...the list goes on. Of all the actors covered, I think it's Finney who emerges as the real star. The book ends with him hearing that he hasn't won an Oscar for Tom Jones, beaten by Sidney Poitier. He raises a glass to Poitier, turns to his girlfriend, and says "Let's Dance."

I eagerly await the sequel. I may be slightly warped but I always find stories of decline more interesting than stories of success. And there's plenty of decline to come in the lives of these actors. Not all of them come out of the other side.

Robert Seller's best book to date. Well researched, carefully written (only one major typo gaffe - Alec McCowen is mis-spelled, but no genuine mistakes that I could spot). Highly recommended (as if you couldn't guess).
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good read, 22 April 2014
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This story is not like the name,it's about British actors,
causing havoc,being cheeky drunk,and annoying everyone.
But they think this is ok,sorry to say but some of it was funny.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, 28 Mar 2014
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Just love hearing about these film stars who are now British icons in their own right. To show how hard they work and their just deserves. Well written. Really enjoyed all Robert Sellers books.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Spotlight on an era, 20 Nov 2012
This review is from: Don't Let the Bastards Grind You Down: How One Generation of British Actors Changed the World (Hardcover)
i suppose that the qualification for appearing in this book is that an actor was male working class a bit of a boozer and appeared in at least one important film in the 50s and 60s.The problem with that is that excludes films and actors that dont fit the criteria.For example one of the first of the "kitchen sink" dramas was "Woman In A Dressing Gown" which starred Yvonne Mitchell.One of the most important films of the era was "Room At The Top".It dealt with pre marital intercourse in a way that had no tbeen previously described on screen.the problem for the author was that the main character,Joe Lampton,was played by an actor who did not fit the criteria,Laurence Harvey.harvey gets justly criticised for his portrayal of Bamforth in "The Long and the short and the tall"However there is no mention of him otherwise.To me this is a serious error.So this book is rather limiting.The book is generally quite lively and interesting.However at times it just tries to fit too much in.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars interesting read, 26 April 2012
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This review is from: Don't Let the Bastards Grind You Down: How One Generation of British Actors Changed the World (Hardcover)
i enjoyed this book very much and its wide variety of the famous and infamous if you enjoyed the stars of yesteryear you should love this
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Harris and O'Toole Weren't British..., 17 Dec 2013
It always troubles me when books like this, which look to celebrate a certain aspect of a nation's culture, resort to shoe-horning in factually inaccurate subject matter just to pad out the word count. The whole world and its dog knows O'Toole and Harris were Irish so why the pretence that they are part of this celebrated group of British actors? For sure, O'Toole and Harris would have worked alongside Britain's finest and, for sure, both actors would have learnt some of their craft alongside Britain's finest too BUT the two Irishmen also went to America and got their hands dirty with America's finest. The two Irishmen travelled the world and worked alongside a whole host of international stars.

O'Toole and Harris were very proud of being Irish and if the Americans, the British, the French or whoever tried to claim them they would have politely pointed out that they were citizens of the world and IRISH.

In short, a message to British social and cultural commentators: please stop claiming other nations' jewels as your own.
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