Customer Reviews


11 Reviews
5 star:
 (6)
4 star:
 (1)
3 star:
 (3)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book
I have just read Christopher Plummer's book, and can only recommend you do the same. It is beautifully written, and he takes us with through his life, warts and all. We are admitted back stage to get to know some of the old heroes of the film industry, there are naughty bits that add spice, funny bits that made you laugh out lout, sad bits that put tears in my eyes,...
Published on 27 Dec 2009 by Hanne Lyng

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Fallen Icon
A brilliant diamond with a hollow core – is how I must describe the man behind this memoir. Sadly, I came to this conclusion in spite of myself. His soul speaks loud and clear in his memoir – what vestige of it there may be, that is!

One cannot discount his acting abilities. He now adds a good grasp of the English language to his repertoire for he...
Published 3 months ago by Simone Camilleri


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book, 27 Dec 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have just read Christopher Plummer's book, and can only recommend you do the same. It is beautifully written, and he takes us with through his life, warts and all. We are admitted back stage to get to know some of the old heroes of the film industry, there are naughty bits that add spice, funny bits that made you laugh out lout, sad bits that put tears in my eyes, especially the passages that mention him and his wife's family of dogs. But as they say: "Wait, there's more.....". Enjoy!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars Fallen Icon, 4 Sep 2014
By 
A brilliant diamond with a hollow core – is how I must describe the man behind this memoir. Sadly, I came to this conclusion in spite of myself. His soul speaks loud and clear in his memoir – what vestige of it there may be, that is!

One cannot discount his acting abilities. He now adds a good grasp of the English language to his repertoire for he writes beautifully, if not structurally. That, and his love of dogs, is all that I can find to recommend both the essence of the memoir and the man’s character. The rest, to my great shock and horror, depicts an empty shell of a man, who learnt nothing from his life except how to mark notches in his belt – names who hit the spotlight (hundreds of them); empty associations made in drunken stupors with males and females alike; pretty ladies who could ‘supposedly’ act or who looked delectable enough to eat, who tended to distract his prose long enough to digress; boys-will-be-boys late nights with bar-hopping and aimless amusements. Well, you get the picture … it goes on and on; more of the same until the end.

Mr. Plummer latches on to those big names in a frenzied effort to identify himself and his achievements. The underlying insecurity is, however, what comes to the fore in all his ramblings. It is these associations and the character roles he played that define the man. Being one of the boys and fooling around, as do most in his profession. Which, to my mind, was his denouement, for in his zeal to fit into his peer group – to please them, to feel accepted, to feel that he’s one of the top brass – he redefined the real Christopher and turned him into a zombie and a clone. The most vital parts of himself were methodically suppressed until they no longer existed.

He sets out famously in his ‘Book One’, which depicts his early life. There we had a clean slate of the boy with his Airedale (though somewhat over-dramatised), a beleaguered mother, no father in sight but plenty of elderly male role models from the Abbot clan. Very sweet. And, I thought for a while, promising. A nice, clean, cultured family with a lot of love shared and time devoted to one another. I loved this first part of his memoir. I particularly loved his evident love of dogs, to which he dedicated his memoir. It was his only redeeming trait as far as I’m concerned. (At first, I thought Fuff was another one of his dogs, but later it turned out to be one of the wives, which was of itself quite revealing, I have to say.)

At any rate, upon that lovely childhood journey, I was all agog for a fruitful passage from childhood to adulthood. Right? Wrong!! By God, was I wrong! I read on in growing revulsion, and hoping against hope that somewhere along the way the poor little boy who’d gone astray, would somehow find his way. He never did! That was the end of the road for Mr. Christopher Plummer, I very much fear. Any growth in his character literally came to a standstill somewhere in his late teens and he got stuck in that rut for the remaining decades. Still is, by all accounts.

Did he miss the boat? Clearly, Mr. Plummer does not think so! Was acting really supposed to be his calling? Clearly, Mr. Plummer is convinced of it! But the clean slate that was that sweet little boy had the makings of a far higher calling. Had he not thrown in the towel so quickly, had he not been so hell-bent on being “one of the boys”, on belonging to a group, so to speak, Arthur Christopher Ormer Plummer could have been anything! And I mean ANYTHING! He had the right foundation to make something more of himself than the drunken, peer-driven libertine be became for most of his adult life. To little old me, who has admired him for most of my life, it was a revolting picture. His crude words match his crude behaviour all the way to the late sixties when, supposedly, his life took a turn. But did it really??

What follows is debatable in my mind, though many are persuaded that somehow he was rescued by an angel of mercy – his third wife whom he dubs Fuff! He himself declares it, though what Mr. Plummer says as opposed to what he really feels is also questionable. I think it’s a habit with him to say what he thinks people would like to hear rather than what he really thinks. Considering that the words in his long memoir were written in his late seventies, with retrospective thoughts of the whale of a time he had with his ol’ pals of his profession (which, by the way, did not really ever stop at all!), the truth of the matter is that Mr. Plummer is still stuck in the good old days, where the hedonistic lifestyle is viewed as worldly, trendy, hip; ergo, the stuff real men are made of. Ugh! Is the fellow not aware that some of his fans are female??!

No gentleman there! A man’s man, mayhap, but definitely no genteel man. Ok, I got that! But there’s more, far more, that exposes the tired, soulless man behind the glitter. The saddest thing for me, who admired him so well for the longest time. Superficial is too mild a word to define him, but really that’s all there is to the poor fellow. The man inside that hollow diamond is the same cardboard, one-dimensional man, whom he so hated to personify in his acting roles. Perhaps because he gave all of himself into his roles, there was no real man left. Or perhaps the roles became HIM, in a manner that took him over like a wild beast. When you spend your entire life living in someone else’s shoes, invariably you tend to hog those shoes as your own. And there is no time to look inward at the self. A kind of shape-shifting.

Captain von Trapp was way too good for him! That’s the poor one-dimensional fellow he detested above all else – the same fellow who filled the hearts of millions around the globe, young and old alike. The Sound of Music is a treasured memory from my childhood. I loved the film when I was old enough to watch it in the 70s. I love it still today. There is something magical about that movie that will never die – the music, the scenery, indeed the simple romanticism of the story itself. Plummer says it’s gooey, but that’s because there’s not an ounce of sensitivity inside him. God! to disparage it so callously as he did for decades after, when it was the film that MADE HIM, is the ultimate ignominy! Hollow, vacuous, plastic!

In conclusion, Plummer’s memoir shows the real soul behind the man – a faceless man who thrived on his vanity in search of self-aggrandisement and the acceptance of his peers, with little to no thought for the casualties he left in his wake along the way.

He was simply numb. Still is, judging by his prolific writings. I grieved for many of those casualties in his life, even though I never knew them. But above all, I grieved for that little boy – little Arthur Christopher Ormer Plummer – who held so much promise and missed so much living. His soul journey was a futile passage, as it were, for he learnt nothing of worth. He knew his Shakespeare and his ‘friends’ but that’s about it! Of the rest of the world he knows nothing, gave nothing.

I get no pleasure writing such a harsh review. In fact, I usually don’t write anything if I don’t like something about a book. But I was too upset by the contents of this memoir not to. An icon falls in my estimation and the purging needed to be got out of the way. He’s a leading role model, or could have been had he been the proper gentleman he was meant to be. He certainly had the makings of one.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Warts and all, 12 Aug 2009
By 
Mrs. K. E. Austin "CP fan" (West Sussex, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
For Christopher Plummer fans like myself, this is a "must read". For general fans of film and in particular, theatre, this is also of great interest as it gives in depth accounts of behind the scenes "goings on". My only critisism would be that in some cases there is too much detail!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The fantastic Christopher Plummer, 14 May 2009
By 
Lillian Roe "dvd fan" (Ireland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This is a great book. It takes you behind the scenes of Chris's films and plays. It's a very personal account of his life. Brilliant.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars Seems like lese majeste but I wouldn't recommend this book, 28 Sep 2014
By 
M. Somers - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: In Spite of Myself (Paperback)
Disappointing: it has its moments but large screeds are devoted to lists of those present (namedropping) and the degree of drunkenness the writer managed to achieve. Mr Plummer occasionally lets drop the odd malapropism and mis-spelling which should have been picked up by his subeditors. Seems like lese majeste but I wouldn't recommend this book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I didn't want it to end!, 12 Mar 2011
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: In Spite of Myself: A Memoir (Hardcover)
I've admired Christopher Plummer ever since I saw his first film released in England 'Stage Struck' a good 50 years ago. He had, of course, a colossal hit in 'S & M' ('Sound of Music') but I especially treasure his Henry II to the great Eric Potrter's 'Becket' for the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, and his TV 'Hamlet at Elsinore'. He tells us about his ups and downs in theatre and on screen with modesty, wit and great generosity to his fellow artistes. He is an excellent writer (rivalling in this genre the supremo, Dirk Bogarde) and gives vivid accounts of his early life in Quebec and Montreal (clmbing Mount Royal with his mother and seeing robed Monks skiing to vespers), his various subsequent homes in Connecticut, New York, London, France and wherever else. He is frank about the many ladies whose favours he enjoyed, and we warm to his joy in his final wife 'Fuff'. He has been a bon vivant, quite a drinker, drops names shamelessly but always amuses. He was a friend of Christopher Fry ('The Lady's Not for Burning') who was my friend too in later life, and pays him due praise. He was also a great friend of Jason Robards, of whom he write movingly. Its a laugh-out- loud book, rich in comic set pieces of which the funniest is his wry description of filming 'Waterloo' with Russian director Sergei Bondarchuk, who lost interest in the Brits and seemed not to want Napoleon to lose. (Still, Plummer made a capital Wellington.) There are lovely stories of the family of dogs who enriched his and Fuff's lives for some years. It's particularly gratifying that towards the end of his career he's been getting some of his best parts ever. (I recently enjoyed his dying Tolstoy with a frisky Helen Mirren as his his inhibited wife.)

But oh, Kit, why did you deny us an index!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars quite interesting, 18 May 2014
By 
Jeannie (Wiltshire UK) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: In Spite of Myself: A Memoir (Hardcover)
a rather superficial view of a life. It would be of interest to theatre people with its rather gossipy style but Mr. Plummer makes the rather denigrating term "lovie" acceptable.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars In spite, 27 Dec 2010
By 
Susan Duncan "Bat" (Edinburgh Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: In Spite of Myself: A Memoir (Hardcover)
Christopher Plummer may be a fine actor but he can't write,and obviously bludgeoned his editor to death very early in the production of this "memoir". Having done away with his editor he then sets about inducing a coma in his readers because he thinks a memoir is a list of all the people he encountered ever, combined with diversions along blind alleys of threatrical history - does anyone remember or care about Guthrie McClintic and his agency?

The narrative is like a badly packed suitcase with random objects thrown in in no particular order. Mr Plummer is very keen to let us know how good his French is - it should be he grew up in Montreal, a city he does not capture, beyond telling us all about the bars he visited as a teenager. His prose style veers between the folksy "one tough hombre" to the pompous "I abandoned my 20's" and the excitement of appearing in early television and broadway is lost in endless lists of names, most of whom were not well known in the 1950's let alone now.

We all know what a fine thespian he is but lets face it we all remember and love him because he was Captain von Trapp something he at last seems to have come to terms with judging from the chapter called S and M about filming the Sound of Music, amongst the lists of names and the obligatory mention of the Opera stars he rubbed shoulders with during the shoot in Salzburg he pays great tribute to Julie Andrews without whom the film would not have made him a household name - Mr Plummer can't sing like Dame Julie and sadly this "memoir" compares badly with the spare and beautifully written "Home"
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read, 27 April 2012
Christopher Plummer's In Spite of Myself is one of the best showbiz memoirs I've read. It's very long (over 600 pages) but never boring, largely due to Plummer's narrative skill, wit and charm.

A large part of the book reads like a Who's Who of the American and British theatre of the 1950s and 1960s, with Plummer having worked with most major theatrical figures of those decades, from Elia Kazan to Peter Hall. And his friendships have also ranged widely, including figures such as NoŽl Coward, Rex Harrison, Laurence Olivier, Katharine Hepburn, Raymond Massey and Jason Robards. He is always generous towards everyone he mentions, even to those who have treated him unfairly, either professionally or personally; and he is always self-deprecating.

He is, perhaps, better known for his film work (particularly in The Sound of Music) but a major part of his career has been in the theatre, on both sides of the Atlantic. In the 1960s, he was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, living in Britain for a large part of that decade. And amongst the major theatrical classical roles he's played throughout his career are Hamlet, Macbeth, Henry V, Richard III and King Lear.

The book is also full of interesting detail about Plummer's more personal life: his visits to different countries (he's extremely well travelled), his favourite hotels and restaurants, his house moving adventures, and movingly about the deaths of his pet dogs, which he kept in the 1980s and 1990s.

As you can imagine for a 600-plus-page book, there is far more in it than I have been able to touch on here, so I highly recommend it--especially to anyone interested in theatre and film of the past 60 years.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Christopher Plummer, 17 Mar 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: In Spite of Myself: A Memoir (Hardcover)
I enjoyed the first section of the book best, before Christopher Plummer became an actor! His description of a privileged upbringing in Quebec & Ontario before WW2 is particularly interesting.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

In Spite of Myself: A Memoir
In Spite of Myself: A Memoir by Christopher Plummer (Hardcover - 25 Sep 2010)
Used & New from: £4.53
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews