20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
So much more than just a "hell raiser"!,
This review is from: What Fresh Lunacy is This?: The Authorized Biography of Oliver Reed (Hardcover)
Oliver Reed was a big man with a big personality, which means any biography about him needs to be big on research and not pull any punches when it comes to recounting the outrageous stories, legendary drinking games, pranks and general hell raising antics. Thankfully the two years of meticulous research and interviews has paid off to deliver a book that shows the professional genius of Reed as an actor and the personal flaws of the man as a son, brother, husband and father.
This is the first time Oliver's brothers, lovers, wives and children have talked to an author and their honesty is refreshing, which gives this authorised biography an intimacy and authenticity pervious books have lacked. Reed's personality is evident from page 1 and love him or hate him you can't ignore his huge presence, which the author has captured perfectly.
I was particularly interested in the stories of his early life and his often turbulent relationship with his father, whose stance in the Second World War as a conscientious objector shaped Reed's macho attitude over the years, and gave him a rebellious and life long love of the military. I was also surprised that, even though he was a notorious drinker, on a film set he was always a consummate professional, often showing a gentler side with impeccable manners to the cast and crew.
This isn't just a book about the hell raising. Each of Reed's films are dealt with, not just as part of the time line of his life, but also to show the highs and lows of his career and it doesn't shy away from his professional as well as his personal decline too, right though to those infamous chat show appearances.
Oliver Reed, in his heyday was raw, sexy and unmissable. By the end he was a sad act to watch. But you don't have to condone his lifestyle to enjoy this book. For me I find his antics a shame and childish rather than hilariously funny as many do, but Oliver Reed wouldn't have given two hoots what any of us thought of him or what he did. This book is about a piece of British Cinema history, it's about an icon and a legend, words too often bandied about now, but by the time you have read this remarkable biography you realise that for Oliver Reed they are very fitting indeed.