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on 10 June 2012
Autobiographies. These things can sell like hotcakes or languish on the shelves of your local Poundland, gathering dust. Surely there are two determining factors when it comes to sales figures for these books: the popularity of the subject and crucially, whether they have anything to say for themselves. Sir Christopher Frank Carandini Lee CBE CStJ meets both criteria effortlessly; and at 6'4" with dark features and a deep, strong voice, Lee was tailormade for villainous roles; a mantle he has worn with great success over his lengthy film career: Scaramanga, Count Dooku, Frankenstein's Monster, Saruman, Fu Manchu, Lord Summerisle and of course, Count Dracula.

Although the blurb on the back of the book was seemingly extensive, it didn't quite do justice to the content of Lee's autobiography. The life story of Lee is "colourful" to say the least. His childhood has him unknowingly meeting two of the assassins of Rasputin (a character he would go on to play in later life), exploring Europe and witnessing the last public execution by guillotine in France before evacuating back to Britain due to the impending German invasion, to choose but a few events from before his eighteenth birthday.

Lee's stories throughout are peppered with: members of the aristocracy, royalty from around the world; and a veritable who's who of actors, celebrities and sports stars from the King of Sweden to Burt Lancaster and Hugh Hefner to Muhammad Ali.

Throughout the book, the tone is warm, charming and conversational. It is in no way a chore to read and the impression it left me with was one of sitting down and being told stories by a grandfather of his past. Although Lee has some genuinely harrowing episodes in his life such as his wartime exploits in North Africa, his sense of humour is always evident and there were times when I had to sit the book down due to laughing so much!

Lee's autobiography offers the reader a unique insight into the film industry and he offers much honest and frank remarks about the industry in general, directors, other actors, his career regrets and a candid critique of many of his own performances; including what he considers to be his best role, that of Lord Summerisle in The Wicker Man; and the role he considers to be his most important and that of which he is most proud: playing Muhammad Ali Jinnah in Jinnah, a biopic about the founder of Pakistan.

Lord of Misrule takes the reader inside not just Lee's work but also his private life, marriage, hobbies and interests; and offers some particularly touching and personal comments on his friendships with legends of the horror genre: Boris Karloff, Vincent Price and Peter Cushing.

On a critical note, those looking for a tome on Lee's horror roles may be left disappointed. The reader of Lord of Misrule will find themselves more than a quarter of the way through the book before embarking on Lee's film career, more than a decade of which he laboured in minor roles due to being "too tall... too foreign-looking" before starring in roles for Hammer Horror of which he is now synonymous with. That is not to say that Lee skirts over his contribution to the genre and what horror films have done for his career; it is simply that Lee's life and career now spans ten decades which by any stretch of the imagination, is an awful lot to fit in one book. In fact, Lord of Misrule was originally published in 1977, then again with additions in 1997; and a further addendum in 2003 with an introduction by director Peter Jackson (Brain Dead, King Kong, The Frighteners), who worked with Lee on the Lord of the Rings films.

Whether you be a fan of Lee's work in general, hooked on horror or looking for a wonderfully rich autobiography to immerse yourself in, I thoroughly recommend Lord of Misrule.
8 people found this helpful
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on 2 June 2009
There's not much to say about this, other than that it's a very accessible book, and a delight to read, unlike most autobiographies. Lee tells the tale of his life simply and with a gentle wit. Perhaps my only little complaint is that this is an expanded version of an earlier edition of his autobiography (previously sold as Tall, Dark and Gruesome) and the new material, largely concerning his roles as Count Dooku in Star Wars and Saruman in The Lord of the Rings lack warmth, appearing to be more like a third-party account of what happened, than a first-person view.
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on 3 February 2017
Not a light-hearted or easy read but thoroughly enjoyed reading. It gives an excellent insight into past generations experiences, historical events etc
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on 25 October 2011
A fascinating tale of a man born into privilege, who served in the second world war and struggled as an actor until finding fame as the Prince of Darkness which turned out to be a blessing and curse in equal measures. A forthright, honest and detailed discourse on the life of a horror legend.
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on 3 June 2016
SSSSHHH great read
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on 11 February 2015
good quality, pleased with it
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on 22 June 2014
Fantastic story of an amazing life. Really enjoyed it from start to finish.
Would recommend it to anyone as an interesting read.
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on 30 May 2013
This is a very interesting book written by Sir Christopher Lee and the photos are well illustrated. I found this more enjoyable to read than his 1st autobiogaphy called Tall., Dark and Handsome.
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on 16 December 2016
Quick delivery to Sweden, the book answer to the description.
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on 27 December 2012
present for my brother off my kids one of the things he suggested he was really pleased with it .
One person found this helpful
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