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Snakes and Ladders (Dirk Bogarde's Autobiography) Paperback – 26 May 1988

4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New edition edition (26 May 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140105395
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140105391
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 2.1 x 18 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 431,773 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
What better way to live vicariously for a while than to read this second installment of Dirk Bogarde’s autobiography? Snakes and Ladders is the boy to man bit of the story. The ‘boy’ bit finds the young Bogarde at war while the ‘to’ bit finds him making a life for himself (and what a life!) as an actor, after the war.
The account of his war years is familiar English, soldierly territory, told by someone who was actually there. While the war is a part of Bogarde’s life, it doesn’t necessarily define or shape his life in the way that war is supposed to, according to popular fiction. It’s interesting too that he does most of his
growing up after the war rather than during it.
It's Bogarde's post-war life that dominates this autobiography. His road to success as an actor is anything but smooth and even when he does eventually achieve critical acclaim, there are many
who think he doesn’t deserve it.
There are descriptions of Bogarde's many and varied houses in England and on the continent. In all of these places he plays host to an assortment of characters from stage and screen, some famous, others not so. Many of these visitors become loyal friends and make regular appearances throughout the story. The weekends, the parties, the walks in the country and the Christmases are delightfully evoked.
It's a shame that Bogarde says nothing about his love interests or sexual inclinations. It leaves a big hole in his story. The reader is left to speculate wildly on the writer's reasons for his silence.
Nevertheless, this is an absorbing autobiography written attentively and lovingly. It's a book that is a pleasure to read.
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Format: Paperback
Some things stay in your mind years after you've read them. The story of Dirk Bogarde's doomed friendship with the ailing Judy Garland in Snakes and Ladders was one of them for me, and I was very moved by his bewilderment and anguish at her death. The book is full of similar portraits of friends like Kay Kendall - Bogarde's ability to convey the radiance of her personality in a few perceptive paragraphs is a rare thing in an actor's autobiography. His discomfort about being a movie star is well known but his insight into the fading British studio system of the 50s and early 60s has a wry sensitivity which has not been equalled.
The recent television biography of Bogarde seems to be perpetuating the image of him as an unhappy genius and left me feeling quite depressed, which "Snakes and Ladders" didn't. It's a full and often richly humorous read that I prefer to remember him by.
If you like a bit of show bizz now and then but get bored with most actors' memoirs then you'll find this book a surprisingly satisfying read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Holiday reading from DB - who, to be honest, I never really liked as an actor. I keep all his books to re-read on holiday when I run out of blockbusters and they never disappoint. The only problem with the autobiographical books is that they also contain a great deal of fiction and he tends to gloss over things which, with hindsight, were actually quite important - but probably because of the times he preferred to keep private.
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Format: Paperback
This well written book reveals just how much Dirk Bogarde disliked the majority of the films he appeared in. It's quite fascinating, and and time beautifully written. The main problem for me was that it skipped through the years so very quickly. This is not an autobiography of anecdotes from a long series of films, but an exploration of the man's history. With that in mind it is highly rewarding.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Some reviewers have criticised Dirk Bogarde for not mentioning his homosexuality in his autobiography. I wonder why? The man is what he is, an outstanding actor and perfect gentleman, which is revealed in this second instalment of his fascinating autobiography. Written with impeccable style and charming innocence, the reader is taken step by step through his illustrious career. I see no reason for him to talk about that which is personal to him. Heterosexual people do not discuss their sexual inclinations, unless it is 90% of their life, of course.

if this seems the simpering of a fan, believe me, most of my reviews on Amazon tend toward the ultra critical, as I do not suffer bad writing or bad plotlines - when I read, I want to be entertained and my attention held. Dirk Bogarde does just that.
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