This book is definitley for you if like me, you're underwhelmed by the sheer blandness of many of the film stars from the modern era...Yes Jude Law, Orlando Bloom, stand up!...In the era of Richard Burton, Richard Harris, Peter O'Toole and Oliver Reed, those guys would have been playing the screaming, helpless victim role, dead by the first quarter of the film!
This book is largely all about the drunken escapades of the four Hellraisers, and is guaranteed to have you laughing out loud more than once. It's worth remembering though, just how talented and unique these men were though and it's that talent/charisma/uniqueness/last of a dying breed, call it what you will, that makes them truly worth remembering.
Hey, i'd Just like to say i started reading this book today. It is such a great read right from the beginning. i have just struggled to put it down to quickly write this review. The only sad thing about it is this time tomorrow i will have finished it :(
Not because of the subject matter - this could have been a British version of Easy Riders, Raging Bulls or Dino. But the writing is awful. The trick of Loaded, Jack, FHM etc. is that although the subject matter is unironically low-brow, the writing is sharp and witty. This unedited piffle is just too tiring to read, and feels like the work of an enamoured sixth-former who would love to be cool.
these are the ultimate theatrical characters - and this is a great new way to look at them. It darts around at a bit of a pace but then so did they. it is a bit sad to see the damage they did to those around them as well as to themselves. But it's a great record of a wilder age - and shows that booze and britain go back a very long way ....
Don't get this expecting a high-brow biography of a bunch of thespians. Or even a serious book dissecting the lives of these actors, all the films that they were in etc etc.
The clue to this is the title. It's a series of tales and anecdotes about these four drinkers (plus the occasional aside about some of their drinking buddies) interwoven against the background of the films / plays that they were appearing in and their sex lives. It's entertainment, pure and simple. I devoured this in a couple of days and had to stop myself laughing out loud many times over.
The only possible downside is that there is a certain amount of rose tinted nostalgia in this too. Admittedly there are some bland actors around now (as there were back in those days), but there are still a few hell raisers out there today.
Only halfway through this but felt enthused enough to put finger to keyboard and heartily recommend this to any budding elbow bender with a deep love for the golden age of British cinema.
This is a fast and easily flowing text that documents the debauched careers of Burton, O'Toole, Harris and Reed and takes you along for the ride, to the point were you feel that you're propping up the bar with the great and the good and soaking up the boozy atmosphere.
Pretty much each chapter is liberally laced with hilarious drunken anecdotes but also sheds light on each actors shortcomings to even up the balance.
All in all a great book but those looking to give up the hard stuff should steer clear!
This is not a book that really goes down deep and offers some real insights into why these actors, at their time and place, shared so much in terms of outlook and values. It's a collection of individual essays, really, on certain individuals, all of whom had talent and all of whom had serious flaws in their characters. There are plenty of amusing, disturbing and plain odd anecdotes, some good critical points and some colourful scenes, but the broader social account of what drove them all to act, on and off the screen or stage, as they did will have to come at a later date.
A fascinating story of four drunken, promiscuous, selfish, destructive and talented actors. I enjoyed this book from start to finish. Just when you thought the behaviour of these thugs could not get any worse it often did and certainly got no better. Women were treated like shagging material and casually cast aside in their scores when they had served their brief purpose. Faithful wives were treated appallingly. The exception being the spoilt, demanding, drunken Elizabeth Taylor who screwed Richard Burton, in every sense, till the end of their two marriages. A former husband of Taylor, Eddie Fisher, said a $50,000 diamond would please her for only a few days.
They got away with their destructive behaviour - smashing up restaurants and hotels was their forte - because of the adulation, amounting to a societal disease, that we accord to those we deem to be celebrities. But Nemesis stalked them in the form of alcohol. Their daily consumption, throughout their days and much of their nights, was gargantuan. And when the party was over their end was pitiful as they deteriorated in body and mind.
Yet this was a story with lessons offered to rest of us. Most of us, certainly myself, lead constricted lives, anxious to please, concerned about our reputations. These four renegades defied authority, ignored the restrictions of society and lived life without restraint. Having read their stories I found myself wondering if I too could benefit from being a lot less ready to submit to the petty tyranies that are visited on us. The book is full of stories that will make you laugh and at other times your skin will crawl. And, as another reviewer rightly said, they are so different to the bland celebrities of today and the telling of their banal activities.
If you want an entertaining escape into lives so outrageous that they seem to recognise no limits then this is the book to provide it.
I rarely feel compelled to give reviews but, with this book... Firstly, the positives: I like an apocryphal anecdote as much as the next person and this book does not disappoint. I'm also a fan of the best work - stage and screen - of all four actors. However, the problem with this book is that it neatly reduces four complex, multi-layered, individuals into simple grotesques - crude, misogynistic,flatulent, boorish drunkards devoid of dignity, compassion or integrity. I suspect, and indeed hope, that very few of us would be amused to have some drunken sot waving his flaccid, tattooed member in our faces - even if said member was attached to the fading star of 'Castaway', and the realities of drunken fighting are, no doubt, far less glamorous than portrayed here. Whilst, undoubtedly, each of these men were deeply flawed individuals, it does them a disservice to measure out their lives purely in terms of alcoholic behaviour. Mr Sellers seems to derive a vicarious thrill from the drunken exploits of our 'heroes'. I mourn the passing of old style film-stars and despair of the sterile, squeaky-clean modern alternatives; but,glamorising the behaviour of drunken, womanising, largely unhappy men, portraying this as something to be admired or emulated, strikes me a morally problematic. So, yes, the book is worth a read but take the tales with a large shovel of salt.