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Customer Review

on 10 August 2008
Simpson should be lauded, not just for eloquently filling a significant gap in British film biography, but for spending ten years researching his subject and eventually turning out a measured, intelligent and - above all - extremely readable account of the life and work of Alastair Sim.

Straining vainly to rake up scandal in its review of the book (young wife, young actors as proteges...) the Daily Mail has only made itself look as befuddled and ridiculous as one of Sim's own masterly comic creations. Even a cursory glance at the text shows that the author has dealt clearly and calmly with such nonsense. Instead he focuses on, and carefully dissects, the personality and talent of what must have been a ferociously difficult subject.

Simpson deals equally well with both Sim's more familiar outings, such as Scrooge and St. Trinian's, and the far less well-known theatre work; in particular the rich and brilliant partnership with the playwright Bridie.

Overall then, this is a highly-readable account of one of Britain's best-loved performers. Simpson shares with Michael Parkinson, the rare talent of being able to allow the star subject to dominate the centre stage; whilst, at the same time, maintaining a thoughtful, sensitive probing to reveal the creative person behind the public perception. Quite superb. This is how film biography SHOULD be written.
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