rushthatspeaks: (Default)
Via Rysmiel.

This is a careful and thorough-- very thorough-- biography of an actor I have not seen as much of as I would like. It's full of interviews with people who knew him, sources talking about things in their own words, dates looked up and interesting photos, but the prose is not dead, the author's voice is present but not usually intrusive, and one does not get the impression of Olivier as a butterfly pinned to a corkboard. Also, it's very nice to read a biography of an actor of that generation that is willing to acknowledge that actor's same-sex relationships. I hadn't known Olivier was with Danny Kaye for a decade.

So you should really take this as a definitive biography, because it can certainly be used that way, and it gives great pleasure. There's a picture in it of Olivier's first large theatrical role, which was of Katherine in The Taming of the Shrew at his choir school's production when he was fourteen, and it is utterly charming, gamine, vicious, hostile and charismatic and somewhere out the other side of androgynous. The book would have been worth it for me for that alone.

That said, I have two quibbles, one major and one minor. )

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rushthatspeaks: (Default)
Via Rysmiel.

This is a careful and thorough-- very thorough-- biography of an actor I have not seen as much of as I would like. It's full of interviews with people who knew him, sources talking about things in their own words, dates looked up and interesting photos, but the prose is not dead, the author's voice is present but not usually intrusive, and one does not get the impression of Olivier as a butterfly pinned to a corkboard. Also, it's very nice to read a biography of an actor of that generation that is willing to acknowledge that actor's same-sex relationships. I hadn't known Olivier was with Danny Kaye for a decade.

So you should really take this as a definitive biography, because it can certainly be used that way, and it gives great pleasure. There's a picture in it of Olivier's first large theatrical role, which was of Katherine in The Taming of the Shrew at his choir school's production when he was fourteen, and it is utterly charming, gamine, vicious, hostile and charismatic and somewhere out the other side of androgynous. The book would have been worth it for me for that alone.

That said, I have two quibbles, one major and one minor. )

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