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am 1. August 2000
I heard the author on NPR when she was being interviewed about this biography, so I could hardly wait until my local library got the book to me. I should have been more patient! How could a radio broadcaster who is so glib on the air write so TURGIDLY? The book needed a professional biographer to digest all the research and get full credit as co-author with Buford; her stuff would put a Lancaster groupie to sleep! No editor or publisher should have accepted this swill as a finished manuscript! Shame on the author! The first two chapters on Lancaster's early life fail to jell as a narrative; they're just raw notes. Throughout all 250+ pages of this turkey, there are bits and pieces and (every third page) there's an insight on the immediate factoids, BUT Buford presents her conclusions with irritating regularity at the end of every two paragraphs. (I figure that's how she writes for radio, and she couldn't switch.) To get through the information, I suggest you skip to the BOTTOM of a paragraph and then skim the details above. (Skimming the book upside down while you're propped in bed with a cold drink helps, too, but I don't think most readers would give this book that many chances.) The earlier Amazon reviewers point out the biographer's squeamishness about Lancaster's sexuality and they are right: Buford should have faced the issue squarely and concluded SOMEthing or she should have skipped all the snide wink-y wink-y gossip. Confession: I bought two copies from Amazon because (a)I lost my library copy; and (b)the sexy picture of Burt on the back cover is the best cheesecake I've seen since the far Lesser Burt (Reynolds) posed centerfold back in the 70s. Great photos. Wish there were a real live bibliography. Wish the author had used notecards and just published them!
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am 29. Juni 2000
Burt Lancaster's charisma and physical agility was almost toopowerful to be be confined within the boundary of a movie screen. Hewas a bona fide movie star on day one of his first film appearance and later had the smarts to capitalize on this nascent power to start his own independent production company. It appears that Lancaster was sincere in his mission to develop serious projects though his partners Hecht and later Hill were more interested in the high and wide lifestyle enjoyed by Hollywood power brokers.Not that Lancaster was a party pooper. A lot of wild living surrounds the Lancaster entourage with not much of it contributing to the happiness of Lancaster's besieged wife Norma and their brood of five children. But Lanacster had a mind-blowing reserve of energy and an enviable self-discipline that enabled him to keep living on the fast track while generating some noteworthy films and tantalizing performances. The author takes a revisionist look at macho Burt's sexuality, ("women chased him with mattresses on their backs...), and the possibility of his bisexuality. The general consensus on this issue seems to be a resounding MAYBE. And this book still leaves much about Lancaster the public and private man open to speculation.It is interesting that Kate Buford seemed to have pieced this book together through a mammoth effort of research, a meticulous combing through past printed material and interviews. Aside from actor Tony Curtis and Joel Douglas (son of Kirk), who are featured throughout, not many recent voices are heard from.Didn't anyone want to talk about Burt Lancaster? Still because of all of the above, I found this book good reading, more so because to me Lancaster appeared to be an exceptional man and in this aspect the book does not disappoint. END
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am 17. April 2000
I jst finished reading this book and the only reason I don't give it 5 stars is Author Buford hints on more than a few occasions that Burt was Bi-sexual( personally I don't care) but, no proof is provided. There were a couple instances alluded too of him attending parties where homosexuals congregated. Big Deal! There was a certain NY Author who wrote several Bographies intimating beloved icons of the silver screen were bi-sexual. I think the Author should have left that out. The Book, written from a woman's point of view makes Run Silent Run Deep- one of the most exiting, acted and well-made films on WW 2.. sound ho-hum. She does do a good job of giving credit to lesser known films such as The Swimmer which is totally unique. Only Lncaster could have done the role. The film was made in late 66- and 67 then released in '68 as a total faiilure commercially. Lancaster who looks like a greek statue coming to life..is totally ageless in the picture( he was 54) and yet, just a few years later in Ulzana's Raid.released in '72 the Booze and smoking had taken their toll. What sounds like a bizrre idea for a movie..Burt decides to spontaneously swim all the pools of his friends or shall we say acquaintances...and he finds he can't relate to any of them. It's so sad-beautiful like a haunting dream that did or didn't exist. The Stories recited about the making of such classics as From Here To Eternity-Jim Thorpe & Elmer Gantry...will be of inerest to anyone.Call it a Burt Lancaster picture that's all you need to say_ The Train-Valdez Is Coming-Executive Action-Come Back Little Sheba-Rocket Gibralter-The Killers-Go Tell The Spartans-Sorry Wrong Number-Field Of Dreams-Criss Cross-BruteForce-Gunfight At TheOK Corral- The Crimson Pirate-Birdman Of Alcatraz-7 Days In May-The Professionals. Has any other Actor made more good-great films that were so varied, highly entertaining and also said something? What I loved about Lancaster was his sense of decency..he marched in the Civil Rights Protest in the 60's..he got the first JFK Pro-Conspiracy film made Executive Action when officialdom kept telling us Oswald acted alone. For this and many other reasons he was a great great star that can't be replaced.
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am 15. Juni 2000
I would give this biography 3 1/2 stars if possible. I was fascinated by the life story of this charismatic, one-of-a-kind star. I can't give the book an A+ because I think the author went into too much detail sometimes on Lancaster's role as an independent film producer. Page after page of details of film financing, contracts with various studios, dollar amounts, and loan-out deals, etc. We need some of this to get the gist of Lancaster's abilities as a businessman and fore-runner of today's star/producers, but this was chapter after chapter of byzantine business deals. I got bored and skimmed parts of this stuff. I was more interested in the stories of his personal life and his creation of his marvelous film performances. I also got a little tired of the author's repeated teasing about his possible bisexuality. If all she can offer is that it's been rumored about in the past, and that he felt comfortable and nondiscriminatory towards gays, big deal! On the one hand, she repeatedly says he was not overly concerned with his appearance. On the other hand, she believes his tendency toward "narcissism" regarding his beauty could be a hint that he was gay or bisexual. Oh my, I think that's a little silly. Maybe he was just staying in good physical shape because he made his living as an actor. The point is to just leave it out if you're only repeating pure speculation. Other than those two objections, I really liked the book, and would recommend it to any fans of Burt Lancaster.
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am 16. März 2000
A flawed, vulgar, talented person. Remarkable range. Took a lot of risks.
Many of his under appreciated roles are now highly regarded.
First actor to form a highly successful production company. Positive influence on a lot of people who worked on both sides of the camera. A lot of people hated him too -- must have been an interesting guy.
Great book!
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am 21. März 2000
Lancaster's story seemed to be all our stories. Hard life, tough choices, inner demons, great loyalty -- a real life played out all the way to the end. Buford describes the "last act" of Lancaster's life so movingly -- he played his hand out right to the end, unlike so many Hollywood stars who petered out young and fast.
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am 21. März 2000
Lancaster's story seemed to be all our stories. Hard life, tough choices, inner demons, great loyalty -- a real life played out all the way to the end. Buford describes the "last act" of Lancaster's life so movingly -- he played his hand out right to the end, unlike so many Hollywood stars who petered out young and fast.
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am 6. Juni 2000
Kate Buford's Burt Lancaster provides a focus on one of Hollywood's great stars, telling of a private man who authorized no biographies in his lifetime. Buford is the first to be able to write of his life with the cooperation of his widow, friends and colleagues: it provides an in-depth portrait of the man and his personality.
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