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Gene Kelly: A Life of Dance and Dreams (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 25. November 1999

2.9 von 5 Sternen 9 Kundenrezensionen

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Synopsis

In this biography, the dancer, choreographer, actor and director is depicted as the complex and difficult man his family, friends and colleagues knew. The text investigates not only his triumphs, but also his late career struggles, stormy relationships and political ideas.

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2.9 von 5 Sternen

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Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Dear lord! Does this man have no shame? How can he possibly know what THE MAN was thinking in all those intimate moments in his life. Only once in a while he writes "must have felt" or "possibly he felt like" but for the rest Alvin Yudkoff just plain froces his own opinions into the book. That is, to say the least, HORRIBLY ANOYING! And this isn't the only bad part of this book. To make it a true catastrophy he doesn't even bother with the last half of Gene Kelly's life. AND he uses Clive Hirschhorn's work as a safety to keep his own afloat. What a rip-off! Alvy, Dear, how do you sleep at night? I can't belive anyone claiming to be someones fan could write so carelessly about this person's life. You just can't do this to people. Ladies and gentlemen, I very VERY strongly advise you to stay far away from this terrible waste of perfectly good paper. And if you really insist on reading it, just go to a librarie it's definetly not worth the purshase price. P.S.: I would not have given this book any stars but I had to put one to post my review. Just pretend its not there.
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Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
I just bought the new bio and have to be honest: I'm disappointed, especially with the author and his technique. Although he claims he talked to many people, especially Kelly's longtime secretary (which is one good point), the author uses very few direct quotes from sources, and many of those have been previously published. Often he is vague, and makes a few claims I find completely unbelievable. And he uses a technique I find irritating- extensively ''recreating'' the subject's thoughts, or private incidents. Now, he doesn't know what Gene Kelly's thoughts were, unless he had access to a journal or diary or his autobiographical notes--which clearly he did not, because he does not cite such notes as a source. And if by chance he did, quote THOSE, don't use fiction. This is a trend in biographies, but not one that, to me, creates a believable insight into the person concerned.
I don't expect to see Gene Kelly portrayed as someone without flaws, but I do expect an honest, balanced, well-researched portrait. Colleagues and friends interviewed for the 1974 biography by Clive Hirschorn, a work Yudkoff quotes frequently if selectively, were honest about his perfectionism and high standards, his competitiveness and Irish temper, and his demanding rehearsal techniques. But this author, it seems, tries to give the man flaws he didn't possess.
For example, it portrays him as a kind of absentee father, vowing to spend more time with his kids and never quite managing, but his eldest daughter spoke to Hirschorn of his dedication and concern as a father even at the height of his career, and said of him, ''He wanted so desperately to be an excellent father-and he was.
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Von Ein Kunde am 12. Juni 2000
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
I'm going to second (third, fourth, etc.) the comments about the technique used in this book. To pretend to know what Gene Kelly was thinking during the AFI awards night is misleading at best. There was quite an uproar with the Reagan biography "Dutch" because its author inserted himself in the book and fictionalized conversations, etc. I kept thinking about that as I read this book. It's true, as some others have stated, that Yudkoff probably based these "thoughts" on things Kelly said in other interviews or contexts. That doesn't excuse the his attempts to claim these were Kelly's actual thoughts, reactions, and emotions. I truly think this is an unforgivable technique. Another customer reviewer mentioned the style used in a Masters/Ph.D thesis (and was happy it *wasn't* used here). My thought is that anyone writing such a thesis would never have been allowed to create thoughts and conversations to illustrate his/her points/assumptions about his/her subject. Why was Yudkoff allowed to do so by his editor(s)?
I also have to agree with others who believe that more time should have been given to the latter part of Kelly's life. Or, alternatively, the author should have dropped the last few pages and stated from the outset that the book deals only with a specific period of Kelly's life. If Kelly could somehow read this book, I wonder what his reaction would be to having the last forty years or so of his life dismissed as being so unimportant and bereft of significance that they warranted a mere thirty pages.
The lack of direct quotes from the author's own interviews, and especially the lack of quotes from people closest to Kelly, makes me wonder what support Yudkoff had for this book, and, more importantly, WHY he got that reaction from them.
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Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This is a very poorly-written biography, and a particular disappointment in that it is the first substantial work on the dancer for 25 years. In fact, the author Alvin Yudkoff seems to rely heavily on Clive Hirschhorn's earlier work, along with many other secondary sources. What it lacks is an original perspective on an undoubtedly complex, yet pioneering Hollywood star.
Yudkoff meanders between hero worship and tell-tale anecdote. He uses Kelly's 1985 acceptance of the AFI Life Achievement Award in an attempt to enter the star's psyche, a highly presumptious framework for any biographer to use. And shoddy research is apparent in a number of factual errors, incuding misspelt names (the director Leo McCarey becomes McCrary; Evelyn Keyes is Evelyn Knight) and chronological discrepancies (for instance, Fred Astaire did not retire from films in 1946 because he was mourning his wife's death; she died in 1954).
I hope Gene Kelly's long-awaited autobiography, in the hands of his third wife, will do justice to the memory of the man himself. I do not doubt that he was a difficult, often egocentric person. But without that side to his personality, we would not have his legacy. Do yourself a favour: watch Cover Girl or On the Town to honour Gene Kelly's memory, and leave this feeble book on the shelf.
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