I appreciate autobiographies like Eli Wallach's The Good, The Bad, and Me: In My Anecdotage because too often there is little attention given to the perspective of a character actor. As opposed to his contemporaries, some of whom Wallach new intimately; Marlon Brando, Marilyn Monroe, George C. Scott, Steve McQueen, Montgomery Clift, Paul Newman, Tennessee Williams and Elia Kazan many books, authorized and not have been scribbled about them. As far as I could research no one had taken an interest in writing about Wallach. His story is certainly impressive, and not only for his success as an actor-for over 50 years now! But his experience in the military in WWII, his membership early in the Actors' Studio (has was on Inside the Actors' Studio? in it's 3rd season), his according success on Broadway and perhaps most notably, his relationship and marriage to Anne Jackson.
As one of the original "method" actors his experience and resume are valuable to read, for film, theatre and especially acting lovers. 90 year old character actors don't usually put out biographies. And it is also important to note that his success as an actor, on film, TV and the stage was achieved as a father and husband. To me that is as admirable as anything.
His writing and attitude clarify his success too. His fondnesses and compassion, appreciations and praise are fullsome here. It is little wonder why he has worked for so long, and is still going.
It is wise to note the sub-title In My Anecdotage, as Wallach, while staying mostly chronological, highlights certain markers in his career. Usually these are congruous with what he is know for: Baby Doll; The Magnificent Seven; The Misfits and The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. The details of these films are fun to read, i.e, the controversial Baby Doll seduction scene's off-screen realities, Yul Brunner and McQueen's competetiveness during Seven, etc. Of course, the pecularities and idiosyncracies of The Misfits is detailed, making for an excellent chapter on being in the middle of a production storm amidst Monroe, Clift and Clark Gable-a man whom Wallach holds very dear...
Some other goods are that Wallach was offered the role of Maggio in From Here to Eternity, but declined it to do Tennessee Williams' Camino Real. Ever after Sinatra would have a limo pick Jackson and Wallach up to bring them to shows in NY. The bridge explosion from The Good, The Bad was actually the second bridge, how his hat from Seven originated, who once baby sat his children, etc.
As of this review Mr. Wallach has another film coming out in with Diane Keaton later in 2007. An amazing career for a true first class (character) actor.
As I said earlier, I appreciate the perspective of actors like Eli Wallach. Likewise I'd love to read about actors like: Lee J. Cobb, Warren Oates, Thelma Ritter, Christopher Plummer, Donald Sutherland, Peter Boyle, John Cazale, J.T. Walsh, etc. etc. Long (save Cazale) and impressive careers, experience with some of the greatest directors, actors and films ever, but very little is known....