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The making of an American tragedy
on July 13, 1998
To contemporary cinema-goers, Montgomery Clift is a name they would find hard to place but in the 1950s he was one of THE top stars. Bosworth, in her classic biography, tells the compelling story of how he became an icon - before descending into a pain-ridden recluse and addict. She covers admirably his unusual upbringing at the hands of a mother who treated her children as though they were from one of the finest American families. It was a childhood in which he was cut off from people of his own age - and his father - as he was pushed from one hotel to another in America and Europe. From there he discovered the stage, taking Broadway by storm before being lured to Hollywood. Determined to stamp his authority on his career, he rejected the studio system and hundreds of banal scripts. In doing so, he set a new standard. His natural style of acting scorned the macho images, the Hollywood stereotypes, and opened the way for a new wave of male performers not afraid to ! ! reveal their vulnerability. But it was not all roses. As Bosworth graphically relates, Monty was haunted not just by his unusual childhood but also his homosexuality and as fame beckoned and the fear of exposure increased, he turned to drink - and later pills - to deaden his darkest feelings. A car crash in 1956, in which he was seriously injured, only increased his addictions and his career began a terminal decline, only ended with his early death. Bosworth's biography is both affectionate and revealing, painting a compelling and often moving picture of one of the most beautiful - but troubled - stars ever to grace the post-war movie screen. Among the often mediocre cannon of Hollywood biographies, this is a class act.