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4.4 out of 5 stars
Montgomery Clift: A Biography
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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.
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on October 18, 2001
Montgomery Clift. It evokes such powerful images and connotations. The name itself sounds like royalty. The man it belonged to in many ways lived up to such regal ideals. Part of a midwestern family like so many famous actors, his childhood was quite exotic; traveling abroad and learning the ways of the world. The rest of his life only got more exciting. Up to the very minute of his death, Monty was a source of intrigue and respect. Paving the way bravely for Brando and Dean, Clift came first with an honesty that riveted onlookers of all kinds. His strength and helplessness, rebelious yet ingratiating, awoke the world around him to a new kind of man, and a new way of life. Patricia Bosworth does a splendid job in making every moment of Clift's life easily accesible to the reader. The book begins with a hearty(but pleasant) family history going back two generations. For those who've found other star bios uneventful and boring during the "growing up" chapters (namely because the actor was an ordinary kid), here you will find the opposite. Almost from birth Monty's days were unpredictable and full of travel and minor adventure. His acting ability was recognized early and a career followed quickly. The book itself is large indeed-some might find it excessive. But considering this will be most readers first look into Monty's life (their first bio on him), it comes across moreso as just very thorough. Ms. Bosworth's literary craft is quite exquisite, thus making the already fascinating story a joy to read. Following his every triumph and failure with equal attention, one gets a sense of who the man was-not just the celebrity. In fact his personal life makes up 85-90% of the book; as it should! Of course there is more than enough time devoted to the events during his Plays and Films-but it's not simply a shooting schedule pasted into the book. The process of Monty's growth personally and professionaly-and the connection between both-is painted beautifully in the words. One sees also the source and always present fuel of his trademark "turmoil"-that wounded sense that drew audiences and still does. There are no cliche`s to find-no tabloid generated fallacies in the telling of this life. Only a full circle understanding of not only the subject's life, but how to tell it rightly. There are always those readers wanting little more than a brief overview of someone-'was he gay, was he strait, how much money, who'd he know,when'd he die'. But even those readers should surrender some time for this book and let it engulf you. Naturally all those highlighted points are covered-but in a surprisingly respectful and yet also brutally honest portrayal. This book is a quinessential addition to any personal library-especially one containing biographies-and is a masterful collection of one man's life's events. Truly a great book.
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on November 6, 2002
I am generally not a fan of biographies about famous people. This one, however, really grabbed me. I thought I knew a lot about Montgomery Clift, but after reading this book, I realized I really didn't know that much. The author has a way of pulling the reader in, like you're right there watching everything happening. Once I started, I didn't want to put it down. If you're a Montgomery Clift fan, I would HIGHLY recommend this book.
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on February 4, 2000
This is a well-written account of Clift's acting & harrowing private life which manages to avoid both sentimentality & sensationalism. Better written & researched than any other full-length bio. Many vignettes of personalities - Kazan, Miller, Monroe, etc - as well as an extraordinary family background & full details on films. The only criticism I could have is that Bosworth is said to have depended fairly heavily on Monty's brother; however, this doesn't mean she isn't alive to his faults: several anecdotes are related which show he could be cruel as well as kind. It's not hard to see why he eventually broke down so badly - this information is sensitively and objectively handled. All in all, a balanced, objective book about an interesting and too often neglected actor.
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on September 14, 2001
Montgomery Clift is unfortunately one of those stars that not many people remember or know about nowadays. In fact, before reading Montgomery Clift : Beautiful Loser by Barney Hoskyns I did not know whom he was at all. This book sparked a keen interest in me and I therfore also read the following title: Montgomery Clift : A Biography by Patricia Bosworth. The biography is very moving and does describe a moving scene in which MArlon Brando tries to get Clift to stop drinking; but Clift denies that he actually has a problem and keeps on drinking his double vodkas. Mr. Clifts life is very tragic, sad and part of this was because of his sexual deviance and his fear that people and Hollywood would shun him if they knew the truth. Highly Recommended.
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on September 4, 2000
when i purchased this book i was beyond excited, already being a fan of clift's, but after reading it the way i look at Montgomery Clift will never be the same. this book was insightful, truthful and most of all SAD. i have never cried after reading a book but i did after reading this one. he lived such a tragic life and this book in no way hides or covers that up. i always saw clift as an attractive and extremely well-gifted actor and he is all of those things but i also see him as as a man who hid and faught with a lot of pain and heartache(drugs, homosexuality, his looks, women, and his career). patricia bosworth has done an excellent job telling the story of his life and she also did a great job touching mine.
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on January 19, 2014
Excellent book on one of the last great movie stars of Hollywood. I have thought alot about Monty over the years and why in the world the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences have never given him an Academy Award for his incredible work in films such as a Place in the Sun, I Confess, From Here to Eternity to name just a few of his incredible performances. As an actor, Monty brought forward emotional awareness, optimism and a deep connection and understanding of the characters he played on screen. This is a very well written and researched biography on not only a complex actor but on a man who transformed his sensitivity into the world of film. Highly recommended reading.
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on August 25, 2000
This is the best biography of Clift so far, but that isn't a large statement; and it's not as superior to LaGuardia's book as some have said. Considering the glowing reviews this one has received, it should really have more substantial documentation. There are no notes, no bibliography, no detailed acknowledgments in my edition. The rather biased testimony of some of Clift's contemporaries is taken at face value, and the psychological interpretations are very dated. There are also some factual inconsistencies. I don't say this isn't a good book and worth reading, but there is plenty of room for improvement if anyone out there is so inclined.
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on October 21, 1999
...This is more of a love letter than a biography. Bosworth obviously has a "thing" for Clift and shows it, either directly or obliquely, on every page. The question is why? Clift is an overrated actor, usually more lifeless than motivated. As a man, he was both a complete loon and a pretentious bore. Bosworth relates all this, but without awareness or insight. Still, if you want detailed information on Clift's life, this is the book to read.
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on November 10, 2000
Bosworth's book is a well written, detailed study of Montgomery Clift. Although very sad and fascinating at the same time, I found it to be all to similar to "Monty", by Laguardia. I've read just about everything written on Clift, I can reccomend "Beautiful Loser" by Barney Hoskins, as well. Another truly disturbing look at one of the most talented actors I've ever seen. Happy reading....
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