Star: How Warren Beatty Seduced America Hardcover – Jan 12 2010
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"A complicated portrait of a complicated man." ---Publishers Weekly Starred Review --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
About the Author
Peter Biskind is the author of five previous books, including Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex-Drugs-and-Rock 'n' Roll Generation Saved Hollywood. He is a contributor to Vanity Fair and was formerly the executive editor of Premiere magazine. He lives with his family in Columbia County, New York.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
I didn't know much about Beatty and I haven't seen many of his movies but I needn't have worried with this book. If you're a fan of movies in general, you will find the behind-the-scenes negotations between the studio heads interesting.
The only negative things I would say are:(a) there is a lot of talk about politics (Beatty is a huge fan) and I'm not that interested in the subject matter and (b) the book doesn't touch on much of his childhood or relationship with his sister, Shirley MacLaine, which I would have found interesting.
Besides those two points (which aren't exactly the author's fault given Beatty's interests and reclusive nature), I would recommend this book!
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Of course the book has details of Beatty's many affairs, but then as Biskind also explains in his introduction, he decided not to include Warren's marriage with Annette Bening, so if you are looking for that part of Beatty's life it is not included, nor is his life before the movie 'Splendor in the Grass'. What is integrated are the details of Beatty's professional career and the difficulties that developed on his movie sets.
This is not really a personal biography since those close to him, his sister, his friends and most of his former lovers will not give interviews. Most of the details are professional and concern his ability to bed almost any woman who crosses his path. Even though Beatty gave permission for this book, he has, like many others before him who authorize biographies then disputed some of what is written.
The cover proclaims "How Warren Beatty seduced America". That question is really never answered; but if you are a fan of Warren Beatty or someone who wishes to read about the moviemaking process and Hollywood community you might enjoy the 600+ pages of information contained in this book.
Oh, I'm a fan. I LOVED Bonnie and Clyde, Heaven Can Wait and Bugsy. I appreciated Bullworth, Shampoo and Reds. I enjoyed reading about how these films came to be. Those are six very good films.
Consider Paul Newman or especially Robert Redford, Beatty's contemporary and, it seems, his chief competitor. (I love how whenever the aging Beatty met someone who worked with the equally aging Redford, he'd get all catty and ask, "How's his skin?") When thinking of those two, I'd be hard put to limit myself to six films that rocked me.
So then you realize that it isn't just what's on film that makes Beatty fascinating. It's also his prodigious, legendary love life. And it's covered in some detail here. I was surprised by the vulgarity of much of it, because Beatty is so reticent and classy in personal interviews. But I wasn't offended ... At least not by the women.
I was offended by the laissez-faire attitude both Beatty and his biographer display toward David McLeod. Beatty's cousin and personal assistant was a serial child molester and fugitive who was found dead after years on the lam in Canada. The book seems to take the view that McLeod was the victim, not the young people he exploited. And that is appalling.
I also wonder where Annette Bening fits into this. While she was the one who got the Great Seducer to walk down the aisle, she is not presented as any more interesting or important to Beatty than Diane Keaton or Leslie Caron or Joan Collins or Natalie Wood, and perhaps a bit less interesting or important to him than Joyce Hyser, Michelle Phillips and Julie Christie. So why Annette? She's portrayed as more suitable as a wife and mother than Madonna, but then, who's not? And why on earth did Bening say yes? How did she decide to trust this man who so openly cheated on so many? The book would have benefited from more of Bening's view of this relationship.
So while I enjoyed the book and was sorry to see it end, I finished it wondering, "What was the point?"
writing about Hollywood. Is Beatty a Star? Yes and No. Not exactly. Maybe? Definitely! There are no simple answers in this brilliant book.
A must read for anyone who loves movies. Love is a complex thing--especially for Warren Beatty.