AGAINST TYPE: The Biography of Burt Lancaster

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9780684807058: AGAINST TYPE: The Biography of Burt Lancaster

Burt Lancaster's Hollywood career extended from the final days of the Golden Age to the advent of the mini-series, and he co-starred with leading personalities of several eras, such as Gary Cooper and Kevin Costner, Barbara Stanwyck and Susan Sarandon. This biography tells of Lancaster's early years, from his childhood in seedy East Harlem to his first job as a circus acrobat, his three marriages, his numerous affairs, and the progress of his career after he had arrived in Hollywood at the age of 33, with no formal training as an actor.

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From Library Journal:

For over four decades Lancaster exuded the rare commodity of screen charisma. He alternated crowd-pleasing parts like the lead in Elmer Gantry with offbeat roles in The Leopard and Atlantic City. In later years he took character turns in films like Local Hero. Fishgall reviews the actor's complete career, from his early days as a carnival acrobat (put to good use in Crimson Pirate and Trapeze) to the later years of stardom, during which he displayed a gritty determination, on screen and off. Also covered is Lancaster's early, unusual effort to run his own production company. As expected, Fishgall portrays Lancaster's troubled marriages, womanizing, and bouts of egotism and halfheartedly hints of possible bisexuality. Still, this book isn't analytical enough for film buffs or gossipy enough for the tabloid audience, despite the publicity's promise of "shocking" revelations. Furthermore, though many Lancaster associates are interviewed, the tone is rather impersonal, and the total man never comes into focus. While this is not wholly satifying, so little has been written on Lancaster that public libraries should consider.?Stephen Rees, Bucks Cty. Free Lib., Levittown, Pa.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Publishers Weekly:

Lancaster (1913-1994) won an Oscar in 1960 for his role in Elmer Gantry, but the most remarkable achievement of his career was the sheer volume and diversity of his performances. In more than 70 films, the range and scope of his acting were broader than those of any other major star, according to the author. Fishgall supports this with critical comment on each of the star's leading and supporting roles, and does a good job of fleshing out the 30-odd years of Lancaster's life before he became a star with his film debut in The Killers (1946). Fishgall discusses the actor's three marriages, innumerable affairs, possible bisexuality (no evidence presented, plenty of rumors) and his involvement in the production end of moviemaking. With partners Harold Hecht and James Hill, Lancaster produced several financially and critically successful films, including Marty and Sweet Smell of Success. On the personal level, Lancaster comes across here as distinctly less interesting than his work: an insensitive, humorless, unsociable man with a volatile temper and a mean streak. Fishgall has worked as an actor, a director and a drama critic.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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