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Carol Reed: A biography
Buy Carol Reed: A biography
From Publishers Weekly
Reed (1906-1976), one of the English cinema's best craftsmen (he directed The Third Man and won an Oscar for the musical Oliver! ), was also one of its more taciturn figures, a quality that hampers Wapshott, the editor of the London Times Magazine , in this workmanlike biography. Reed, the illegitimate son of the renowned stage actor and impressario, Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree, had considerable domestic entanglements of his own. (His first marriage, to actress Diana Wynyard, was compromised by Reed's lingering affections for another woman.) Distinguishing his career
from that of such auteurs as Bunuel and Hitchcock, he considered himself a mere entertainer, not an artist. These elements could be the stuff of a psychologically intricate portrait, yet Wapshott's biography is more successful as a series of anecdotes about movie-making and unmaking--Reed's protracted wrangling with a headstrong Marlon Brando on the set of Mutiny on the Bounty lost him the director's job. Given that Reed's collaborators included Graham Greene, Ralph Richardson, James Mason and David O. Selznick, the stories recounted here are rarely dull. Yet a clear, unified portrait of a complex and private man never quite emerges. Photos.
From Library Journal
During his lifetime, Reed was thought to be equaled only by Alfred Hitchcock among British film directors. Now he is largely forgotten, due for the most part to his own secretive, intensely private nature. Wapshott (Rex Harrison, LJ 3/15/92) traces this back to Reed's childhood as one of the illegitimate sons of flamboyant stage actor/manager Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree. His mother lived happily as mistress to the married Sir Herbert and gave him six children. (Ironically, Reed nearly re-created the same scenario in his first marriage.) Best known for his film The Third Man and other collaborations with author/screenwriter Graham Greene, Reed achieved fame as a director early. The author here elucidates the decline in Reed's later career. A fine, enjoyable, readable work. Since there is a dearth of Reed biographies, this one is especially welcome. Recommended for popular and academic collections.
Marianne Cawley, Enoch Pratt Free Lib., Baltimore