theatre, film & tv past and present 2001-2008 & 2013…
John Gielgud had a venerable theatrical pedigree for his great-aunt was none other than the celebrated Victorian actress Ellen Terry. The theatre was not so much his chosen milieu as his entire universe, the outside world occasionally intruding but generally on the periphery of theatrical life in all its infinite variety. An inveterate and delightfully chatty letter-writer, in the course of his ninety-six years Gielgud corresponded frequently with family and friends as this weighty new collection of his letters, expertly edited by Richard Mangan attests. With the advent of email, letter-writing has become almost an art-form and Gielgud was certainly a dedicated practitioner of the art, the letters consolidating the popular perception of him as a warm, humorous individual, naturally modest and with an evergreen interest in gossip.
This much, together with his homosexuality, is probably already familiar, but where the book breaks new ground is in its unvarnished presentation of Gielgud’s private life, here seen in candid close-up. For a long time subject to much romantic frustration he finally found a long-time companion in Martin Hensler and by interweaving this intimate material with the colourful chronicles of his professional life, a more comprehensive and satisfying portrait of Gielgud emerges.
Generally he was a perceptive person and an appreciative friend, many of the letters to his fellow thespians – like close friends Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh – burst with a vitality and perspicacity characteristic of the man. Working in Hollywood on the set of Julius Caesar Gielgud described the young Marlon Brando impressing him as “a funny, intense egocentric boy of 27… He is very nervous indeed…mutters his lines and rehearses by himself all day long.” He could also be caustic in his comments. Recalling a chance encounter with Greta Garbo to an ex-lover he reflected, “Met Miss Garbo on Park Avenue looking like a displaced charwoman. I’m sure she cuts her own hair with nail scissors. Distantly gracious and that beautiful smile.” The volume is overlong but this caveat aside, it offers a welcome opportunity to gain a vivid glimpse into the life of one of Britain’s most distinguished actors.
Amanda Hodges © 2004
Originally published on R&V 04-04-04
Helping Improve Lives
Vintage Inspired Paper Crafts & Digital Design
I make faces.
A journey through life in Southwest France
Historical Fiction with a French Flavour
It isn't being John Malkovich, but it is being me
Musings of a Wandering Scholar | Writer - Educator
Daily Reflections from My Home and Garden
The Power of Story
Unlocking the Door to Your Past
Not just a blog, a philosophy
The #1 budget recipe website
Realist, writer, reader, reviewer and rocker.
The Real England is a concise, direct, and not-so-gentle window into the depths of the leftovers of the world’s once greatest empire. It is told from the perspective of one lone (or not so lone) long term visitor. It informs one of the dregs of the country and helps to explain quaint British oddities such as the crack addicted chav.
home and away...
Artists, Writers and Visionaries Blog on the Unique and Ordinary
Collected works and other excuses from a textile obssessive
has random thoughts
Airborne, Seadwellers and Landlubbers Lives
Working with dead people
Writing - Loving What I Do and Doing What I Love!
the darker side to sedge808
Photographs, music and writing about daily life. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Creative Intuitive from New Zealand
Family Saga Fiction by Adrienne Morris
Burgers, Books, Music, Movies, Offbeat Adventures & Pop Culture!
theatre, film & tv past and present 2001-2008 & 2013...
Candid cultural comments from the Isles of Wonder
Horror, Science Fiction, Comic Books and More
Traveling the World Through Others
A trip through life with fingers crossed and eternal optimism.
Art, Literature, Poetry, Politics and a little History
Travel and Wildlife Adventures
Writer & Author
it's all about the story, possums...
Observations of the illusion through the eyes of wonder...
Adventures in Watercolor Painting and Sketching, Watercolour Magazine, with Charlie O'Shields
Memoir, poetry, & writing theory
The Bridge between two countries
A lifestyle blog with a little bit of everything.
A personal exploration of autism from a brother’s perspective, including family relationships, philosophy, neuroscience, mental health history and ethics
Entertainment, travel and lifestyle blog
Founder of the Three Things Method of Storytelling