Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Book review - "Dropped Names" by Frank Langella

Langella is probably best known to movie buffs for his portrayal as Dracula and Richard Nixon, and his many villainous roles; he was also the off screen partner of Whoopi Goldberg for a time. I admit to not knowing a lot about his career except that he worked extensively in theatre; this entertaining memoir fills in a lot of blanks.

Rather in the matter of Bring on the Empty Horses by David Niven, it's structured in the form of a series of encounters with famous people - Laurence Olivier, Yvonne de Carlo, Bob Mitchum, Rita Hayworth, Rex Harrison, George C Scott.

A lot of this is great - Burton was a drunken bore, forever reciting stock pieces; Tony Perkins made a joke about the size of his cock as a come on; his homoerotic relationship with Raoul Julia; being mysteriously hated by Colleen Dewhurst; Laurence Olivier saying gay actors need to "hide the Nellie" and talking about his premature ejaculation; affairs with Rita Hayworth, Yvonne de Carlo (who was happy just to hop on and go), Elizabeth Taylor and Jackie Kennedy. An interesting analysis of working with director George C Scott and Elia Kazan (who Langella never official works with but regrets). Worth a read.

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