Catalogue


John Gielgud : matinee idol to movie star /
Jonathan Croall.
imprint
London : Methuen Drama ; New York : Bloomsbury Academic & Professional [distributor], c2011.
description
xv, 720 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
1408131064, 9781408131060
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
London : Methuen Drama ; New York : Bloomsbury Academic & Professional [distributor], c2011.
isbn
1408131064
9781408131060
abstract
John Gielgud's career of signature acting roles forever changed our interpretation of the classical repertoire and cemented his role as one of the finest and most influential actors of all time.
catalogue key
7736155
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2012-03-01:
Croall's first biography of actor-director John Gielgud (Gielgud: A Theatrical Life, CH, Oct'01, 39-0849), completed shortly before Gielgud's death in 2000, was exhaustive, compared with other efforts; it was described then by Choice as "detailed, balanced, and well written." If that earlier coverage of some 80 years of activity by the man many called the 20th-century's greatest classical actor was thorough and superior to others, why would one wish to acquire this new biography, written a decade after his death by the same author? Quite simply, because this new biography is encyclopedic in coverage, incorporating personal letters and papers of Gielgud previously unavailable plus input from about 100 new interviews. Though much is replicated from the first biography, this one is more nuanced, differently structured (with three additional parts), and 150 pages longer, with more details on Gielgud's personal life (and its controversies) and his career in film and television. Neither effort is adequately documented, but both provide excellent narratives of Gielgud's life. Nevertheless, those who have the 2000 version can likely manage without this new one. For others, this new volume is a must. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers. D. B. Wilmeth emeritus, Brown University
Reviews
Review Quotes
#145;An unexpectedly enjoyable book to read... I found Croall a good navigator through the curious narrative of Gielgud's life...Croall manages to round out his portrait with nuance, new information and a gusto that drives the narrative... the larger story of a man with a mercurial talent, utterly committed to his craft, alive to instinct and nuance with a magical quota of talent, is well told.'
#145;(A) tremendous biography...the result of a great deal more material which had become available to the biographer -- mostly letters, but also people more willing to speak openly. (The contents) illuminate not only the man himself but also the great changes that have taken place in social and legal attitudes in the past half-century. This is a splendid book, impressively researched and extremely readable. #145;
#145;By the end of Jonathan Croall's massive homage to Sir John Gielgud, the great actor seems like an old friend... This meticulously researched book can be read as more than merely a biography of a single man, since it is wide-ranging enough to place his life in the context of theatre across the 20th century. Readers are therefore able to learn much about trends in drama throughout Gielgud's lifetime. Sir John Gielgud was a man of the theatre the like of whom we may never see again. Therefore, the ever-readable Jonathan Croall should be warmly congratulated on researching and writing what must surely be the definitive biography.'
#145;I am so grateful for the close scrutiny you give the performances: their context, their aspiration, their achievement. It's compelling, grown-up analysis.'
#145;If what you want from the genre of showbiz biography is sleaze or sycophancy, you'll have to look elsewhere. What is on offer here is something else. Croall manages the difficult balancing act of maintaining a discreet distance from his subject while at the same time seeming to have immersed himself in that subject's complexity.'
#145;I really enjoyed reading it. In fact it's marvellous - and best of all FACTUAL! That's something of a rarity these days.'
An authoritative, nicely balanced account of both Gielgud's public and private lives... Croall also emphasizes what an important, modernizing figure he was as a director... This is by no means an uncritical biography of Gielgud - Croall illustrates his character defects of snobbery, tactlessness...and impatience...but overall he comes across as an attractively modest man with a mischievous sense of humour, possessing an evergreen enthusiasm for and deep understanding of theatre. This book does full justice to a protean performer who bestrode the stage like a Colossus
An authoritative, nicely balanced account of both Gielgud's public and private lives...Croall also emphasizes what an important, modernizing figure he was as a director...This is by no means an uncritical biography of Gielgud - Croall illustrates his character defects of snobbery, tactlessness...and impatience...but overall he comes across as an attractively modest man with a mischievous sense of humour, possessing an evergreen enthusiasm for and deep understanding of theatre. This book does full justice to a protean performer who bestrode the stage like a Colossus
'As entertaining and full of variety as the subject himself'
'(A) tremendous biography...the result of a great deal more material which had become available to the biographer -- mostly letters, but also people more willing to speak openly. (The contents) illuminate not only the man himself but also the great changes that have taken place in social and legal attitudes in the past half-century. This is a splendid book, impressively researched and extremely readable. '
Croall has the knack of evoking vividly stage performances from the past and gives a sense of how Gielgud went about approaching these. ... From Croall's 700-page account emerges a staggeringly prolific and very engaging figure - both career and man brought to brilliant life. With this and his biography of Sybil Thorndike, Croall stakes a serious claim to be the most notable theatrical biographer of the day.
'Elegantly written...riveting.'
His public loved him, and so does the author of this thoroughly readable biography.
John Gielgud's life makes such a good story...the book is a significant reminder of a silken-voiced, altogether singular talent.
Magisterial biography...Authoritative yet sensitive handling...[Croall] is very good on the rivalry between Gielgud and Olivier...On this and aspects of Gielgud's homosexuality, Croall is revealing without going into excessive detail, quoting love letters in which the actor, with startling frankness for such a reserved man, analyses and explains himself....[Croall] demonstrates to those who do not know it, and confirms to those who do, Gielgud was the greatest actor of the century.
"Magisterial biography...Authoritative yet sensitive handling...[Croall] is very good on the rivalry between Gielgud and Olivier...On this and aspects of Gielgud's homosexuality, Croall is revealing without going into excessive detail, quoting love letters in which the actor, with startling frankness for such a reserved man, analyses and explains himself....[Croall] demonstrates to those who do not know it, and confirms to those who do, Gielgud was the greatest actor of the century." Theatre News Online "His public loved him, and so does the author of this thoroughly readable biography." New Statesman "An authoritative, nicely balanced account of both Gielgud's public and private lives... Croall also emphasizes what an important, modernizing figure he was as a director... This is by no means an uncritical biography of Gielgud Croall illustrates his character defects of snobbery, tactlessness...and impatience...but overall he comes across as an attractively modest man with a mischievous sense of humour, possessing an evergreen enthusiasm for and deep understanding of theatre. This book does full justice to a protean performer who bestrode the stage like a Colossus." Exuent
The work of a stage actor, however great, is writ on water...It was for his theatrical work that Kenneth Tynan (who, mind you, preferred Laurence Olivier) could refer to [Gielgud] as 'not an actor, but the actor.'...So, whatever the limitations of merely reading about a magnificent actor, it is gratifying to have such a well-researched and fluently written, committed yet not adulatory biography...[Gielgud] emerges as a witty, charming, conversationally apt human being. (refers to the previously released edition)
This item was reviewed in:
The Australian, August 2011
Choice, March 2012
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
This is the most authoritative and comprehensive account of the finest classical actor of the 20th century, John Gielgud. It charts the ups and downs of his long and glittering career, from his young ground-breaking 'Hamlet' to his later success in plays by Pinter, Storey, Bond and Bennett.
Bowker Data Service Summary
This is the most authoritative and comprehensive account of the finest classical actor of the 20th century, John Gielgud. This entertaining but critical biography charts the ups and downs of his long and glittering career, from his young ground-breaking 'Hamlet' to his later success in plays by Pinter, Storey, Bond and Bennett.
Main Description
In his lifetime Gielgud was acclaimed as the finest classical actor of the twentieth century and Jonathan Croall's biography from 2000 was instantly recognised by critics as a masterful achievement, one that was 'unlikely to be surpassed' (Sunday Telegraph). Since that time however a considerable amount of new material has come to light and the passing of time has allowed a new candour. JohnGielgud: Matinee Idol to Movie Star sees this peerless biographer return to his subject to offer the definitive life of Gielgud. For this new biography Croall's exhaustive research has included over a hundred new interviews with key people from his life and career, several hundred letters from Gielgud that have never been published, scores of letters written to him and archived versions of his film and television work. As Gielgud worked increasingly in this medium during the last third of his life much greater attention is given to this than in the earlier work. Fresh light is thrown on his professional relationships with figures such as Laurence Olivier and Edith Evans, and on turbulent episodes of his private life. The overall result is a a much more rounded, candid and richly textured portrait of this celebrated and complex actor.
Main Description
John Gielgud: Matinee Idol to Movie Star is the most authoritative and comprehensive account of the finest classical actor of the twentieth century. This entertaining but critical biography charts the ups and downs of Gielgud's long and glittering career, from his young ground-breaking Hamlet to his later success in plays by Pinter, Storey, Bond and Bennett, and his recognition as a major movie star following his role in Arthur . It also reassesses his complex relationship with his great rival Laurence Olivier and throws fresh light on his personal relationships and the turbulent episodes of his private life that threatened to shatter his career. For this biography Jonathan Croall's exhaustive research has included over a hundred new interviews with key people from his life and career, including Peter Brook, Kenneth Branagh, Alec Guinness, Joan Plowright and Eileen Atkins, and it draws on several hundred letters to and from Gielgud that have never been published, including correspondences with No l Coward, Somerset Maugham, Siegfried Sassoon, Edith Evans and Edward Gordon Craig. What emerges is an intimate, complex and often startling portrait of this great actor and much-loved man. Gielgud's interpretations of Shakespeare's great roles made Shakespeare's plays a commercial success on London's West End for the first time. He was also hugely influential as a director and an actor-manager and worked extensively in film and television later in life. Since Jonathan Croall's first biography of Gielgud was published in 2000 a considerable amount of new material has come to light and the result is a much more rounded, candid and richly textured portrait of this celebrated stage and screen actor.
Main Description
John Gielgud: Matinee Idol to Movie Star is the most authoritative and comprehensive account of the finest classical actor of the twentieth century. This entertaining but critical biography charts the ups and downs of Gielgud's long and glittering career, from his young ground-breaking Hamlet to his later success in plays by Pinter, Storey, Bond and Bennett, and his recognition as a major movie star following his role in Arthur . It also reassesses his complex relationship with his great rival Laurence Olivier and throws fresh light on his personal relationships and the turbulent episodes of his private life that threatened to shatter his career. For this biography Jonathan Croall's exhaustive research has included over a hundred new interviews with key people from his life and career, including Peter Brook, Kenneth Branagh, Alec Guinness, Joan Plowright and Eileen Atkins, and it draws on several hundred letters to and from Gielgud that have never been published, including correspondences with Noël Coward, Somerset Maugham, Siegfried Sassoon, Edith Evans and Edward Gordon Craig. What emerges is an intimate, complex and often startling portrait of this great actor and much-loved man. Gielgud's interpretations of Shakespeare's great roles made Shakespeare's plays a commercial success on London's West End for the first time. He was also hugely influential as a director and an actor-manager and worked extensively in film and television later in life. Since Jonathan Croall's first biography of Gielgud was published in 2000 a considerable amount of new material has come to light and the result is a much more rounded, candid and richly textured portrait of this celebrated stage and screen actor.
Main Description
John Gielgud: Matinee Idol to Movie Staris the most authoritative and comprehensive account of the finest classical actor of the twentieth century. This entertaining but critical biography charts the ups and downs of Gielgud's long and glittering career, from his young ground-breaking Hamlet to his later success in plays by Pinter, Storey, Bond and Bennett, and his recognition as a major movie star following his role in Arthur. It also reassesses his complex relationship with his great rival Laurence Olivier and throws fresh light on his personal relationships and the turbulent episodes of his private life that threatened to shatter his career.For this biography Jonathan Croall's exhaustive research has included over a hundred new interviews with key people from his life and career, including Peter Brook, Kenneth Branagh, Alec Guinness, Joan Plowright and Eileen Atkins, and it draws on several hundred letters to and from Gielgud that have never been published, including correspondences with Noël Coward, Somerset Maugham, Siegfried Sassoon, Edith Evans and Edward Gordon Craig. What emerges is an intimate, complex and often startling portrait of this great actor and much-loved man.Gielgud's interpretations of Shakespeare's great roles made Shakespeare's plays a commercial success on London's West End for the first time. He was also hugely influential as a director and an actor-manager and worked extensively in film and television later in life. Since Jonathan Croall's first biography of Gielgud was published in 2000 a considerable amount of new material has come to light and the result is a much more rounded, candid and richly textured portrait of this celebrated stage and screen actor.
Main Description
John Gielgud's career of signature acting roles forever changed our interpretation of the classical repertoire and cemented his role as one of the finest and most influential actors of all time.
Main Description
John Gielgud's career of signature acting roles forever changed our interpretation of the classical repertoire and cemented his role as one of the finest and most influential actors of all time. This authoritative and comprehensive biography is the complete account of his life and glittering career on stage in classical plays; plays by contemporary dramatists such as Harold Pinter, David Storey, Edward Bond, and Alan Bennett; and in films, including his Academy Award-winning role in Arthur . The book throws fresh light on Gielgud's turbulent ups and downs, events that nearly shattered his career, and on his great rivalry and complex relationship with Laurence Olivier. Croall's research includes more than one hundred new interviews with key people from Gielgud's life and career, including Peter Brook, Kenneth Branagh, Alec Guinness, Joan Plowright, and Eileen Atkins, and draws from hundreds of letters that have never before been published. This intimate biography is a unique in-depth look at a legend who was known to his audiences for his acting brilliance; his unforgettable voice; and his enormous contributions to theater and the performing arts.
Main Description
John Gielgud's career of signature acting roles forever changed our interpretation of the classical repertoire and cemented his role as one of the finest and most influential actors of all time. This authoritative and comprehensive biography is the complete account of his life and glittering career on stage in classical plays; plays by contemporary dramatists such as Harold Pinter, David Storey, Edward Bond, and Alan Bennett; and in films, including his Academy Award-winning role inArthur.The book throws fresh light on Gielgud's turbulent ups and downs, events that nearly shattered his career, and on his great rivalry and complex relationship with Laurence Olivier. Croall's research includes more than one hundred new interviews with key people from Gielgud's life and career, including Peter Brook, Kenneth Branagh, Alec Guinness, Joan Plowright, and Eileen Atkins, and draws from hundreds of letters that have never before been published.This intimate biography is a unique in-depth look at a legend who was known to his audiences for his acting brilliance; his unforgettable voice; and his enormous contributions to theater and the performing arts.
Main Description
John Gielgud's long and distinguished career in the theatre forever changed our interpretation of the classical repertoire, and marked him out as one of the finest and most influential actors of all time. This authoritative and comprehensive biography is the definitive account of his life and glittering stage career on both sides of the Atlantic: in Shakespeare and other classics; in plays by contemporary dramatists such as Edward Albee, Harold Pinter, David Storey, Edward Bond and Alan Bennett; and in seventy films, including his Academy Award-winning role in Arthur . Like other gay men of his time, Gielgud had to lead a double life outside the theatre. The book throws fresh light on his arrest and its aftermath, a traumatic event that nearly ended his career. It also illuminates his complex relationship with his great rival Laurence Olivier. The author's research includes more than one hundred new interviews with key people from his life and career such as Kenneth Branagh, Joan Plowright, Derek Jacobi, Ian McKellen, Simon Callow and Eileen Atkins, and forty film and television directors, including Scott Hicks, Jane Campion, Hugh Hudson and Joseph Strick. It also draws on a large number of revealing, previously unpublished letters. Jonathan Croall's intimate biography is a unique in-depth look at a legend, known for his acting brilliance, his unforgettable voice, and his enormous contribution, both as actor and director, to theater and the performing arts.
Main Description
The definitive biography of the greatest classical actor of the twentieth century. Based on hundreds of letters, many previously unpublished, to and from the stars of the day, including Laurence Olivier, Peggy Ashcroft, Noël Coward, Edith Evans and Ralph Richardson. Includes the memories of scores of today's leading actors and directors. Book jacket.
Table of Contents
List of Photographsp. xi
Acknowledgementsp. xiii
Introductionp. 1
Early Stages 1904-1929
A Terry Childhoodp. 7
Gielgud Minorp. 15
Drama Schoolp. 33
Apprentice at Oxfordp. 50
Coward and Chekhovp. 64
Man about Townp. 74
The Search for Stardomp. 83
Three Strong Womenp. 93
Matinee Idol 1929-1933
Hamlet at the Vicp. 109
Turning Pointp. 125
Young Producerp. 141
Richard of Bordeauxp. 154
Lord of the West End 1934-1938
Hamlet Revisitedp. 169
Saint-Denis and Hitchcockp. 183
Two Romeosp. 195
A Prince on Broadwayp. 209
Actor-Manager at the Queen'sp. 222
Theatres of War 1938-1946
Earnest and Elsinorep. 247
Barker and King Learp. 267
Every Night Something Differentp. 280
Macbeth on Tourp. 291
In Productionp. 299
The Haymarket Seasonp. 307
Eastern Approachesp. 317
Rise and Fall 1946-1954
The Rivalsp. 329
Back in the USAp. 336
Rattigan and Fryp. 344
Brook, Stratford and Much Adop. 358
Hollywood to Hammersmithp. 375
Desperate Hoursp. 390
Travelling Player 1954-1959
Olivier and Twelfth Nightp. 403
Into Europep. 412
One Man in His Timep. 425
On the Road in Americap. 439
Late Stages 1959-1976
Time Out of Jointp. 455
Zeffirelli and Othellop. 467
Burton and Albeep. 483
Back to the Screenp. 496
Oedipus at the Nationalp. 509
Bennett, Storey and the Royal Courtp. 518
Taxing Timesp. 532
Final Directionsp. 546
Hall, Bond and Pinterp. 553
Movie Star 1976-2000
A Dream of Beautyp. 571
Resnais and Providencep. 579
The Road to Bridesheadp. 590
A New Publicp. 603
Cameo Cornerp. 616
Final Curtainp. 635
Greenaway and Prospero's Booksp. 641
Ninety Years Onp. 656
Epiloguep. 672
Chronologyp. 675
Select Bibliographyp. 687
Sourcesp. 692
Indexp. 699
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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