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on September 23, 1999
It's hard to describe what a wonderful story Lee's entire life makes. In these days when movie stars are bred out of cheesy sitcoms or marketed by agencies looking for the right package, Lee's story reminds us why the best actors and the best stars are the ones who happened along out of life's trials and tribulations. Just home from the war in which he served with distinction, Lee took the advice of his uncle, the Italian ambassador in London, to try his hand at acting. He little knew how much hard work it would be, slogging his way for years through movies as stand-ins, stunt doubles, etc., before Hammer discovered him.
Perhaps the most poignant thing about this memoir is its author's forthright admission that he started out in the acting business "with no innate talent" but found over the years how good he could become by studying and studying the craft. The humor with which he recalls his films and the friends he met working in them ("But just think of the appalling people you'll meet!" his mother warned) is priceless. As a writer and producer, I can't help but appreciate the influence his films had on me in school and in my work. I recommend this book even for cinema buffs who don't like the films that made Lee famous. Should be required reading for every film-acting class in the country.
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on October 19, 2001
Written in a style that is easy to read and genuinely fun to follow, this autobiographical account of Christopher Lee's "life and times" is delightful. Mr. Lee's own account of his childhood, early adulthood, film career, and genuine love for his wife and daughter often brought me to tears, made me laugh, and inspired me. This was, clearly, someone who made the most of what was given to him in life.
After reading his autobiography, I can honestly say that this is a man worth knowing. He has had a phenomenal life, accomplished more than most, and appears to be a genuine "good guy" trying to make it through life, just like the rest of us! Hats off to you, Mr. Lee! You are superb.
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on March 29, 2001
Christopher Lee reveals himself to be tenacious, diligent, precise, hardworking and tireless. He cares about many things and many people. His beliefs are evidenced in his loving actions: serving in the elite armed forces for his country; putting his family first in thought and in deed; and by founding the Charlemagne film company, dedicated to eradicating evil. Mr. Lee appears completely worthy of having Knighthood bestowed upon him. It is most unclear why that hasn't yet happened, and quite disheartening when folks with less transparent qualifications have achieved the honor. At times we fail to fully realize to whom we should bow, to return the service in kind. On behalf of the human race, thank you, Mr. Lee, for advocating for our well-being.
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on January 9, 2000
Reading this book gave me the feeling that Mr. Lee and I were sitting comfortably one winter evening beside a roaring fire in an old English manor house, and I was listening raptly to a long series of fascinating anecdotes about his life and times. One caution, the book is VEDDY British--- the vocabulary will be somewhat incomprehensible to readers unfamiliar with 20th Century British slang, although for this edition the editors have had Mr. Lee add some explanations of terms in square brackets. Also disappointing is Lee's reticence toward his old friend Peter Cushing. One longs to hear the great stories of their friendship, such as their love for Warner Brothers cartoons, and Lee's gift for mimicking the voices of these cartoon characters, which he used to amuse the housebound Cushing, via telephone.
Lee's film career, and life, have been varied and exciting, to say the least, and all the variety and excitement is here. Recommended highly!
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on June 29, 2001
Christopher Lee tells about his career in motion pictures, but of course the interesting parts are where he talks about playing Dracula and the problems he had with Hammer Studios. Having seen all of the Hammer Dracula movies it is easy for me to understand why Lee felt frustrated in the role. The character was reduced to being so animalistic; in some films he never even speaks. This autobiography makes it clear Lee could have done much more with the role (and actually got the chance to do so, but in a film made after this book was published). Certainly an interesting book for Lee's fans, but hopefully they will end up with more of an appreciation for the man's entire career in acting.
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on July 20, 2000
In an age where many of today's actors lead lives of wreckless irresponsibility, excessive substance abuse and have multiple marriages, here is a man who has been entertaining us for 50 years AND also has managed to lead a most examplary life. Here is someone who can be a role model for your children.
Enter Mr Christopher Lee: we all know him as a superb actor, but did you know he is a wonderful singer as well? We may know he is of British and Italian ancestry, but did you know how he is related to Charlemagne or to a brave Cardinal who stood up to Napoleon himself? Here is a man who courageously served his country in WWII, is a extraordinary linguist, and is married to the same lady for 39 years. And now at an age where many people have since long retired, he is STILL charming and entertaining us with yet more magical movie moments. You will not be able to put this book down. I read it over a weekend. You will be moved to laughter, tears, and perhaps inspired to do more with your life than you've done after you witness this man's story. And you'll read it again and again.
It's just nice to know that heros still exist. And in the show business field no less! Bravo, Mr Lee!
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on February 2, 2001
Time to get up close and personal with an actor we've all admired for years. This is a facsinating book and with each chapter, we come to realize just how multi-dimensional this versatile actor really is. As he tells the story of his childhood, the World War II years, his film career and his personal life as a husband and Father, you really learn to appreciate this amazing gentleman on more levels than simply his acting. You see Mr. Lee as very human, humerous, talented and outspoken. If you read just one autobiography this year, make it this one!
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on November 21, 2015
This book starts off a little slow, but man does it get interesting real quick. As someone who loves Film and Christopher Lee, I can say that I am thoroughly impressed. This is the 1st Memoir he has written, the second will have more about the films I grew up with. But it is great reading about the films that made him famous. Even if I haven't seen all of them.
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on May 12, 2016
A 3.5 star autobiography. Half of the book was spent on his childhood and war years which were quite interesting but the second half of the book was disappointing. He did not have much to say about his movies even the best ones and not much to say about Peter Cushing and some of the great actors he worked with. I got a bit tired of all of the celebrity name dropping and the constant anecdotes about playing golf wore a bit thin. What I did find interesting was his interest in opera and that he was a talented singer and semi professional but left it too late to follow that path as his acting career had already taken off. He was well traveled and had a very interesting life but unfortunately the lack of information about his movies and there was actually more about his bad movies than his good ones meant that the last third of the book tended to drag when you expected it to soar. An entertaining book but not something I would read again. I would prefer to watch his best movies instead.
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on April 5, 2009
Here is the story of an amazing man who has traveled a long an wonderful journey. From discovering his Gypsy and Italian Royal ancestry, his military service during WWII, his family and a dizzying array of work. His friendships with Peter Cushing and Boris Karloff and the awards he has won for his work. Bad guy, good guy, king, vampire, assassin, wizard, evil villain, philosopher, cowboy, gangster, he has played them all. A truly talented man who is truly human. A great read for classic movie and Hammer fans! Enjoy
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