Customer Reviews: He Ran All the Way: The Life of John Garfield
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4.1 out of 5 stars
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on January 23, 2004
I could barely believe my eyes when I found this book available whist scouring the Amazon pages as it is so difficult to find anything about John Garfield. This book did not disappoint. It is a fitting tribute to a fantastic actor who has sadly and unjustly been largely swept under the carpet along with some of the finest work ever captured on film. The book shows you the real side of "Julie", a witty, mischievous man who kept true to the boy inside and his roots. He seems to have had a naivity which partially contributed to his tragic end and shows the extent to which he was literally hounded to death by the unrelenting HUAC. What a waste that such an outstanding talent should suffer for staying true to his country and true to his profession. This man was brilliant...just compare his Frank Chambers to that of Jack Nicholson in The Postman Always Rings Twice or the way he carries the part of Danny in Tortilla Flat, two roles in stark contrast of one another.
I have been an avid Garfield fan for many years and my uncle was even lucky enough to have met him which is fantastic... but I can only thank the author, Robert Nott, for this outstanding book and insight further into John Garfield.
This book invoked many emotions, it retold many amusing stories of his antics, showed his funny side, his serious side, his determination, faults, strengths and weaknesses and in the end, sorrow for such a sad loss. If you are at all interested in this charismatic character, buy this book. A wonderful book about a wonderful man. Enjoy!
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on January 5, 2004
John Garfield has been mostly forgotten by the movie going public. He has fans yes-but a place with the 'greats' of the movies seems to be just out of his reach.
This new biography of Garfield reminds us...what a true raw talent he was. The author tells us how Garfield burst opon the movie scene in 1938-causing such a spash that Warner Brother's were shocked and...not sure what to do with there new discovery. They plunked him in some 'B' potboilers that didn't utilize has talent but still Garfield languished for awhile and while bored still delivered some standout performances. He began to grow as an actor in the 1940's delivering what I believe to be a Oscar worthy performance in the classic BODY AND SOUL.
The bio does a good job of detailing the 'times' that Garfield lived in and sadly what destroyed his career. The chapters about his childhood are most fasinating.
The only reason I did not give this book '5 stars' is because I feel that the author took some 'pot shots' at Garfield...'shots' that he had already told us about earlier in the book.
Other then these 'few' comments I feel the book is a worthy and a fine way to remember, and give our 'due' too a truely unique actor.
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on February 15, 2013
Very compelling book. Garfield was one of the few Hollywood actors admired by men and women. You always pulled for this guy in movies and you will continue to do that when you read this book. He was naive in many ways, too trusting. When I finished the book, I just wanted to be able to call him up to let him know he was in my thoughts and prayers. I felt I understood him and wanted to shield him from people who did not. Absolutely super book!
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on January 12, 2005
I was very pleased to have found a John Garfield bio. He is one of my favorite actors who,sadly, is underrated or even forgotten by most. I'm sorry to say then that "He Ran All the Way" is a disappointing,uneven,and incomplete portrait of such an interesting life. Nott's book is not especially well written. The reader never gets a true sense of Garfield, his relationship with his wife and children, or his colleagues. The book is full of generalities about Garfield's personality especially his womanizing and intellegence. The author also makes grand judgements about Garfield's movies that fans may not agree with. I did find it helpful as a resource for general facts about Garfield, especially his blacklisting. I hope to find another Garfield bio that's better written and more fleshed out. I'd love to see Patricia Bosworth write one. (She's written interesting bios about Brando and Clift.)
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on December 6, 2012
Sent it as a gift to my Father,wonderful biography and great pictures. John Garfield was an amazing talent,and the younger generation is now discovering him through the TCM channel.He was one of the best,unfortunately his life was all too brief.This is a great tribute to him.This book explains how similar he was to the characters he portrayed as he had a hard life and beginnings as a child,and he channeled this in his portrayals.
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on February 10, 2013
This book brought back many memories I had of going to the movies when I was a young girl.
My favorite star was John Garfield. He was a handsome man, although he never seemed to know it. His
acting came very natural to him. It seemed that we were there with him in every story, every film. He was a .
born natural ahead of his time. Yes, ahead of Clift, Brando & .
I so enjoyed reading about his life until it came to the part of the book that told about the investigation of
Hollywood by the Senate of the United Stated that was determined to find Communists working in the film industry
& ridding all of us of their talents by putting them on a blacklist which kept them from working in the film industry.
Among the famous movie actors, they decided to use John Garfield as a scape goat & found him guilty of being
subversive. According to this book, no one had ever stated that Mr. Garfield was a Communist or that he ever belonged to the
Party. His life was tradgically ruined & he slid downhill until he had a major coronary which killed him at the age of 39.
I closed the book at the finish & felt disturbed & angry about the treatment of an actor that I never knew..He had become famous at the wrong time in Hollywood, went to the top & hit bottom in one moment in history, atragic time for him..
I heard on T.V. recenly that he was given the lead role in A Streetcar Named Desire & refused the offer...............

I felt very angry at this part of his life & imagined what it did to his life.
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on November 5, 2011
This is definitely a great biography, which ensambles all the diverse facets of movie-star John Garfield (born Jacob Julius Garfinkle, who was called Julie by all of his friends), a respectful but objective enough tale that displays alternatively light and shadows over this pioneer actor, a recount that is initiated in his childhood in poor neighbourhoods, launching of his acting talents through his involvement with the Group Theatre, his long life friendship with playwright Clifford Odets, his marriage to Robbe (a devoted wife who loved him until his death), his womanizing tendencies, the tragic incidents that would scar his soul forever, the HUAC confrontation, the blacklist which forced him to come back to N.Y. stage, the disillusionment, the humanity of a star behind the "anesthetic" of Hollywood. Great work by Mr. Nott. Highly recommended.
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on March 18, 2007
If you are a fan of John Garfield,or even just curious to know more about this neglected star,who was the FIRST movie 'rebel',then this book is a worthwhile read.If,like me you rate Garfield as one of the great acting talents,then it will be disappointing,as it is to some of the other reviewers.
There is far too much emphasis,(and judgement) on his womanising and 'intellectual' shortcomings.At times it seems like the author is indeed taking 'pot shots',as another reviewer observed,instead of unbiased criticism.The book is rather shallow as a whole,but I did get some terrific information about Garfield and his films,probably because there is so little in the way of other books on the subject for comparison.
Had the author been someone like Lawrence Grobel,who wrote a masterpiece on John Huston's life and family in 'THE HUSTONS',we would have had,I'm sure, the definitive version.
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on August 15, 2013
Garfield was painted as an innocent person who found himself connected to all the wrong groups in his efforts to be a popular actor during the years of the House Un-American Activities Committee investigations. In reality, he was a swell guy. In his efforts to be a movie star, he never lost his natural tendencies to help others, which killed him in the end.
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on April 26, 2004
This book has potential and I would recommend purchasing it, but it is verbose and "text booky", something I don't want in a Hollywood autobiography.
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