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Lugosi: His Life in Films, on Stage, and in the Hearts of Horror Lovers

8 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0786402571
ISBN-10: 0786402571
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Lugosi was an actor whose fame came mostly from his portrayal of Dracula, and little has been written about him?until now, probabaly owing to Martin Landau's recent OscarR-winning portrayal of Lugosi in the film Ed Wood. Two biographies have appeared in as many months, and one wonders if Lugosi's career merits this much attention. One may be even more skeptical of the need for 300 pages comprising a filmography, a bibliography, a list of reviews, quotations by and about Lugosi, and a compilation of unfinished projects. Rhodes (Univ. of Oklahoma) admits he set out to record everything Lugosi ever said or did, and comprehensive film history collections that can afford to pay $55 for such a compendium may welcome it. Larry Edwards's Bela Lugosi: Master of the Macabre (LJ 3/1/97) covers the same biographical ground, however, and smaller collections will find it a better value for those interested in Lugosi.?Rosellen Brewer, Monterey Bay Area Cooperative Lib. System, Cal.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.


“Everything Lugosi ever said or did” --Library Journal

“It can easily lay claim to being the best book ever written about Bela Lugosi” --Little Shoppe of Horrors

“Highly recommended!” --Midnight Marquee

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 430 pages
  • Publisher: McFarland & Company (February 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786402571
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786402571
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 7.2 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,298,551 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 14, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Reference books generally have a reputation of being full of facts, yet dry in prose. While a bio-bibliography may not be traditionally called "entertainment," this ambitious effort successfully breaches the limitations of such reference books. It is a thought-provoking history of the great Béla Lugosi (1882 - 1956). His career was as varied and tragic, both publicly and privately, as John Barrymore's. His legend remains secure, thanks to "Dracula" (Universal, 1931). The life surrounding the legend has been colorfully illuminated thanks to Gary Don Rhodes. His phenomenal research charts Lugosi's long voyage of fame and infamy, revealing details never before printed. His documentation is truly an achievement and a labor of blood, sweat and love.
Lugosi was a lover of style, sports, good living and women. Rhodes provides exhaustive examples of his exploits, both publicized and private. The wealth of photos alone display Lugosi out of his cape as a sociable creature, playful, enthusiastic, an avid reader and a cigar aficionado. A ladies' man, he was married five times. All five marriages are covered in detail - after all, there is curiosity about the love life of a vampire! There is documentation of his stage, screen and even court appearances; critical analysis of his career; and quotes and articles about or by Lugosi. The light side and the dark side are equally exposed. He was a man of strengths and weaknesses - perhaps the most notable and depressing of the latter was his long-term drug addiction. All of these elements are integrated to present a fascinating portrait of a complex artist. Those who are obsessed by the great Hungarian actor will find a sumptuous feast to satisfy their hunger. Even the mildly intrigued will be drawn into this unique individual's world.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Brad Baker VINE VOICE on October 4, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In August, 1956, faded horror film star Bela Lugosi died forgotten and penniless in Los Angeles. Five marriages, two bankruptcies, and a slow descent into chemical abuse and career collapse had taken their toll. Considered the ultimate "Dracula" star and actor today, Lugosi had watched his film success peak in the early 1930's. Boris Karloff quickly passed him by as the new King of Hollywood Horror. And poor Bela never recovered from the loss of prestige. Settling for a paltry $3500. to star in "Dracula" for Universal in 1931, Lugosi fumbled through a long line of poor business managers and faulty screen appearances right up until his untimely death. Just one year after his demise, Universal Studios re-packaged their old classic 1930's horror flicks for TV as "Shock Theater". Instantly, teens around the world reveled in the calculated mannerisms of the Hungarian Count. A big new star was born...just after his final curtain. "Lugosi: His Life in Films" reveals every detail. Published in 1996, you won't find this excellent compendium in any store. But you can order it through Amazon. Lovingly written by cinephile Gary Don Rhodes, the book lists every film, event, and appearance of the cinema icon. Bela Lugosi was scheduled to play Dracula in 1944's "House of Frankenstein". He never did. A marvelous photo of him as Jesus Christ(one of many great pics) reveals his true versatility. These rare pictures and historical investigations are all here for the true Lugosi fan. It's astounding that such a comprehensive work is available. Should we be surprised? Maybe not. After all..."There are many things under the sun..."
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Tim Janson HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 9, 2006
Format: Paperback
"Lugosi: His Life in Films, on Stage, and in the Hearts of Horror Lovers" isn't a biography of the late horror icon. Great biographies on Lugosi have already been done, most notably by Arthur Lennig in "The Immortal Count". Rather, author Gary Don Rhodes takes a different tack. While the book does contain a biography of Lugosi, it only comprises less than forty of the book's 400 plus pages. Rather, Rhodes has tried, and very successfully I might add, to provide lists of everything relating to Lugosi's life and career.

After the bio-section, we get a list of every known Lugosi residence in the United States, complete with address, telephone number, and the years...or often times months...that the actor resided at each spot. One could make quite a trip out of visiting all of Lugosi's former homes in California. We also get a list of all of Lugosi's court appearances for divorces, lawsuits, and bankruptcy petitions. Each goes into incredible detail and allows the reader a rare glimpse into a celebrity's personal life. There is a very detailed account of the lawsuit that Lugosi's son, Bela Jr., brought against Universal Studios when he discovered his fathers likeness being used to sell products such as the old Aurora model kits.

Rhodes next provides a list of every Lugosi film, not only his movies in the U.S., but also those he made in Germany, and his native Hungary before coming to America. Each film includes a list of cast, credits, plot, synopsis, and production notes. While there is obviously a lot more detail included on the films made here, I was quite surprised at the amount of information that Rhodes was able to uncover on Lugosi's foreign credits.
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