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The House of Redgrave: The Lives of a Theatrical Dynasty Hardcover – April 1, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Aurum Press Ltd (April 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845136233
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845136239
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,583,089 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Though touted incorrectly as "the first full biography of this...remarkable family" (Donald Spoto's The Redgraves: A Family Epic was published in 2012), this effort does take a different tack from previous books. Spoto concentrates on the patriarch, Michael Redgrave, whereas Adler (Hollywood and the Mob: Movies, Mafia, Sex and Death) places the most emphasis on director Tony Richardson (Tom Jones), Vanessa's first husband and the father of Natasha and Joely. This is a welcome addition to the literature since little has been written about Richardson, except his autobiography published posthumously in 1993, which supposedly glossed over the facts of his life. Similarly, Corin Redgrave is often overlooked because of his more famous sisters, Vanessa and Lynn. Here Adler shares the family's lesser-known stories along with scandals (Vanessa's affair with Franco Nero), tragedies (the early deaths of Natasha and Lynn), and political activism (Vanessa started very early) of this famous family in a wonderfully gossipy, intimate tone that will delight celebrity watchers. VERDICT This well-researched work is a nice complement to Spoto's earlier book." — Library Journal

About the Author

Tim Alder's previous books are Hollywood and the Mob and The Producers: Money, Movies and Who Really Calls the Shots. He has written for the Daily Telegraph, the Financial Times and The Times.

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Customer Reviews

If you want to read about the Redgraves, get the Spoto book.
Frank R. Sloan
This is not a book about the talented and (probably) interesting Redgraves.
Richard Lottridge
He provides NO references and a limited number of footnotes.
olderandwiser

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Richard Lottridge on April 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is not a book about the talented and (probably) interesting Redgraves. It is a book about Tony Richardson's plays and films. It is poorly researched, and aside from an occasional blow-job, there is very little personal information about Mr. Richardson. Vanessa Redgrave appears from time to time as an unhappy wife or ex-wife. If you are interested in Michael, Rachel, Vanessa, Lynn, or Corin, do not bother to buy this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Regina Patterson on June 11, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is NOT about the REDGRAVES! This is the story of Tony Richardson.
For that perfidy alone, I would give this book ZERO STARS. Amazon should offer refunds to all those of us who were scammed by this ridiculous ruse! I deleted it from both my Kindle and iPad.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By SusieQ on May 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Having been disappointed by Donald Spoto's recent book on the Redgrave family, I had hopes that Mr. Adler's book would be better. But frankly, this one makes Spoto's book look like Pulitzer Prize material.

The older generation, Michael Redgrave and his forebears, and Rachel Kempson, are given a few backward glances in the opening chapters (mostly on their sex lives), but really the focus of this story is Vanessa Redgrave's life and career; Vanessa's former husband Tony Richardson, and sometimes on Corin Redgrave. Some later chapters deal with the lives and careers of Natasha and Joely Richardson. As with Spoto's book, but even more so than Spoto's, Lynn Redgrave's life and career are sparsely covered.

I will say that the book is 'entertainingly' written - in the sense that one can read it like it's PEOPLE Magazine. It has short chapters, the information is briskly provided; there are some interesting quotes about the family provided by some of the persons interviewed. The writing moves along at a fast clip. (Note that I didn't say a "good" clip, but a fast clip!)

But like the articles in PEOPLE Magazine, it's only a superficial look at this family and their craft. Plus, the author makes several clumsy errors, both in syntax and with facts, which makes me think this book was either a rush to publication, or, the author simply didn't care enough to proofread his work.

THE HOUSE OF REDGRAVE, while not exactly a gossip-ridden hack job, comes awfully close. The definitive book on these actors and this family has yet to be written.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Frank R. Sloan on May 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book is mistitled and misleading. After a very few pages about the Redgraves, it suddenly lurches into the life of Tony Richardson. I've just reached page 80, and the book is clearly his story, and so far has virtually nothing about the Redgraves in any context. If you want to read about the Redgraves, get the Spoto book. If you want to hear gossip about the beginnings of the English Stage Company at London's Royal Court Theatre, then this is for you. Otherwise, it's a very poor excuse for a book about the Redgraves.

And the promotional blurb at the top of this page talks about 1928 as the year when Oliver tells Michael Redgrave that a brand new name has been born for the English stage. Wrong! In fact, Vanessa's birth year is 1937, and that's the date that is used in the book. I'm not sure if the year error is from the publisher's publicity kit or occurred from Amazon's own publicity, but it sort of sets a lousy tone for the book, which is only reinforced in the book itself by the poor choice of too much Richardson data. A sorry event, doing no favors for the Redgraves. A big skip for this.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By S. Harris on September 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I'll allow that perhaps this work might be mis-labeled. To those one- and two-star Amazon reviewers who have complained that this is really about Tony Richardson, a Redgrave by marriage only, I say Yes. Get over it already.

This is a sometimes-serious, sometimes-witty, frequently gossipy and always engaging memoir of a definitive period in British theatre and film-making. Because of the militancy of Vanessa and Corin, the last third of the book also becomes a valuable and rather personal reminder of the reckless insanity that was British Trotskyite politics in the late sixties and early seventies.

Certainly, any biographer who had set out to depict the Redgraves _without_ mentioning Richardson's incredible oeuvre -- 36 stage plays and 33 films if you include television -- would have had a hard time of it. Redgraves appeared in four of the plays and five of the movies. It's a virtue of this book, too, that it does not over-sell the talent. The blockbuster success of 'Tom Jones' is here. But here, too are calamities like the movie 'Red & Blue,' and the stage production of 'The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Any More' (which closed after only five nights at the Brooks Atkinson in New York). Here's the thumbs-down on R&B:

"Lindsay Anderson thought [Red & Blue] was 'unshowable.' UA yanked it after two or three days. The headline in Variety read, RANK ORGANISATION SINKS RED AND BLUE LIKE SUBMARINE'. It was never shown again."

Nor are these characters described here as warm and lovable. Far from it. Vanessa was widely accused of anti-semitism, burned in effigy by crowds shouting 'Arafat's whore' at the 1978 Oscar awards. Corin's exaggerated militancy made him, for a time, a figure of fun in the acting profession.
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