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Moons A Balloon Paperback – International Edition, April 26, 2005
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Top Customer Reviews
Imagine, however, seems to be an operative word. Niven was less interested in relating the facts of his life than he was in telling a good story and in putting his best face to the public--something that is not entirely unexpected in an autobiography, particularly the autobiography of a Hollywood star. Later writers have noted that Niven played fast and loose with the facts in THE MOON'S A BALLOON, and that for all his charm he could be viciously despicable when the mood took him; it is also worth pointing out that he was never quite the "A List" star that he seems to be in his memoirs.
But all this is actually a little beside the point. Whether it is factually accurate and emotionally honest or not, THE MOON'S A BALLOON is simply a delightful read right from the first page, where we meet Nessie, the Picadilly hooker who introduced Niven to the joys of the flesh. Approximately half the book concerns Niven's life before he arrived in Hollywood as a would-be actor, and it is a riotous ride; once Niven hits the film industry, however, he begins to name drop with the best of them--offering memorable glimpses of such famous names as director William Wyler and stars Laurence Olivier and Vivian Leigh. It is all fascinating stuff.
It can also be quite startling.Read more ›
David Niven was not always a star. He had to go away and learn his trade in "B" movies before being allowed to enter the big time. He learnt that trade so well he eventually won an Oscar. Unlike some who were destined to become greats of Hollywood, he also put his entire acting career on hold whilst he served as an officer in a fighting unit throughout WW2. This book tells the first half of his life's story and what a story it is. Like every biography ever written, the best bits are not found at the beginning, so some readers, therefore, might find it slow going at first - though most will not. Then we meet the rich and famous stars of Hollywood from another era and learn a little about each of these people and their various relationships as we move from one to another and sometimes back again.
Written in David Niven's own hilarious style, there is so much humour here that you "will" find yourself insisting others read this book. In fact, it is so funny - especially his descriptions of the wrong use of English words by foreign movie directors, one finishes the book in the knowledge that had David Niven not become an Oscar-winning movie star, he would easily have achieved great success as a writer.
Refreshingly, Niven writes about his fellow personalities from that golden age of the Hollywood of yester-year with charming frankness. Where others might expose drunkenness or sordid behaviour, Niven simply makes us laugh and, in so doing you really do get the feeling that those of whom he speaks would approve.
The underlying theme, of course, is David Niven's life and, as one reviewer has said elsewhere, this book leaves you wishing you had met this man. Me too.
Niven must have been a welcome addition to any party, as his writing has a chatty, 'have you heard the story about...' quality that makes each experience a topper to the one before! You'll follow his early life, and introduction into Hollywood, where he shared a cottage with legendary hell-raiser Errol Flynn (who would bed an endless stream of stars and starlets, while avoiding jealous husbands and boyfriends by the narrowest of margins), to his involvement with Samuel Goldwyn and the British acting community (including a hilarious tale involving Nigel Bruce and a rare plant), to a horrible yet hysterical Broadway stint, to his recollections about the production of 'Around the World in Eighty Days'.
Niven was not one to 'blow his own horn', and he tends to downplay his own adventures (he was a decorated officer in WWII, who survived D-Day; he only lightly touches upon it, and says he was only 'doing his part'), and the book ends on a slightly jarring note, as he acknowledges his complete confusion over current tastes in lifestyles and music (using James Taylor, of all people, as a reference to what was incomprehensible!), but all in all, the book is a delight, and was such a commercial hit that it spawned a sequel, 'Bring On the Empty Horses'.
If there is ANY book that deserves to be back in print, it's 'The Moon's a Balloon'. When that happy day arrives, run, do NOT walk, to buy it! You WON'T be disappointed!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Yes, thank you. I'm enjoying the contents very much, which was, after all, the point of buying it(!)
Despite the lack of a dust cover the actual cover is in very good... Read more
An entertaining book by a very witty guy. Loved him in "The Bishop's Wife."Published 2 months ago by Wayne P. Swenson
A great work of fiction, err.. autobiography. The picture of him winking on this cover is aptly placed. Read morePublished 3 months ago by M. von Wahlde
A fun, easy and entertaining read, once started, it was hard to put down. Niven had a long career in Hollywood and was quite prolific. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Voltaire