Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr Viber
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
The Perfect Night In
Great Movies From Warner Bros.
Create A Short Film
With the BFI & O2
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

BOOK DETAILS
Released
13 June 2013
Author
Robert Sellers
Publisher

LATEST BOOK REVIEWS
Thunderbirds: The Vault
4 Star Empire Rating
Seeking Perfection: The Unofficial Guide To Tremors
4 Star Empire Rating
Star Wars: The Imperial Handbook
3 Star Empire Rating
Ghostbusters: The Ultimate Visual History
5 Star Empire Rating
Terminator Genisys: Resetting The Future
2 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Ghostbusters: The Ultimate Visual History
5 Star Empire Rating
Charlie Chaplin Archives, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Saturday Night Live: The Book
5 Star Empire Rating
Grand Budapest Hotel, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Becoming Richard Pryor
5 Star Empire Rating

What Fresh Lunacy Is This?


submit to reddit

Review
GLASSED IN A PUB IN 1963 and returning from hospital with 36 stitches, Oliver Reed apparently felt the need to prove his masculinity by attempting “the love act” with his wife, who understandably objected that he was dripping blood all over her. Like a trip down the boozer with an enthusiastic raconteur, Robert Sellers’ authorised biography of Reed is full of these sorts of gossipy anecdotes and fond reminiscences. Taking a chronological approach to the exploits of the iconic hellraiser, commentary from family, friends, colleagues and lovers is pieced together to create a broadly flattering picture of the legendary piss artist and imposing screen presence, whose performances in the likes of Tommy and Oliver! cemented his place in British film history as much as his wild lifestyle did.

It’s probably fair to say it’s not a very objective portrait of the man. Although you can read between the lines and can see that he was awful on many occasions to many people, this book is for the fans, waving the more troublesome details away as “Ollie being Ollie”, and entranced by his charisma, eccentricity and lavish displays of generosity (as a struggling unknown, he promised a penniless army vet in a bar that if he became a big star he would buy the man a house, which he did). Sellers’ final conclusion is that Reed’s tragedy was ultimately his compulsion to act out an outrageous public persona he’d created to hide his innate shyness, up to the premature end of his life during the filming of Gladiator in 1999.

If you’re a student of British cinema, this book will provide invaluable colour, context and quotable stories, but you may need to read around to supplement it with more serious analysis of the period. But if you’re after a collection of pub stories or — say — a Father’s Day present, look no further. It would be surprising if this book didn’t inspire at least a few pub crawls around what Reed called “the Wimbledon run”: the Rose & Crown, the Dog & Fox, The Fire Stables (née The Castle), The Swan, the Hand In Hand and The Crooked Billet. In Reed’s day there were two more, now gone. It’s appropriate that latter-day versions of the crawl are missing something — as well as a biography, Sellers’ book is also a lament for a version of England and a way of being a movie star that doesn’t really exist anymore.


Reviewed by Catherine Bray

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Empire Meets The Stars Of Me And Earl And The Dying Girl
On the Sundance smash, bedroom posters and Nick Offerman

10 Star Wars: The Force Awakens Toys You’ll Want To Own
Falcon quad copter? BB-8 Sphero? We’re already asking for pay raises…

Wes Craven: Film By Film
Empire celebrates the late, great horror director

My Movie Life: Andrew Haigh
The 45 Years director on the movies that made him

Vanity Projects: The Musical Edition
A dozen more hits and misses from the rock and pop world

Inside The Martian: Empire Meets NASA
Prepare to science the shit out of it...

Deadpool: A Complete History
Empire's guide to The Merc With A Mouth, in comics and on screen

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Empire print magazine

Delivered to your door – with exclusive subscriber only covers each month! Save money today and

Subscribe now!

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Empire digital magazine

Exclusive and enhanced content – get instant access via your iPad or Android device! Save money today and

Subscribe now!

Subscribe now and save up to 63%
Print, Digital & Package options available Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire Digital Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  Digital Edition  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)