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Just Tell Me When to Cry: A Memoir by…
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Just Tell Me When to Cry: A Memoir

by Richard Fleischer

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This one moves to the top of the class for Hollywood memoirs. Wry, questioning, name-dropping...perfect for fans of 1950s-1970s cinema. Fleischer, the son of the pioneering animation titan Max Fleischer (Betty Boop), just nails this wonderful tale of his life as a Hollywood director and the zany stars he had to endure.

It's also an easy read, thanks to the linear outline. It starts with Richard Fleischer's intro to the film industry, via John Wayne's bathroom peculiarities, and takes us through his career. Each chapter is devoted to either a specific movie or to a specific star. We learn that John Wayne couldn't start filming until his morning poop was all done, while Kirk Douglas was insecure ("Does this have any value?"). Edward G. Robinson was a prince of players, maintaining his composure and manners while dying, literally.

But the best example of egotism belongs to Rex Harrison. Or as I now like to refer to him, 'Rex-n-Effects'. Let's just say he was a bit full of himself (and his wife Rachel Roberts a bit wonky). The wonderful title of the book comes from Sylvia Sidney, in her response to Fleischer's long and overwrought explanation of her film character. I would have liked a fuller telling of Fleischer's time on 1978's The Prince and the Pauper, if only to hear the tales of Oliver Reed in Hungary, but Fleischer's other experiences are good enough.

Book Season = Summer (find a real movie house) ( )
  Gold_Gato | Sep 16, 2013 |
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