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In and Out of Character
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In and Out of Character

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating Details  ·  60 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
Long out of print and virtually impossible to find even in the rare book market, this autobiography recalls to life one of the most eminent actors of his time. Romeo Katherine Cornell's Juliet on stage, Karenina to Garbo's Anna Karenina on film, Rathbone of course remains most indelibly the personification of Sherlock Holmes, a role he played in 16 films and over 200 radio ...more
Paperback, 278 pages
Published August 1st 2004 by Limelight Editions (first published 1956)
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Paul Ferguson
Feb 14, 2014 Paul Ferguson rated it liked it

I was excited when I found a used copy of Rathbone's autobiography, and it turned out to be really disappointing. He is an okay writer, though the early chapters tend to flit around a bit. The problem is he seems like a huge snob. Nothing can touch theater, movies are a necessary evil, and radio and television are only there to pay the bills. Worst of all, his most enduring roles get a sentence here and there. Yes, he dedicates a chapter to Sherlock Holmes, but that chapter is focused entirely o
Mar 05, 2014 Yasmin rated it really liked it
As I just finished this book I thought to myself how wonderful! But then quickly it struck me that Basil Rathbone was still in character. I have remarked before on some of the things other memoirs/autobiographies that were left out, those can be taken in stride, those details weren't very much. But he the one and only son was not mentioned, not once, not in passing, not even that he was ever born. That struck me as very odd. Then when I read some incidents he mentioned, that could be seen as min ...more
Apr 06, 2014 Deb rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
I picked this up at a used bookstore with some excitement, as I always enjoyed Basil Rathbone's film performances, and the book blurb promised a high quality of writing and lots of details of an actor's life in the early part of the Twentieth century. It supplied plenty of the latter. Rathbone had a long and distinguished stage career before Hollywood snagged him to play villains and of course, Sherlock Holmes. I enjoyed learning about the actor's theatrical background, as well as his deep love ...more
Jan 06, 2012 columbialion rated it really liked it
Although this book is a must read for any Sherlock Holmes enthusiast, I would also recommend this book to any connoisseur of classic film and theater. Mr. Rathbone, of course is best known for his brilliant portrayals of Baker Street's most famous resident. But his professional life as an actor cannot and should not be defined only through his role as Mr. Holmes. The breathe and depth of Mr. Rathbone's career as an actor is one of the most distinguished and pure in the annals of theatre. His pr ...more
Dec 06, 2009 Amber rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-adult
Amazing, amazing, amazing. Here is someone who has lived a life full of adventure and strange experiences, but like David Niven, can articulate his life with both wit and an awareness for their meaning and impact.

I don't usually laugh at loud or cry when I'm reading books, especially non-fiction -- but this is so well-written that I couldn't help myself. I wonder why this book is not still remembered?

Packed with stories about famous people of the day, but those aren't the best ones. Watch out fo
Darren Jones
Mar 17, 2013 Darren Jones rated it really liked it
I have always loved Basil Rathbone as an actor, from Sherlock Holmes to the villainous Sir Guy of Gisbourne he has had a spectacular and varied career on stage and screen. Rathbone understands how to tell a good story and in an era of google, Wikipedia and imdb this book stands out as an autobiography. Rather than an endless list of who he worked with and general self congratulation, in and out of character let's Rathbone examine who he is and how his experiences have shaped his life. This reall ...more
Rena Sherwood
Rathbone was not only a good actor and great-looking but in his autobiography he shows that he is also a charming writer. This also includes two short stories by Rathbone, including "Daydream" where a Rathbone-like character meets Sherlock Holmes.
Amy Perry
Jul 25, 2012 Amy Perry rated it it was amazing
A very eloquent and philosophical writer. A wonderful read and it makes me realise that they just don't make men like this anymore :-(
Nov 25, 2011 Leslie rated it it was amazing
I read this book in high school, I think, but really enjoyed it and still remember it fondly.
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Philip St. John Basil Rathbone, MC (13 June 1892 – 21 July 1967) was a South African-born British actor. He rose to prominence in England as a Shakespearean stage actor and went on to appear in over 70 films, primarily costume dramas, swashbucklers, and, occasionally, horror films. He frequently portrayed suave villains or morally ambiguous characters, such as Murdstone in David Copperfield (1935) ...more
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