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Claude Rains: An Actor's Voice

4.1 of 5 stars 4.10  ·  rating details  ·  29 ratings  ·  7 reviews
Born into the English working class, Claude Rains (1889-1967) overcame a severe speech impediment to become a fixture of the London theater scene. Rains's personal life was as dramatic as his work onstage: to end his second marriage while masking his wife's alcoholism, he staged an episode of infidelity, though the ensuing scandal made it difficult for him to find work. In ...more
Hardcover, 290 pages
Published November 7th 2008 by University Press of Kentucky (first published November 1st 2008)
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Amazingly this is the first biography of Rains and it is has a great deal of information that will come as news to his fans. One wishes it could have been written forty years ago when when many of his contemporaries were still alive. Once he reaches his Hollywood the films rush by with no more than an anecdote or two for most of them. Still this is as good a bio as we're likely to get, with Skal having access to a couple of dozen of hours of interviews that were done with Rains for a prospective ...more
A strong biography, written about one of film's forgotten men...the character actor. Never really succeeding as a leading man, Claude Rains made the most impact with tough, powerful supporting roles, such as Louis in Casablanca or Alex the Nazi in Hitchcock's Masterpiece Notorious. Written by David Skal, a film historian and biographer, as well as by Rains' only child, Jessica, this book vividly tells the story of a man who didn't monopolize Hollywood, he just captivated it.
This is my second book by David J. Skal and it is quite good. I have been interested in Claude Rains' early start in London and the life he had before and around Hollywood. Without going into too personal details, which I'm not interested in, this book achieved the things I would have liked to know. Unfortunately as per with most biographies I have read so far there is too little on anecdotes between actors and other actors/actresses, or how some became friends.
Fine enough, but it would have been nice to have some meat on the bones of this 183 page biography. Far less credible ‘stars’ are out there with bios that easily more than double this page-count. Surely there are other sources the author could have drawn from to flesh out the work.
A nice film and stage listing at the back.
A very informative book about one of the great cinematic character actors of our time of which I for one knew very little about. I would recommend this to anyone with a love for classic stage or cinema. Truly a story about a man who had to overcome considerable odds to become a success.
A great biography of a truly remarkable actor. Knowing about his origins, his work ethic and even the demons he fought makes me appreciate him so much more. The book itself read very quickly, leading to my only complaint of wanting more information about the films.
One of my favorite actors profiled in this interesting biography. A little "dry", but informative and of interest to anyone having seen this actor's work.
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David J. Skal became fascinated with monsters at the height of the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, when indestructible monsters like Dracula, Frankenstein and the Wolf Man provided a "nuclear security blanket" for a whole generation of youngsters.

Active as an editor and reporter on his high school newspaper, he was granted a journalism scholarship to Ohio University, Athens, where he earned a bachelor'
More about David J. Skal...
The Monster Show: A Cultural History of Horror Death Makes a Holiday: A Cultural History of Halloween Hollywood Gothic: The Tangled Web of Dracula from Novel to Stage to Screen Dark Carnival: The Secret World of Tod Browning, Hollywood's Master of the Macabre Vampires: Encounters With the Undead

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