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Who the Hell's in It: Conversations With Hollywood's Legendary Actors

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  145 ratings  ·  15 reviews
Peter Bogdanovich, known primarily as a director, film historian and critic, has been working with professional actors all his life. He started out as an actor (he debuted on the stage in his sixth-grade production of Finian’s Rainbow); he watched actors work (he went to the theater every week from the age of thirteen and saw every important show on, or off, Broadway for t ...more
Paperback, 544 pages
Published October 25th 2005 by Ballantine Books (first published March 31st 2000)
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Classic Film Books
105th out of 324 books — 47 voters
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Play Acting
2nd out of 25 books — 3 voters

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Writer-Actor-Director Peter Bogdanovich never took to heart the old adage, "never meet your heroes." In both his earlier book on directors ("Who the Devil Made It") and this companion volume, Bogdanovich shares stories of the famous friends (and a few acquaintances) he made in over 40 years in show business. Though some chapters were based on profiles done on magazine assignments (such as Jack Lemmon), most seem written or updated for this book published in 2004. Many are intimate and loving sto ...more
David Rusk
At one time I only knew three things about writer-director Peter Bogdanovich. I knew he was the auteur behind The Last Picture Show, I knew he had a reputation for being a film buff and historian, and, finally, I knew he was in a relationship with Playboy Playmate Dorothy Stratton when she was murdered by her ex-lover. Back in the early 1990's, as a journalist, I attended the press junket for his feature film, The Thing Called Love, and participated in interviewing him, but the only thing I reca ...more
Jun 22, 2009 Stop added it
Read the STOP SMILING interview excerpt with writer and director Peter Bogdanovich

By James Hughes

(This interview originally appeared in STOP SMILING The Auteur Issue)

Before directing films like Targets (1968), The Last Picture Show (1971) and Paper Moon (1973), New York native Peter Bogdanovich was a journalist, interviewing Hollywood legends throughout the Sixties and Seventies for publications like Esquire, under editor Harold Hayes. (Several interview
You get the best and worst of Bogdanovich in this book: the ascot-wearing, bejeweled namedropper who can't get through a paragraph without mentioning Orson Welles and the enthusiastic, knowledgeable movie fan who soaked up a lot of interesting stories from a lot of great actors and filmmakers who are no longer with us. Bogdanovich is afraid of painting anyone in a negative light and his sycophantic hyperbole can be a chore to slog through. His Hollywood-centric viewpoint causes him to make some ...more
Edward Waverley
This review has the potential to be revisited occasionally for a long time, it's that sort of book, and I have that sort of a schedule currently. So watch for this.

The career trajectory of Bogdanovich is one of the strangest in Hollywood history. He's now had his fingerprints on or around some aspect of moviemaking, fairly continuously, for over 40 years. What's amazing about that is that every time it looks as if he has been thoroughly disqualified from further participation, some eerie combina
Bookmarks Magazine

As they did with his 1997 compendium on film directors, Who the Devil Made It, critics embraced Bogdanovich's Who the Hell's in It, his paean to legendary Hollywood actors, most of whom are now dead. Reviewers applaud the detail and care with which Bogdanovich paints his subjects__Audrey Hepburn and Marlene Dietrich, among them__and the professional insight he brings to this collection. "Inside the bon vivant and raconteur that is today's Bogdanovich," writes the Washington Post, "is an honest-t

Bogdanovich has a talent for capturing what exactly draws us to certain actors and actresses and why we should give some a more thorough inspecting and others our absolute respect. As he's worn the director, writer and actor hats throughout his career, he is certainly an expert and we should value his opinion. I only wish he thought to honor the same amount of actresses as actors in this particular book. Afer all, he has worked with some illustrious talents like Madeline Kahn and Barbra Streisan ...more
Qualche anno fa, in tv impazzava Paolo Limiti, non so se ve lo ricordate.. Io avevo un debole per i suoi racconti sui miti di Hollywood, e in questo libro ho ritrovato la magia di quelle narrazioni. Qui il vantaggio è che Bogdanovich (chissà se l'ho scritto giusto??) tutti i personaggi di cui fa un breve ritratto li ha incontrati, ci ha interagito, hanno frequentato gli stessi luoghi. Commovente a tratti, esilarante in altri. Soprattutto ti fa venire voglia di vedere subito i grandi film che han ...more
Brent Wilson
I found this through some Wall Street Journal article-

Talking about best movie books.

People like Bogdanovich amaze me - how they remember details of their lives and conversations, and are able to bring such color and life to descriptions. They have to be faithful to the real encounter because they're so rich and interesting and truthful in spirit. My memory performs nowhere near like that!

Chapters on Bogey and Cary Grant were especially memorable.
Carol Littlejohn
I like celebrity bio's and evaluations, especially those of another era. Peter Bogdanovich always gives insightful views of many "stars" of the golden era: John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, Henry Fonda, Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn, to name just a few. Most of these celebrities he has met or interviewed and that gives a more intimate touch. For a quick read or quick scan of your favorite celebrity, I recommend this book.

I can read and re-read this book without ever losing interest. Combined with his book about directors, you have two volumes of invaluable Hollywood insider history.
Bogdanovich's enthuasiasm for his subjects and eloquent writing make this a great read for any classic film fan.
Who the Hell's in It: Portraits and Conversations by Peter Bogdanovich (2004)
Gary Shapiro
Hear my interview with the author
Aug 15, 2008 Ian added it
Worth it.
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Peter Bogdanovich is an American film historian, director, writer, actor and critic. He was part of the wave of "New Hollywood" directors (which included William Friedkin, Brian DePalma, George Lucas, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Michael Cimino and Francis Ford Coppola, among others), and was particularly relevant during the 1970s with his film The Last Picture Show.
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