Surreysmum's Reviews > Hellraisers: The Life and Inebriated Times of Richard Burton, Peter O'Toole, Richard Harris & Oliver Reed

Hellraisers by Robert Sellers
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Sep 10, 2009

liked it
bookshelves: owned, 2011, actors, biography, film-history
Read in May, 2011

I can't deny I enjoyed this - but in the same way one enjoys a slightly inebriated evening with the local village gossips; that is, it's not exactly time well spent, and you're liable to end up with a bad taste in your mouth.

The author here pays a certain amount of lip-service to the inevitable bad effects of long-term promiscuity and drunkenness, but that's what it is - lip-service. And now I'm coming off as a most terrible prude, which I'm not. As a collection of anecdotes, it's very amusing; it also left me with a very clear idea of which of these four men I would choose to have as a friend (Burton, O'Toole) and which I would steer well clear of (Harris, Reed).

One advantage of the slightly mechanical and choppy structure is that you really do get a point of comparison for what each of the men was doing at any particular point, and you can appreciate where their careers overlapped (besides the fact that Burton and Harris both did "Camelot" - and both worked with Julie Andrews, with markedly different results - it's surprisingly not all that much).

This stays on my shelf because I'm a completist where O'Toole is concerned. But the only yen for further reading that it aroused was a desire to learn a bit more about Elizabeth Taylor, who seems to have deserved a "hell-raiser" title of her own.
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