Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


CHARLES BOYER: THE RELUCTANT LOVER. Larry Swindell. Doubleday; 1983.

This classic biography of the great French actor is an excellent study of Boyer's life and career, culminating in his tragic final days. With insight and intelligence, Swindell takes us from Boyer's early days in France, his attempts to make it in Hollywood before finally succeeding, and the ups and downs of his career as both romantic leading man and respected character actor. Swindell also illuminates the man's personality and character and analyzes his acting technique in various films. Then there is his work for the French during the war years, and his irritation at being dubbed “the great lover” when he simply saw himself as a serious actor. No, he never said “Come with me to the Casbah!” in Algiers. The tragedy of his final days and what happened to him and his family will leave many readers in tears.
Verdict: A superb biography.


Diamantina, aka Gentillylace said...

Have you also read Guy Chassagnard's French-language biography, Charles Boyer: profession -- acteur? It was published in 2008 by Segnat Editions in Figeac (Boyer's hometown). At 167 pages, it's shorter than Swindell's biography and focuses more on the French angle. Chassagnard quotes plentifully from Boyer's letters to his mother (who lived until 1966) and the French press. A nice supplement to the Swindell biography, I think. If you read French, I recommend it: you can buy it at for about $40, including shipping and handling.

William said...

Many thanks for the information about this new biography of Boyer. Sounds like a very interesting book. If it's ever published in English translation I would definitely read it. Best, Bill