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

Thursday, June 12, 2014


HOLLYWOOD ENIGMA: DANA ANDREWS. Carl Rollyson. University Press of Mississippi; 2012.

While perhaps not in the top tier of movie stars, Dana Andrews did have a long, successful career and starred in a great many movies, the most famous of which is probably Laura. Due to what Rollyson describes as a "minimalist" acting style, Andrews could at times be unfairly seen as a Great Stone Face, although some of his performances belie that impression; he got his characters' feelings across with less showy effects. Andrews' big problem was alcoholism, which began to affect his life and his work as the years went by, until he got on the wagon and went public with his affliction in a public service TV spot against drunk driving -- certainly an act of courage. Andrews was no great fan of the phony Hollywood lifestyle, and avoided such rockbound Republicans as Wayne and Heston. Written with the cooperation of Andrews' family -- much of the info on his early life comes from a series of letters, perhaps related in a little too much detail -- the negative elements of his life are mentioned if downplayed. Basically this is a solid look at the actor's life and times. Some of Andrews' most memorable films and performances include Boomerang, Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, and an episode of the TV series Checkmate

Verdict: Compelling bio of an interesting man and performer. ***1/2.  

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