Primarily known as a director and his guest starring roles on Television (currently best known for being Dr. Melfiís psychiatrist on HBOís The Sopranos) Peter Bogdanovich culls from his lifetime of experience to deliver Who The Hellís In It.
Weighing in at a hefty five hundred and forty four pages, Bogdanovichís book is essentially a tome on the legends of Hollywood through the skewed prism of his perception. You could make a convincing argument that there is a bit too much Bogdanovich in the essays, but thatís to be expected; everyone has some ego.
Though rich in history, the book is uneven in that some essays are disappointingly short and some far too long. Though I didnít grow up watching Jerry Lewis in his heyday, I do know who is from his movies (both modern and classic), not to mention his telethon. But I didnít need a seventy-four-page chapter on the man. Heís a legend Ė yes, but it was still too long. Others like Montgomery Clift (five pages), Lillian Gish (five pages), and James Cagney (nine pages) get a quick glossing over. Bogdanovich also dishes it out on: Stella Adler, Humphrey Bogart, Marlon Brando, John Cassavetes, Charlie Chaplin, Marlene Dietrich, Henry Fonda, Ben Gazzara, Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, Jack Lemmon, Dean Martin, Sal Mineo, Marilyn Monroe, Anthony Perkins, Sidney Poitier, Frank Sinatra, James Stewart, John Wayne, and my two personal favorites, River Phoenix and Boris Karloff.
Even with the bookís flaws, itís still a good read on Hollywood lore of yesteryear (minus River Phoenix, who died far too young of a drug overdose in 1993 in front of Johnny Deppís Viper Room). Those old enough to remember these legends in their prime will enjoy the trip down memory lane. For younger fans wanting to know more on the golden era of Hollywood, Who The Hellís In It will be a fairly good place to start.