LIFE ON THE WIRE by Andrew Yule


The Life and Art of Al Pacino
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 Above-average celebio, showing extra research, by the author of Fast Fade (1988). Pacino is a rich subject, both as man and actor. Yule does fairly well on the acting, though one wants even more than is given. Pacino's private life--for which there was some secondhand input from Pacino through other interviewees--is well done, but Yule draws back from getting into Pacino's long love affairs with Jill Clayburgh, Tuesday Weld, Kathleen Quinlan, and Diane Keaton, about which Pacino and friends are closemouthed. Most amusing is Pacino's rivalry from Off-Broadway to Hollywood with fellow short- person Dustin Hoffman, which climaxed when they were approached by a fan in Rizzoli's bookstore and passed themselves off as each other. Pacino was raised in the Bronx by his grandparents, his mother having left him when he was three. This seems to be the reason he has never married: His memories of his mother are strong and warm, and he apparently doesn't want to be left behind again by a woman. Pacino was also something of a child prodigy as an actor, would memorize and act out movies before he could read, was called ``The Actor'' throughout his school years. As Yule shows, he had a fabulous gift for comedy but fell into roles as a psychotic and never got the full release of his comedic talent until his role as Big Boy Caprice, which stole Dick Tracy and won him the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor--while his third take on Michael Corleone, in Godfather III, failed to win even a nomination. Pacino's poor choices in material, Yule explains, come about when he parts from producer Martin Bregman, and his trials with Shakespeare have been unsuccessful stretches. Some pictures, damned on opening (Scarface among them), have later returned as classics when stripped of hype. Well done but not as memorable as Fast Fade, with Pacino emerging as admirable. (Photos--not seen.)

Pub Date: Oct. 31st, 1991
ISBN: 1-55611-274-2
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Donald Fine
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1991


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