BULLS, BALLS, BICYCLES AND ACTORS by Charles Bickford

BULLS, BALLS, BICYCLES AND ACTORS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Charles Bickford's ups and downs on the straw-hat circuit, in vaudeville, on Broadway and as a screen actor have been penned by hand and reveal his bull-headed Irish talent for non-conformity. The accent is on brawling vitality from his Massachusetts childhood to his present eminence at 75. Bickford is probably best-known for his fiery role opposite Garbo in Anna Christie, a film he did not want to make because it was a woman's picture. At this distance, Bickford understandably glosses his early years on the road, and then brings a romantic Gable-Tracy boom-town immediacy to Jobs he held with his best friend...raunchy days selling exterminator fluid, harvesting wheat and bumming the rails. Still, he found his metier at 21 and had a considerable acting background (Laertes in Hamlet, Tybalt in Romeo, and a hundred schlock plays) before he hit Broadway. His first big hit was in a Maxwell Anderson play about hobos. He hit Hollywood like a meteor, was starred in a huge C. B. DeMille epic, followed this with Garbo, then was pushed into trashy scripts because he had offended studio heads. Since then he has had rare starring roles as a fine character actor before he gave up acting in dime-store flicks. Bickford's writing is not without non-book banality and Hollywood posturing; but there is also a fine honest anger which shows through his embarrassment at holding a pen. The title might be retranslated Anger, Manhood, the Stage and Craftsmen.

Pub Date: Oct. 27th, 1965
Publisher: Paul S. Eriksson, Inc.