MONTGOMERY CLIFT: A Biography by Patricia Bosworth
Kirkus Star


Email this review


Compared to Robert LaGuardia's execrable and irresponsible Monty (1976), Bosworth's thorough, impassive, and modestly literate telling of actor Clift's rise (Broadway, Hollywood) and fall (booze, pills, unemployment, disfigurement) seems a model of good taste. She does not, as LaGuardia did, play amateur psychoanalyst (though she provides enough raw data for diverse speculations) or wallow in screen-mag sensationalism. She does not trade in gossip or point accusing fingers (though John Huston inevitably turns up as a tormenting villain on the set of Freud). What's more, her vast gathering of testimony shows LaGuardia's ""research"" to have been pathetic: here Monty's rather wild brother and late, smothering mother, as well as a wide circle of famous friends and colleagues, speak variously and vividly--not just of Monty's erratic behavior and bisexual traumas (""I love men in bed but I really love women"") but of his mythlike ancestry, his gypsy childhood, his wit and erudition, and, above all, his doomed labors as a painstakingly serious actor in a commercial entertainment-world. Still, even though Bosworth demonstrates enough stage-and-film savvy to establish ClifFs credentials as a craftsman and maverick, this quietly sympathetic biography must ultimately depend on its titillating revelations and its stardust (Liz, Marilyn, et al.) to sustain its length; no one will write a better life of Montgomery Clift--no one should bother.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1978
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich