PETER FINCH by Trader Faulkner

PETER FINCH

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Despite his tear-jerkingly posthumous Oscar for Network, Finch was never the e sort of star presence in the U.S. that he almost was in Britain and Australia. So not too many filmgoers will be interested in his story for its own sake, which Faulkner--a fellow actor and one of ""Finchie's"" younger cronies--recounts here with the emphasis on anecdotes, film-by-film rundowns, and quotes from showbiz colleagues, as well as from Finch himself. (""I have tried to weave personal experiences of the Finchie I knew."") There may indeed be a psychological, tragic tale in Finch's stormy personal life--arguable parentage, neglectful mum, Australian bohemianism, drinking, wenching, and wives--but Faulkner hasn't managed to capture it. Nor does he make a compelling drama of Finch's perhaps-wasted career: rise from vaudeville to become Australia's leading young radio and stage actor, co-founder of his own repertory company, but--once in England--lured into an up-and-down film career that apparently destroyed his stage talent (there was a semi-disastrous comeback in The Seagull in 1964). Among Finch's affairs, however, was the tortured one with pathologically acquisitive Vivien Leigh, wife of Finch's generous mentor Laurence Olivier--and there's morbid fascination in yet another angle on marvelous, sick Vivien, along with a rare few glimpses of the private Olivier and a brief taste of lovers'--triangle gossip at its spiciest (""Will one of you come to bed with me now?""). Otherwise--a literate but routine star-bioby-a-friend, for Finch fans only.

Pub Date: Oct. 17th, 1979
Publisher: Taplinger