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Book Title: Elia Kazan: A Life|
The author of the book: Elia Kazan
ISBN 13: 9780394559537
Date of issue: April 12th 1988
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 986 KB
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Loaded: 1967 times
Reader ratings: 6.1
Read full description of the books:
Let me start by saying two things: first, that Elia Kazan is a terrible human being. And second, this is an amazing book. Those may sound contradictory. They're not.
Kazan, who is best known either as director of films like On the Waterfront, or as one of the few who actually named names during the Communist witch hunt before the House, is indeed a terrible person. But what a life this guy led!
Starting before the great depression and going right up the 1980s, Kazan led this amazing life in theater and film. Along the way he was friends with some of the most amazing literary figures of the 20th century (Arthur Miller! Tennesee Williams! John Steinbeck!) and had torrid affairs with actresses, some of whom he chooses to name (Marilyn Monroe!).
What makes him such a terrible person is that he's utterly oblivious to how his actions affect other people. He goes to extremes as he justifies affair after affair, completely ignores his many children, and the way he literally ruined lives by naming names. He chalks all of this up to either his Anatolian heritage (he frequently uses this as an excuse for why his marriages all fell apart) or simply in the name of self-discovery. As you read this book, you'll quickly realize that if he starts to talk about needing to "be true to himself" he's about to do something absolutely despicable.
Some examples: he spends decades ignoring and betraying his wife, disparaging her own artistic pursuits, only to declare after her death how she wasted her talent. He excoriates Marilyn Monroe for "betraying" Arthur Miller, while at the same time doing the same thing to his own wife - not to mention his claim to have slept with Marilyn the very night she got engaged to Joe DiMaggio!
The fact that Kazan is the villain of his own autobiography makes this an incredible, unforgettable book. This is less like a Hollywood tell-all than it is a great book about a fascinating person.
He does congeal into something resembling a human being at the end. The final chapter, devoted to the deaths of his second wife (at this point less a spouse and more a close friend) and five close friends, is truly touching. And at the age of 72, he meets and marries his third and final wife, who he says he's faithful to. But what a journey it took to get him to that point.
Kazan sums up this book (and his life) extremely well in the end: "I’ve had one hell of a life, and I will go down, when I go down, satisfied."
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Read information about the authorElia Kazan was an award-winning film and theatre director, film and theatrical producer, screenwriter, novelist and co-founder of the influential Actors Studio in New York in 1947. Kazan was a three-time Academy Award winner, a five-time Tony Award winner, a four-time Golden Globes winner, as well as a recipient of numerous awards and nominations in other prestigious festivals as the Cannes Film Festival and the Venice Film Festival.
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