Books

Books about or relating to Oliver Reed.

 
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Title: What Fresh Lunacy Is This?
The Authorised Biography of Oliver Reed
Author: Robert Sellers
Published by: Constable
Date: 13 June 2013
ISBN-10: 147210112X
ISBN-13: 978-1472101129
 
Synopsis:

Oliver Reed may not have been Britain's biggest film star - for a period in the early 70s he came within a hairsbreadth of replacing Sean Connery as James Bond - but he is an august member of that small band of people, like George Best and Eric Morecambe, who transcended their chosen medium, became too big for it even, and grew into cultural icons.

For the first time Reed's close family has agreed to collaborate on a project about the man himself. The result is a fascinating new insight into a man seen by many as merely a brawling, boozing hellraiser.

And yet he was so much more than this. For behind that image, which all too often he played up to in public, was a vastly complex individual, a man of deep passions and loyalty but also deep-rooted vulnerability and insecurities. Why was a proud, patriotic, intelligent, successful and erudite man so obsessed about proving himself to others, time and time again?

Although the Reed myth is of Homeric proportions, he remains a national treasure and somewhat peculiar icon.

 
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Title: REED ALL ABOUT ME
Author: Autobiography
Published by: W. H. Allen & Co.
Date: 1979
ISBN-10: 0491020392
ISBN-13: 978-0491020398
 
Synopsis:
Out of step, out of time, Oliver Reed rollicks the world's headlines as a hell-raising chauvinist who doesn't give a damn. 'Thank God,' said an awed Russell Harty on TV, 'there are people like you through whom we can live vicariously.'

Now, in Reed All About Me, the man who does it his way tells it his way in a delightfully funny autobiography that is happily free of the usual show-business genuflexions.

From the marvellous opening line - 'My father found me through a ration book' - every page is a surprising revelation. His granny May gave his grandfather, Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree, six love children - including Sir Carol Reed - and gave Oliver a direct bastard descendance from Peter the Great.

But he ignored family influence, ran away from home, and made it to the top as an international film star with successes such as Women in Love and The Devils.

Oliver Reed bows to no man, only to the ladies. And he writes about them with devastating charm: 'I never cease to be fascinated by naked women or by a new kiss, a new romance or a new flirtation,' he says. 'But I don't have many women as platonic friends. I prefer my relationships to be far more direct than that.'

Read about how Oliver clashed with Bette Davis; the night Shelley Winters poured a bottle of whisky over his head on a TV show; the antics which resulted in him being barred from the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Hollywood; and how he took away Lee Marvin's drinking cloak.

What more can we Billy Walter Mitty Liars ask of a true man other than true grit and a delicious sense of the absurd.
 
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Title: EVIL SPIRITS: THE LIFE OF OLIVER REED
Author: Cliff Goodwin
Published by: Virgin
Date: 2000
ISBN-10: 1852278846
ISBN-13: 978-1852278847
 
Synopsis:
'I'm the biggest star this country has got,' Oliver Reed once claimed. 'Destroy me and you destroy the whole British film industry.'

But Oliver Reed did not need anyone to destroy him as, in May 1999, after a forty-year acting career which included 100 films, he succeeded in destroying himself. He died, as he had invariably lived, drinking with friends while making yet another film.

Born in Wimbledon, London, Reed rose to international stardom with his powerful performance as Bill Sykes in the 1968 musical Oliver! He was seen as one of the brightest prospects of the British film industry and, by the late 60s, he was Britain's highest-paid star. However, his later career became overshadowed by his reputation for drunken behaviour.

Reed's career was full of characteristic firsts: in 1969 he starred in Women in Love, the first English-speaking commercial film to feature full-frontal male nudity; in 1967 he starred in I'll Never Forget What's 'Is Name, the first film to feature the word 'f**k'; and in 1972 he starred in Sitting Target, the first British film to receive an X rating purely for its violent content.

Throughout his eventful and colourful career, Reed worked with some of the most famous names in the film industry from Bette Davis to Raquel Welch. His opinions were expressed bluntly, his exploits are legendary, but bestselling author Cliff Goodwin also explores the other side to this complex character.

Unique, compelling and insightful, Evil Spirits contains material from first-hand interviews with Reed's family, friends and colleagues, and features never-before-seen photographs from the family album. This is the fascinating story of one of the UK's most infamous stars.
 
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Title: OLIVER REED: TEN TOP MOVIES
Author: Andy Black
Published by: The Glitterbooks Of London
Date: 1999
ISBN-10: 1902588061
ISBN: 978-1902588063
 
Synopsis:
A TRIBUTE TO OLIVER REED

Glitter Books presents a collection of illustrated essays on ten top movies featuring the late Oliver Reed, one of England's most famous film stars - and hell-raisers. The book is a tribute to both Reed's acting skills and visual appeal, and also to his status as a celebrity on the global drinking circuit.

Films featured include The Devils,The Brood, Women In Love, Curse Of The Werewolf, Castaway, Sitting Target, The Damned, The Shuttered Room, Blue Blood, and I'll Never Forget Whatsisname; a selection of diverse movies by acclaimed directors such as Nic Roeg, David Cronenberg, Joesph Losey, Ken Russell, Michael Winner, and Terence Fisher.

With an introduction detailing Reed's antics both onscreen and off, Oliver Reed: Ten Top Movies is an indispensable asset for all his admirers, a guide to the varied career and riotous life of a modern-day hero.
 
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Title: THE FILMS OF OLIVER REED
Author: Susan d'Arcy
Published by: Barnden Castell Williams
Date: 1974
ISBN-10: 0904159116
ISBN-13: 978-0904159110
 
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Title: HELLRAISERS
The Life and Inebriated Times of Richard Burton, Richard Harris,
Peter O'Toole and Oliver Reed
Author: Robert Sellers
Published by: Preface
Date: 2008
ISBN-10: 1848090188
ISBN-13: 978-1848090187
 
Synopsis:
Hellraisers is the story of four of the greatest boozers that ever walked - or staggered - into a pub; Richard Burton, Richard Harris, Peter O'Toole and Oliver Reed. It's a story of drunken binges of near biblical proportions, parties and orgies, broken marriages, riots and wanton sexual conquests. Indeed acts so outrageous that if you or I had perpetrated them we could have ended up in jail. They got away with the kind of behaviour that today's vapid bunch of film stars could scarcely dream of, because of their mercurial acting talent and because the press and public loved them. They were truly the last of a breed, the last of the movie hellraisers.

Hellraisers traces the intertwining lives and careers or Burton, Harris, O'Toole and Reed, plus an assortment of other movies boozers that crossed their path, or should that be crawled across their path. It's a celebratory catalogue of their miscreant deeds, a greatest hits package, as it were, of their most breathtakingly outrageous behaviour, told with humour and affection, lashings of political incorrectness and not an ounce of moralising.

Enjoy it. They bloody well did.
 
 
Also see:
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Title: An A-Z of Hellraisers:
A Comprehensive Compendium of Outrageous Insobriety
Author: Robert Sellers
Published by: Preface
Date: May 2010
ISBN-10: 184809244X
ISBN-13: 978-1848092440
 
Synopsis:
An A-Z of Hellraisers is the last word on inebriated misbehaviour, and the miscreant mob in this whopper of a book constitute the most amazing grouping to see print, from Alexander the Great, whose drunken revelries once ended with the destruction of an entire city, to W. C. Fields, who passed critical judgement on a brass band by urinating over them from a hotel balcony, Dylan Thomas, who drove a sports car onto Charlie Chaplin's private tennis court, to Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham, suffocating on his own vomit after consuming forty measures of vodka - what a night out that was! This hilarious volume makes for an ideal bedside companion, or pub reading fodder, as it scrutinises and salutes these glorious individuals from Winston Churchill to Keith Moon, George Best to Ernest Hemingway, Wild Bill Hickok to Sam Peckinpah, Ozzy Osbourne to Errol Flynn. Just thank God we didn't have to live next door to any of them.
 
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Title: The Films Of Oliver Reed
Author: Susan D. Cowie, Tom Johnson
Published by: McFarland & Co Inc
Date: October 2011
ISBN-10: 0786439068
ISBN-13: 978-0786439065
 
Synopsis:

From the obscure 1958 Sonja Henie vehicle Hello London to the 2000 Academy Award winner Gladiator, the screen career of dynamic British actor Oliver Reed (1937-1999) is thoroughly documented in this illustrated filmography. Following a concise capsule biography, the authors chronologically list all 96 of Reed's films, among them The Curse of the Werewolf, Oliver!, The Devils, The Three Musketeers and Tommy. Each entry contains extensive cast and production credits, a synopsis, critical commentary and contemporary reviews.

Included are forewords by actors Sir Christopher Lee and Ron Moody, and an afterword by Oliver Reed's frequent director Michael Winner. Additional comments by Reed's friends and coworkers Janette Scott, Catherine Feller, William Hobbs, Jennie Linden, Jimmy Sangster and Samantha Eggar provide fascinating and insightful offscreen glimpses of a major cinema icon.


To view a message from co-author Susan D. Cowie, click here

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