'A uniquely charming and enticing journey through a remarkable life. Coward's own record is made all the more delightful by the wise and helpful interpolations of Barry Day, the soundest authority on the Master that there is.' Stephen Fry 'Precise, witty, remarkably observed and gloriously English' Dame Judi Dench 'Barry Day's analysis is both ...
'A uniquely charming and enticing journey through a remarkable life. Coward's own record is made all the more delightful by the wise and helpful interpolations of Barry Day, the soundest authority on the Master that there is.' Stephen Fry 'Precise, witty, remarkably observed and gloriously English' Dame Judi Dench 'Barry Day's analysis is both perceptive and irresistible' Lord Richard Attenborough With virtually all the letters in this volume previously unpublished - this is a revealing new insight into the private life of a legendary figure. Coward's multi-faceted talent as an actor, writer, composer, producer and even as a war-time spy(!), brought him into close contact with the great, the good and the merely ambitious in film, literature and politics.With letters to and from the likes of: George Bernard Shaw, Virginia Woolf, Winston Churchill, Greta Garbo (she wrote asking him to marry her), Marlene Dietriech, Ian Fleming, Graham Greene, Evelyn Waugh, Fred Astaire, Charlie Chaplin, FD Roosevelt, the Queen Mother and many more, the picture that emerges is a series of vivid sketches of Noel Coward's private relationships, and a re-examination of the man himself. Deliciously insightful, witty, perfectly bitchy, wise, loving and often surprisingly moving, this extraordinary collection gives us Coward at his crackling best. A sublime portrait of a unique artist who made an indelible mark on the 20th century, from the Blitz to the Ritz and beyond.
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Publishers Weekly, 2007-09-24 Writers labor to come up with lines half as good as those Noel Coward dropped into the mailbox every day-"I felt that some sort of scene was necessary to celebrate my first entrance into America, so I said, `Little lamb, who made thee,' to a customs official." The playwright, actor and songwriter is in fine form in these missives, telegrams and poems (he would rhyme almost anything, even communications to his business manager), presented along with return mail from friends and luminaries. Day (Coward on Film: The Cinema of Noel Coward) arranges the well-chosen selections in roughly chronological order with some unobtrusive narrative context; at times he spotlights a lifelong correspondence with a single person to flesh out Coward's relationships, such as with Gertrude Lawrence. Coward's voice is charming, whimsical, sharp-eyed and canny, often alternating, in the showbiz way, between effusive warmth (letter to Tallulah Bankhead: "Thank you very much, darling, for all your sweetness and your insane generosity") and cutting putdown (letter about Tallulah Bankhead: "a conceited slut"). A true intellectual of the stage, his comments on the nitty-gritty of writing, pacing, character and acting technique are incisive. Fans of Coward's plays and students of 20th-century theater will be fascinated, but casual readers will also find an entertaining browse. Photos. (Nov. 16) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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