This collection of 25 profiles of famous actors would have been better had it been shorter. Across the 528 pages of Who the Hell’s in It, Peter Bogdanovich, the journalist turned film director turned journalist again, spends too much time in old-world idolatry. He refers incessantly and uncritically to the “golden age” of Hollywood, and he mars a great many of these remembrances with excessive sentiment, with a need to reassure the reader or, more likely, to reassure himself.
In an otherwise ho-hum essay on Dean Martin, Bogdanovich leads with this unassailable truth: ” . . . [W]hat gets to you as you age is eternally about who and what you grew up with. You ache not just for the performers’ past, but for your own.” That ache is the author’s real subject, here presented under 25 different names.
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