Nicholas Ray

Nicholas Ray : The Glorious Failure of an American Director

3.87 (54 ratings by Goodreads)
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Award-winningfilm historian Patrick McGilligan follows hisacclaimed biographies of Alfred Hitchcock and Oscar Micheauxwith a revelatory look at the life of Nicholas Ray, the troubled director of Ina Lonely Place, We Can't GoHome Again, and Rebel Without a Cause. McGilligancharts the cerebral struggles, astonishing adventures, and artistic triumphsthat defined Ray's life, including his Hollywood collaborations with HumphreyBogart, Robert Mitchum, James Cagney, and James Dean;his love affairs with Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield, ZsaZsa Gabor, and Gloria Grahame; his partnerships withactivist Abbie Hoffman, pornography starlet MarilynChambers, photographer Wim Wenders;and more. Celebrating, contextualizing, and examining Ray's life and work, McGilligandelivers a milestone of film history and offers a captivating look at one ofclassic cinema's most colorful figures.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 576 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 23mm | 594g
  • It Books
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0060731389
  • 9780060731380
  • 564,233

Back cover copy

Nicholas Ray spent the glory years of his career creating films that were dark, emotionally charged, and haunted by social misfits and bruised young people--from his career-defining debut, They Live by Night, to his enduring masterwork, Rebel Without a Cause, with James Dean; from the noir thriller In a Lonely Place, pairing his wife Gloria Grahame with Humphrey Bogart, to the cult classic Johnny Guitar, a campy showcase for the tempestuous Joan Crawford. Yet his work on-screen is more than matched by the passions and struggles of his personal story--one of the most dramatic lives of any major Hollywood filmmaker.

In Nicholas Ray: The Glorious Failure of an American Director, Patrick McGilligan offers a revelatory biography of Ray, a self-destructive man whose troubled life was marked by creative peaks and valleys alike. From carousing with musicians such as Lead Belly and Woody Guthrie to romancing starlets such as Marilyn Monroe, Shelley Winters, and a teenage Natalie Wood, Ray's story is irresistibly alluring. Meticulous and compulsively readable, this is an extraordinary life of one of the most fascinating figures in American film.
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Review quote

"[A] portrait of a filmmaker who managed over time to upstage the movies that made him celebrated." -- Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel "A clear and balanced portrait of a most complex man." -- Kirkus Reviews (starred review) "[A] fascinating, formidable account of a director whose life was as fraught with complications and melodrama as were his movies....Meticulously researched and gratifying, a biographical page-turner." -- Library Journal (starred review) "McGilligan limns the tragic trajectory of Ray's career with insight and compassion." -- Booklist
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About Patrick McGilligan

Patrick McGilligan is the author of Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light; Fritz Lang: The Nature of the Beast; and George Cukor: A Double Life; and books on the lives of directors Nicholas Ray, Robert Altman, and Oscar Micheaux, and actors James Cagney, Jack Nicholson, and Clint Eastwood. He also edited the acclaimed five-volume Backstory series of interviews with Hollywood screenwriters and (with Paul Buhle), the definitive Tender Comrades: A Backstory of the Hollywood Blacklist. He lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, not far from Kenosha, where Orson Welles was born.
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Rating details

54 ratings
3.87 out of 5 stars
5 13% (7)
4 63% (34)
3 22% (12)
2 2% (1)
1 0% (0)
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