Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Review: ‘The Unknown Peter Cushing’

The Unknown Peter Cushing is a pile of research in search of a book. Frustrated by the failure of other biographies to discuss Cushing’s grandfather’s stage career, author Michael G. McGlasson performed a pretty impressive archival dig to illuminate this aspect of the Hammer-Horror star’s ancestry. McGlasson understands that fans of Cushing’s monster movies are the most likely to check out his book, so he gives us some interesting tidbits about how Grandfather Henry rubbed elbows with Bram Stoker and played Wagner in Faust. When the author switches focus from Henry Cushing to Peter half-way through his book, he seems to do the very thing he criticizes about other Cushing books in his pompous introductory chapter by regurgitating available information. Indeed that introduction leaves a bad taste in the reader’s mouth as the author checks off other books by name, dismissing them as “scant,” “heavy with redundancies,” and “ponderous.” It’s never a good idea to begin your book by criticizing the work of others, especially when yours is as ponderously written as the scant, 85-page Unknown Peter Cushing. Cushing completists who will not be satisfied until they explore absolutely every crevice of the actor’s history will probably want to add McGlasson’s book to their collection. Everyone else would probably do better to check out one of the books he dismisses in his introduction, or better yet, Cushing’s own An Autobiography and Past Forgetting, which McGlasson quotes heavily in his totally non-redundant book.

Get The Unknown Peter Cushing at Amazon.com here.
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