I understand from the back of the book that people appear to find George Sanders “personable” and the alleged humor in the book is described as “wit.” I personally found neither of this to be true and was reminded of Errol Flynn’s memoir (My Wicked, Wicked Ways). However, while Flynn is an evil person and a child rapist, Sanders is more of a 1950s garden variety irritating racist and sexist.
This book, purporting to be his memoirs, very loosely follows his life and is more of a collection of his thoughts and experiences on a few movie sets, during which he complains the whole time. He says that he is a very lazy person, which seems to be true given how much he enjoys lazing about and not working. The most enjoyable part of the book is the beginning, where he talks a little about his childhood in Russia and his family having to escape the Revolution. I wish he had gone into more detail there, but he had to drive forward into descriptions about how much he manipulates and dislikes women for some unknown reason. I understand that a lot of this was supposed to be read ironically, but I didn’t find it funny or ironic. It was grating and upsetting. I will never find this sort of “joke” amusing:
“Tearing off a women’s clothes, or beating her into insensibility the first time you take her out to dinner is not generally speaking to be recommended as a form of initial approach, although it is rather frequently employed and very highly spoken of by some well-known bachelors…”
Ha ha ha is I guess supposed to be my response, but I am never going to laugh at physical violence and rape. The “joke” doesn’t even come off as a joke! He is telling us that this stuff actually happens but it’s supposed to be funny somehow?? Ugh.
When I started reading this, I was going to give it three stars because he is a good writer and there are some interesting Hollywood tidbits in here, but then I got to the chapters about women and his trip to Japan, and his gross opinions bump it down to two stars. Honestly, I should give it one, but the chapter about the Russian Revolution was interesting. Also, one of my special interests is Barbara Hutton and Sanders crossed paths with Rubirosa (Barbara Hutton’s fifth husband), so I enjoyed that coincidence.
Warnings for: sexism, racism (mainly against Japanese people), Sanders saying women should be beaten and raped.