Skip to content

Oliver Reed: What Fresh Lunacy Is This? by Robert Sellers

oliver-reed-biography-bookcover

I’ve been aware of Oliver Reed since my earliest memories of researching movies. This probably stems from going to the library and trying to learn more about the horror films I had yet to see and coming across photos of him in The Curse of the Werewolf from Hammer Films. That put him on my radar. Then came the late night movies including The Three Musketeers and Crossed Swords. That confirmed it. I need to see more movies with this solid, intimidating force. Looking back I think the first autobiography I read was his while I was still in high school titled Reed All About Me. Still have the pocket novel edition.

Like many I am all too aware of Reed’s off set exploits and fall from grace in the film world. This recent book from writer Robert Sellers does a wonderful job at allowing us to see both the gentle side and the self destructive one in Ollie’s character. I was never bored with this biography which isn’t always the case. It’s so easy to focus on the drunken tales and there are plenty here. Despite the fact that when you stop and think about them, they are kind of sad yet I still laughed at many of them. Some are just so ridiculous it’s hard not to. I mean who wouldn’t have wanted to see him tangle on set with Klaus Kinski. Needling at him when they filmed the thriller Venom. Admittedly from a safe distance.

venom3

On the flip side the book is well researched and it’s a wonderful tribute that so many of those who knew and worked with him have many fond memories of a gentle man who was nothing short of professional on set. The book was written with the cooperation of many family members as well as actors and filmmakers he worked with who offer up their recollections of working with the well known hell raiser.

Despite all the bizarre self destructive stories it’s refreshing to know that the author still tells of the sober times and how Oliver liked his quiet moments in the gardens, his pets and his love of Broome Hall. Then there was the patriotic Oliver who for years refused to abandon his homeland. It seemed that once you were a friend and admitted to his inner circle there was nothing Oliver wouldn’t do for you.

Nice quote in the book from his daughter Sarah. “He never really grew up. He was the Peter Pan of hell raisers.”

For film fans the book also serves as a window to many of the top productions that Reed worked on and his famous associations with both Michael Winner and Ken Russell.

Oliver-Reed-Gladiator

Despite his slumming in films far beneath him towards the end it’s nice to know he left us with both a winning film in Gladiator worthy of his talents and to a certain extent on his own shield. In a pub after a few pints.

When Gladiator came out in  2000 my only reason for going at the time was because it had both Reed and fellow retired hell raiser Richard Harris. Had Reed straightened up and gotten himself back into the A budget lists who knows? He may have wound up in the LOTR series or found a place amongst the Harry Potter cast. Surely he would have fit right in somewhere.

No matter what the film or real life story, to me Oliver Reed was never boring.

2 Comments »

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

"DESTROY ALL FANBOYS!"

Smashing System Bias Since 1972...

Movies ala Mark

With a Cast of Thousands

Classic Horrors

From silent screen to Halloween, and everything scary in between.

Just Hit Play

The Good, the Bad and sometimes Ugly in film

Strother Martin Film Project

What we've got here is failure to communicate

Sophia Riley Kobacker

it's all about the story, possums...

Wolfmans Cult Film

Cult, B-Movies, cheesy fun films to Film Noir to classics new to me.

Talking Pulp

All things pulp and then some

cinema cities

a personal odyssey through film

Mark David Welsh

Watching the strangest movies - so you don't have to...

Scenes from the Morgue

The Lost Art of Pulp Ads: Film, Booze, Smokes & More!

Film Speech

All things film and television

Diary of A Movie Maniac

A Personal Journey Through Cinema & Television

portraitsbyjenni

My perspective on life & Classic Movie Recommendations

Statis Pro 1978 Replay

Methodically replaying every game of the 1978 baseball season!

4 Star Films

Looking Deeper at The Best Classic Movies

everythingnoir

Movies, Television, Books....Everything Noir

Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd film locations (and more)

by John Bengtson "the great detective of silent film locations" New York Times

Sister Celluloid

Where old movies go to live

Silent-ology

Uncovering the silent era

The Canadian Cinephile

“Film lovers are sick people.” ― François Truffaut

Noirish

The annex to John Grant's *A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Film Noir*

Cinema Monolith

Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.

Sunset Boulevard

Writings of a Cinephile

The Bogie Film Blog

A Film by Film Affair with Humphrey Bogart

Vienna's Classic Hollywood

Vintage Hollywood films and stars

The Film Authority

You're ten seconds from watching an amazing film...

Once upon a screen...

...a classic film and TV blog

shadowsandsatin

. . where the worlds of film noir and pre-code collide . .

Alfred Hitchcock Master

Where Suspense Lives!

Tipping My Fedora

Enjoying mystery, crime and suspense in all media

Silver Screenings

Ruth's Old Movie Reviews

monsterminions

They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To

Comet Over Hollywood

Home for classic movie lovers

filmgeek101

classic movie views for the classic and not-so-classic movie fan

Riding the High Country

Reviews and ramblings

Speakeasy

movies galore

"DESTROY ALL FANBOYS!"

Smashing System Bias Since 1972...

Movies ala Mark

With a Cast of Thousands

Classic Horrors

From silent screen to Halloween, and everything scary in between.

Just Hit Play

The Good, the Bad and sometimes Ugly in film

Strother Martin Film Project

What we've got here is failure to communicate

Sophia Riley Kobacker

it's all about the story, possums...

Wolfmans Cult Film

Cult, B-Movies, cheesy fun films to Film Noir to classics new to me.

Talking Pulp

All things pulp and then some

cinema cities

a personal odyssey through film

Mark David Welsh

Watching the strangest movies - so you don't have to...

Scenes from the Morgue

The Lost Art of Pulp Ads: Film, Booze, Smokes & More!

Film Speech

All things film and television

Diary of A Movie Maniac

A Personal Journey Through Cinema & Television

portraitsbyjenni

My perspective on life & Classic Movie Recommendations

Statis Pro 1978 Replay

Methodically replaying every game of the 1978 baseball season!

4 Star Films

Looking Deeper at The Best Classic Movies

everythingnoir

Movies, Television, Books....Everything Noir

Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd film locations (and more)

by John Bengtson "the great detective of silent film locations" New York Times

Sister Celluloid

Where old movies go to live

Silent-ology

Uncovering the silent era

The Canadian Cinephile

“Film lovers are sick people.” ― François Truffaut

Noirish

The annex to John Grant's *A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Film Noir*

Cinema Monolith

Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.

Sunset Boulevard

Writings of a Cinephile

The Bogie Film Blog

A Film by Film Affair with Humphrey Bogart

Vienna's Classic Hollywood

Vintage Hollywood films and stars

The Film Authority

You're ten seconds from watching an amazing film...

Once upon a screen...

...a classic film and TV blog

shadowsandsatin

. . where the worlds of film noir and pre-code collide . .

Alfred Hitchcock Master

Where Suspense Lives!

Tipping My Fedora

Enjoying mystery, crime and suspense in all media

Silver Screenings

Ruth's Old Movie Reviews

monsterminions

They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To

Comet Over Hollywood

Home for classic movie lovers

filmgeek101

classic movie views for the classic and not-so-classic movie fan

Riding the High Country

Reviews and ramblings

Speakeasy

movies galore

%d bloggers like this: