Vanessa V. Friedman
April 08, 1994 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Warren Beatty: The Last Great Lover of Hollywood

Current Status
In Season
John Parker
Carroll & Graf
Biography, Movies

We gave it a C

This rather workmanlike biography (unauthorized, of course) of the rather unworkmanlike Warren Beatty (he has made only 19 films, often letting years elapse between screen appearances) is based on the thesis that ”it is possible to visualize (Beatty’s) progression through exactly three decades of economical moviemaking so that the whole set is a portrait of himself.” In other words, Warren Beatty chooses characters, and movies, whose concerns reflect his own. Radical idea. This thesis is also used to explain Beatty’s penchant for falling in love with his costars, either before, during, or after a movie: It is a journey, an evolution, just like his filmmaking. Wow. This thesis also sets up a very handy structure for the book in the form of two alternating and intersecting narratives: movie, love life, movie, love life. Unfortunately, there is no insight into the creative side of the artist, no new and juicy tidbits about ”the last great lover,” nothing, in short, beyond what little the impenetrable Beatty has already provided to assorted other sources. Late in Warren Beatty: The Last Great Lover of Hollywood, Parker writes in a chapter entitled ”Dick and Madonna,”: ”He was like the shadowy figure in a noir movie, emerging and disappearing at will, with no one quite sure where he was, what he was doing or why he was doing it, or with whom.” And guess what? You won’t find these questions answered in Parker’s book. C

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