By Frank Langella
Rita Hayworth dancing via candlelight in a small Mexican village; Elizabeth Taylor devouring do-it-yourself pasta and tenderly wrapping him in her pashmina shawl; streaking for Sir Laurence Olivier in a drafty English fortress; terrifying a snoozing Jackie Onassis; wearing an subconscious Montgomery Clift to protection on a gloomy big apple urban street.
Captured endlessly in a distinct memoir, Frank Langella's myriad encounters with many of the earlier century's most renowned humans are profoundly affecting, humorous, depraved, occasionally surprising, and totally impossible to resist. With sharp wit and a perceptive eye, Mr. Langella takes us with him into the personal worlds and privileged lives of motion picture stars, presidents, royalty, literary lions, the social elite, and the greats of the Broadway stage.
What, for example, was once Jack Kennedy doing on that espresso desk? Why did the Queen mom want Mr. Langella's aid? while was once Paul Mellon going to pay him debts? How did Brooke Astor lose her virginity? Why used to be Robert Mitchum making a song Gilbert & Sullivan patter songs at most sensible quantity, and what did Marilyn Monroe say to him that helped swap the process his life?
Through those shared reports, we research whatever, too, of Mr. Langella's own trip from the age of fifteen to the current day.
Dropped Names is, like its matters, riveting and unforgettable.
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Not being able to get my due as a political hero? That was going to be hard. Very hard. So why did I say yes? I can't give a clear and rational answer, something definitive. How much was youthful impulse, bravado? How much a feeling of a moral responsibility to society? How much because I was Jewish? These reasons were there, and much more. There were so many factors that, as I think back to more than a half century ago, the best that I can do is to tell a little about the world in which I lived, about who I was, and about my dreams.
I nodded my head once again. While I nodded my head like a good soldier, inside I was thinking: Not getting drunk wouldn't be easy but not too hard. Not being political could be done without stress. Keeping my folks out of it would be no problem, especially my Dad. But not telling anyone? Not sharing this momentous news with my closest friends? My girlfriend? That seemed almost impossible. A cloak and dagger routine would be fun. I could see myself as the mysterious political soldier. But not telling anyone?
Opposition to war held considerable attraction for me, because of the stories out of World War I that told of the pointless cruelty war brought to civilians, the introduction of poisonous gas, and the mass tragedy that that war had created. This blood-stained history from two decades earlier was being kept alive by motion pictures and novels. Many of my friends were active in one or both movements, but their arguments against war often sounded much the same. If our country were bombed or invaded, for instance, I could not conceive of taking a pacifist stance, of not fighting, for example, against an urgent, direct threat of fascism.