Blessings in Disguise
A consummate actor for the past fifty years on stage, screen, and television, Alec Guinness has been a self-effacing person who has shunned publicity and whose scandal-free private life has provided no grist for the tabloids. In his memoirs, Guinness finally removes the makeup and appears in his own person. The fact that he is as good a writer as an actor should be no surprise, for he adapted GREAT EXPECTATIONS and THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV for the stage and won an Oscar nomination for his screenplay for THE HORSE’S MOUTH. After a decade on stage, marked by such highlights as playing Hamlet and acting the Fool to Laurence Olivier’s Lear, Guinness made his film debut in GREAT EXPECTATIONS (1946) and went on to win two Oscars (one for best actor, the second a special award for his entire career) and a knighthood. Yet his beginnings were difficult. Born in 1914, Guinness was illegitimate and found his boyhood to be total immersion in confusion. But if he was “pursued by his infantile demons,” he also had many good angels, and much of the book is a tribute to them.
BLESSINGS IN DISGUISE is not so much an autobiographical narrative as a series of sketches, loosely chronological, focusing on those good angels, with Guinness casting himself in a supporting role. They include Sybil Thorndike and Lewis Casson, Martita Hunt, John Gielgud, Tyrone Guthrie, Edith Sitwell, Edith Evans, Ralph Richardson, and a number of lesser-known individuals, mostly theatrical....
(The entire section is 378 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of Blessings in Disguise Critical Essays. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!