The Real Life of Laurence Olivier

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December 12, 1997 at 05:00 AM EST

Roger Lewis takes the same intensely convoluted, conjectural approach to Laurence Olivier that he recently took to Peter Sellers, leaping back and forth among plays, movies, and life. The Real Life of Laurence Olivier entangles illuminating criticism with anecdote, digression, and metaphysics in a manic, scattershot manner that sometimes resembles Pauline Kael on amphetamines. But he persuasively shoots down the homosexual rumors (Olivier and Noel Coward or Danny Kaye), dissects the troubled second marriage to Vivien Leigh, and conveys the ferocious energy, supreme confidence, and embattled self-divisions of the greatest actor of the century. A-

The Real Life of Laurence Olivier

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The Real Life of Laurence Olivier

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