The Unknown Peter Cushing Book Review

cushingunknownThe Unknown Peter Cushing
By Michael G. McGlasson
Published by BearManor Media, 2011.  107 pages.

Could we ever have too many books on this amazingly talented actor, one that wore the title of the Gentleman of Horror with pride?  I don’t think so.  But the problem can be that they can often tread of the same material over and over again.  I mean how different can a biography be if they are all coming from the same facts and information.  But McGlasson has done something quite different here, but not necessarily a good thing.  While the book looks to be about Peter Cushing, a good deal of it is actually about his ancestor’s, particularly the ones that worked in the theater, such as his grandfather Henry William Cushing.  McGlasson seems to have done some extensive research in tracing back Cushing’s linage, going way back to the 1500’s, so for that we give him a lot of credit.  But while this is pretty interesting stuff, only about 30 or so pages in this small book is actually about Peter Cushing himself.

The book does go into some details about his youth, his desire to get into the theater and the hard work he put himself through to do it, as well as meeting up with his future wife Helen.  Once that happens, the book doesn’t really cover much of his work other than mentioning it here and there.  But this book really should be titled differently since it really is a history of Cushing’s relatives and how that may have shaped Peter, or at least transferred the acting bug into him.  While the price is only $14.95, again it seems to be more about his family than the man himself.

But I do have to say that when I was amazed to find out something that I didn’t know about Cushing.  It seems that he was signed on to appear in the film The Black Cat, which would be directed by Lucio Fulci.  I can only imagine what the film would have turned out had Cushing stay on the cast, but he excused himself from the production, probably due to the nasty things being done to the cat in the film.  But in any case, major kudos to McGlasson for bringing that little tidbit to my attention.

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