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By James Whittington, Tuesday 17th September 2013
The Peter Cushing Scrapbook
Only available from www.peverilpublishing.co.uk
Over the years there have been many books that have looked at the life and career of everyone’s favourite actor, Peter Cushing. None however can even come close to The Peter Cushing Scrapbook, a unique and beautiful release from Peveril Publishing.
Running at 328 pages with a foreword by George Lucas and afterword by Janina Faye, it contains so much from Cushing’s life that you feel closer to him in some strange way. Written with affection and thought by Wayne Kinsey and Tom Johnson with Joyce Broughton (Cushing’s secretary and aide for over 35 years) it’s an original look at the actor’s life from an incredibly personal perspective.
Broken chronologically into distinct periods of his life, the authors have gathered some incredible memorabilia, drawings, artefacts and images of his model building which contribute to a picture of a man who was totally at peace with the world and lived life to his fullest. We all know this to be true until the sad passing of his beloved wife which is covered here with great thought and care. But let’s look to his early years first and the images of Cushing with his family and his mother’s obsession of her wanting him to be a girl are charmingly innocent whilst seeing his old school books and early shots in Rep make you realise that he changed very little over his life. His early dalliances into movies, return to theatre and onto television reveal some charming snaps and from here on in the book covers what seems to be every movie he made and, as you’d expect a good chunk of the book covers his Hammer output.
The design of the book makes sure that it’s never too heavy in trying to deliver as many images as possible. Instead the smart layout allows you to appreciate each and every picture, even the images of the slippers he wore during the filming of Star Wars are here! It’s a true treasure trove of information, I’m no Cushing expert and reading about such unfilmed movies such as Kali – Devil Bride Of Dracula (which was to be filmed after Legend Of The 7 Golden Vampires where Cushing would once again play Van Helsing) or the bizarre and critically mauled Tendre Dracula make for very interesting reading. You simply can not fault this book and the gallery at the end is a concise and eye-opening collection of posters from his movies with many foreign variants included. This leads to more of his sketches, watercolours and costume designs. Then we see his cards to his wife, Helen, these left me speechless in their charming honesty.
Every page reveals much about the man such as his comments on scripts, his thoughts on publicity posters, which for such releases as The Mummy actually lead to new scenes being shot.
If I could give this book 6 stars I would for it’s one of the finest reads of the year which will appeal not only to lovers of horror but to those who appreciate damn good book design and writing.
For more information click here.
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