Cover Image: Elizabeth and Monty

Elizabeth and Monty

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

This book is well-researched, but reading it is sort of like watching the proverbial train wreck. The writing is classic tabloid style. Despite their fame and excessive physical beauty, the two subjects were often nasty and narcissistic. I think most of their antics should have been left shrouded in the past.
Was this review helpful?
Interesting and dishy - a fun look at a pair of Hollywood icons with their own storied histories. A fun look at Golden Era Hollywood and two people who were an intrinsic part of it.
Was this review helpful?
I´m a fan of old Hollywood, so this book seemed to be right. It´s is a double biography of Montgomery "Monty" Clift and Elizabeth Taylor. It doesn´t only describe their films together, but also their personal life, his lovers, her husbands, their alcoholism and drug abuse and all the people around them. They both were child stars, pushed by their respective mothers. Monty helped his "Bessie Mae" to act more than "beautiful", and Elizabeth helped him in his sad life and to find roles when his star already sank.

This book was easy to read in the beginning, but dragged in the middle, the language very simple and superficial. I´m not sure how much of it is believable, as the sources are mostly interviews by famous (or less famous) people around Hollywood. It reads more like an endless gossip, and it could have been more critical regarding the sources and life in Hollywood.

I read the kindle edition, so the book might contain photos which would help.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for an ARC ebook in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
This dual biography, an enthusiastic and affectionate portrait of both stars, focuses on their lifelong bond, formed as young performers in the waning years of Hollywood’s Golden Age on the set of George Stevens’ A Place in the Sun ( 1951). The author rightly focuses on the development of each as an artist, and as a former actor brings special insight to the narrative. Taylor was described by critic Richard Schickel as “The Last Star” and her place in cinema history is assured. Clift is more neglected today, and this book attempts to fairly assess his career and do justice to his talent.. Leaning too hard, however, on the trope of Clift’s ruined beauty in a tragic accident, recounted in graphic detail in the first chapter, detracts from that composite portrait, as Taylor’s own well-documented struggles with body image were cruelly explicit in the world’s press for decades and receives scant attention here. Elizabeth Taylor’s resilience, her ability to survive addiction and fraught relationships is striking compared to the neediness and fragility of Clift, who was first to reach stardom and was dedicated to his art, yet fatally undone by illness and an unforgiving social climate. Any gay actor had to negotiate a Hollywood that forced them to live dishonestly, in constant fear of snooping gossip columnists. Hedda Hopper receives a well-earned drubbing here for her nastiness and cruelty: Clift contemptuously called her “the old gobbler.” Many colorful figures move in and out of the narrative, and some, who might have added needed context to this story of these passionate friends, are scarcely visible (e.g. Rock Hudson, Richard Burton). 
The writing is lively, entertaining, and has many well reported accounts of life on and off camera. There is unsparing detail of Clift’s decline: his multiple addictions to painkillers and alcohol, his tumultuous personal life,  Taylor’s unselfish loyalty to her friends, but particularly to Monty, is the connecting thread, that and the love that sustained them both. Clift said she was his “other half” - their parallel lives are weighed and analyzed in this sensitive treatment of a unique friendship.
Was this review helpful?
I don't remember how it happened, or when, but once upon a time, I saw Monty Clift and was just fascinated. I watched all his movies (there aren't that many, sadly) and read pretty much every biography I could get my hands on. Pretty soon I realized that there was not just something special about him but also about his friendship with Elizabeth Taylor. I wanted to know all about it. So imagine how happy I was when I discovered this book! I couldn't wait to start reading and find out more. As someone who's been interested in both of them, I could have done with less of the individual biographies; having read several about them, I knew almost all of what I was reading already. I realize that it gives much needed background for everyone who hasn't read about them before. However, my favorite parts, the ones where the book shines most, is when it's really about them and their strong bond. Their friendship was something quite unique and who hasn't wondered how things might have turned for Monty had he lived longer.
All in all, I really enjoyed reading it. The book seems extremely well researched which gives it a very intimate feeling. I enjoyed that. Sometimes there were repetitions in the text that made me stumble. As in there would be a statement and the same statement, just in different words, would be repeated a few lines further down. That's why I'm giving the book only four stars instead of five.
Other than that: a recommended read for everyone who is fascinated by the classic age of Hollywood! 

Thanks NetGalley and the publishers for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Some lives are more dramatics that movies, like the case of Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift.
Wonderful biography is well documented, easy to read and focuses more than on drama and scandal, Casillo’s show us the vulnerable side of the two icons.

Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift were child stars, both harassed by their mothers, when they meet, they click it off instantly, is the begin of a friendship that will last even after death.

Life is not as glamorous as it seems. They were the most beautiful people in the world, very talented and loved by the public. But they have problems, serious problems with alcohol, medication and mental health. 
This is a (platonic) love story between two humans. We see the behind the scenes of their legend. They were real persons, not only actors, they have feelings, feel depressed and happy, want to be accepted and loved, like everyone else.

Thanks NetGalley and Kensington Publishing for an ARC in exchange for a sincere review.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to Kensington Books and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to review a book about Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift.

Despite some errors and confusion, I still enjoyed the book.  I loved their movies.

This book gives the reader the backgrounds of Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor.  

Montgomery Clift was named after his Mother's doctor who was there when his mother was born.  Monty's full name was Edward Montgomery Clift.  His mother's doctor was named Edward Montgomery.
Was this review helpful?
...fabulous book....will write more on Goodreads and my blogs as I am banned from screen time for a while due to a concussion and wanted people to know that this is a 5-star book.

UPDATE:        Poppy here ---I am typing it for her -)

Date reviewed/posted: May 5, 2021
Publication date: May 25, 2021

When life for the entire galaxy and planet has turned on its end, you are continuing to #maskup and #lockdown to be in #COVID19 #socialisolation as the #thirdwave ( #fourthwave #fifthwave?) is upon us, superspeed readers like me can read 300+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today.

I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review.  

From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸.

Violet-eyed siren Elizabeth Taylor and classically handsome Montgomery Clift were the most gorgeous screen couple of their time. Over two decades of friendship they made, separately and together, some of the era's defining movies--including Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Misfits, Suddenly, Last Summer, and Cleopatra. Yet the relationship between these two figures--one a dazzling, larger-than-life star, the other hugely talented yet fatally troubled--has never truly been explored until now.

"Monty, Elizabeth likes me, but she loves you." --Richard Burton

When Elizabeth Taylor was cast opposite Montgomery Clift in A Place in the Sun, he was already a movie idol, with a natural sensitivity that set him apart. At seventeen, Elizabeth was known for her ravishing beauty rather than her talent. Directors treated her like a glamorous prop. But Monty took her seriously, inspiring and encouraging her. In her words, "That's when I began to act."

To Monty, she was "Bessie Mae," a name he coined for her earthy, private side. The press clamoured for a wedding, convinced this was more than friendship. The truth was even more complex. Monty was drawn to women but sexually attracted to men--a fact that, if made public, would destroy his career. But he found acceptance and kinship with Elizabeth. Her devotion was never clearer than after his devastating car crash near her Hollywood home when she crawled into the wreckage and saved him from choking.

Monty's accident shattered his face and left him in constant pain. As he sank into alcoholism and addiction, Elizabeth used her power to keep him working. In turn, through scandals and multiple marriages, he was her constant. Their relationship endured until his death in 1966, right before he was to star with her in Reflections in a Golden Eye. His influence continued in her outspoken support for the gay community, especially during the AIDS crisis.

Far more than the story of two icons, this is a unique and extraordinary love story that shines new light on both stars, revealing their triumphs, demons--and the loyalty that united them to the end.

Oh, what an amazing book -- two screen legends that had an amazing relationship, friendship and mutual adoration.  The book is well written and even newbies to these actors (I am often gobsmacked when today's people, especially millennials, have no idea who they are!) will lap it up. It is a story that could be a novel but it is true and it is a great biography at that. I will highly recommend this book to family, friends, patrons and book clubs. 

Take this book to the beach (or your back yard, porch or balcony) and enjoy it  - just wear a tonne of SPF110 as you will lose track of time as you read this. - If we are in the 5th or 6th wave/mutation of COVID19 by then, stay inside: no tan is worth dying for.  

As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I simply adore emojis (outside of their incessant use by "🙏-ed Social Influencer Millennials/#BachelorNation survivors/Tik-Tok and YouTube  Millionaires/snowflakes / literally-like-overusers etc. " on Instagram and Twitter... Get a real job, people!) so let's give it 🏖️🏖️🏖️🏖️🏖️
Was this review helpful?
Interesting, if quite gossipy, account of the careers, personalities and backgrounds of Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift and how their childhoods and families could have contributed to their deep friendship and subsequent tragedies.  Both are favorite actors of mine so I enjoyed this book.
Was this review helpful?
Delighted to include in April’s “Hollywood Confidential” list of notable new titles about the people, culture, and business of moviemaking (pegged to the Academy Awards) in Zoomer magazine’s book section.
Was this review helpful?
I am always interested in any topic about classic Hollywood so ai was attracted to this friendship story. Elizabeth Taylor led a fascinated life but Montgomery‘so was quite sad. I learned more about him because Taylor’s life is already known and talked about in media outlets.

I did find a genuine friendship. And it helped understand how Elizabeth came to  be an AIDS spokesperson in her later life.

This biography was easy to read, but very light in content.  There were some questionable choices such as discussing sizes of penis. That was totally irrelevant and not needed. It made me doubt the seriousness of this biography.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for an e-arc in exchange for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Although this purports to be a book about Elizabeth Taylor and Montogomery Clift, I came away remembering only Elizabeth Taylor. I am a Montgomery Clift fan, but the author, I think did not do him justice. Taylor comes off as a great friend and a diva--but she is Elizabeth Taylor.
Was this review helpful?
Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift met when she was 16 and he was at the height of his career. Both had the looks that the camera loved. Monty was so generous with his acting talent and helped many at the start of their career including Elizabeth. Both formed a lifelong friendship the best friend we all search for. Unfortunately life on screen did not imitate real life. An accident at the peek of Monty’s career affected his future acting career which was everything to him. Elizabeth was constantly looking for love but was very loyal to her friends. This book very much delves into the offscreen lives which will still provide a few surprises. Two icons who lead extraordinary lives which might have been very different if it wasn’t for fate. A very emotional book to read but it is well worth it.
I was given an arc by Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Four and a half stars.

Well-researched and in-depth story of an incredible relationship between, ultimately, two personalities - simultaneously similar and worlds apart.  A frank look Clift's self-loathing and self-destructive nature and Taylor's early fawning over the actor, eventually settling into a platonic "romance."

Casillo draws on hundreds upon hundreds of sources, interweaving the Taylor and Clift chapters, devoting each as the lead role in their own sections, with the other as supporting actors; the remaining cast of characters is filled with hundreds of names immediately recognizable to any aficionado of films from that era.  I found the behind-the-scenes elements for each of the movies particularly fascinating, many tidbits I'd never heard before.  

So what is the payoff, ultimately?  We see two actors, hailed more for their beauty early on than for their art, each controlled - one by an overbearing mother, the other by his dependencies, from emotional to alcoholic to pharmaceutical, each trying to live vicariously to find happiness but more and more, as youth gives way to the Septembers of their lives, realizing they've orchestrated themselves (in one instance, fatally) in the wrong direction with very little time for course corrections.  

Even with Taylor's comparatively long life, although surrounded by friends and family, you can't escape the feeling that she was - like Monty before her - unbearably lonely.  

A great read.  I took half a star off for gratuitous details of Clift's anatomy and his proclivities in his final year.  There were more than a few grammatical and typographical errors, but as this was an uncorrected proof, that's no surprise.  They did not get in the way of a wonderful book.

Finally, I'd like to express my sincere appreciation to the author, his publisher Kensington Books, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this ARC.
Was this review helpful?
An outstanding biography about two very famous stars. I found the book a thorough telling of stars life. Just like us, Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift were human with both their strength and their weakness and the book describes how their upbringing and the influence of fame effected their lives.  It was heart wrenching  to read about Montgomery Clift life and how sad it was,  and yet at the same time Elizabeth Taylor lived her life to the fullest even while searching for love from others and getting it most of the time. Excellent book

I want to thank Kensington Books and Netgalley for an advance copy of this insightful book
Was this review helpful?
Elizabeth and Monty is about two major luminaries of a bygone era. What they portrayed on film entertained millions while making millions for the industry. As you might imagine, their personal lives were quite different. Charles Casillo presents that side to the story. Fans of old Hollywood will love reading about them and I'm sure will be inspired to watch a film or two.
Was this review helpful?
It's not often that I read books like this, much less enjoy them, but this book was so well written and well researched that it didn't come off an a gossip sheet.
Was this review helpful?
An Extraordinary love story between two exceptional human beings...Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift’s Intimate Friendship defined what “Unconditional Love and Support” truly stands for... Entranced from the first page, I was drawn into their unique, intriguing,  and awe-inspiring universe, and I could not put it down until it was finished. Get your tissues ready for their amazing journey together!!
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed getting to know Elizabeth and Monty however i felt the book was very slow paced and more times than not I would find myself bored.
The wording was sometimes a little off for example 'Roddy was years four years older than Elizabeth' (page 77/851 9%) That extra years is unnecessary and would become a little confusing and harder to read because I found myself re reading.
I did like and enjoy the way the chapters and the book was set out. One chapter being about Elizabeth and the next about Monty. It was a nice change and it flowed nicely.
I did enjoy getting to know this classic megastars and the history of there fabulous career.
Was this review helpful?
A wonderful biography of Old Hollywood stars Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift. I’ve read several books on Taylor, but Clift is more elusive to know. So I was glad to read this and learn more about him and their strong friendship. They were so close, were they just friends? It was a time in the industry where it was forbidden to openly be gay, if you wanted a career anyway. Clift had an affinity for women, he loved being in their company, and was very close to several, which really kept people guessing. When Clift met the actress Elizabeth Taylor, she was still a minor. Yet when they began acting together, they really bonded and found they liked being around one another. 

The older, more experienced actor from the stage in New York, Clift even began coaching Taylor, helping her with her acting. They had similar mothers who were stage mothers in the worst sense. This cemented their friendship for the remainder of Clift’s life. I got a lot from this book and enjoyed it as well. Advance electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author Charles Castillo, and the publisher.
Was this review helpful?