The Redgraves: A Family Epic

2012

Donald Spoto’s account of the Redgraves has the feel of a readable “intellectual” soap opera, for the talented Redgraves were well known for their work in the theatre and film world but their private lives were anything but conventional. There are many instances of infidelity, divorce, dysfunctional parenting, and the insecurities that resulted from these issues. Michael Redgrave, son of Roy Redgrave and Daisy Scudamore, is the primary focus of this expose but Vanessa Redgrave and her sister and brother, Lynn and Corin and the careers of the younger generation of Redgraves, including Natasha Richardson and her sister Joely, are examined. We learn of Michael Redgrave's struggles with his bisexuality (at a time when people were tortured and sent to prison if the authorities became aware), alcoholism, and Parkinson’s disease. Vanessa was blacklisted for her support of the Palestinian cause. The author covers familiar films such as Lynn’s Georgy Girl, and Vanessa’s Camelot and lesser known works. Spoto’s work is a thorough account. The Redgraves are portrayed as a down to earth close-knit family with their share of struggles. Some may consider the Redgraves to be a theatrical dynasty but as Vanessa Redgrave simply says, “We are family.”

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