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19 May 2011
Tough without a Gun: The Extraordinary Life of Humphrey Bogart 
by Stefan Kanfer.
Faber, 288 pp., £14.99, February 2011, 978 0 571 26072 0
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... to blow holes in the self-sustaining establishment. I think they were part of the equation for the brief explosion of political and social activity. In Tough without a Gun, a biography of Bogart, StefanKanfer is concerned that they don’t make screen idols like that any more. He doesn’t attribute this to the fact that their characters’ romantic socialism has suffered a death blow but wonders ...

Who had the most fun?

David Bromwich: The Marx Brothers

10 May 2001
Groucho: The Life and Times of Julius Henry Marx 
by Stefan Kanfer.
Penguin, 480 pp., £7.99, April 2001, 0 14 029426 0
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The Essential Groucho 
by Groucho Marx, edited by Stefan Kanfer.
Penguin, 254 pp., £6.99, September 2000, 0 14 029425 2
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... the bench. There can be no doubt that with Groucho, as with W.C. Fields, the relish he conveyed in the role of a churl had an accessible motive in youthful experience, though it is hard to agree with StefanKanfer that the result in his life and art was ‘to inter the adult and present a child persona to the public’. Actually, he is one of those characters, like Petronius or Squire Western, whom it ...

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