Spencer Tracy, By James Curtis

 

Curtis's superbly researched, if voluminous, portrait reveals Tracy's effortless panache before the camera ("never leaning into the role but simply allowing it to happen") and the alcoholic torment he took pains to hide: "He began the gruelling cold-turkey detox, restrained, restless, hallucinating… turned every two hours like a premium side of beef."

The story is told so well that a thousand pages does not seem excessive for this complex genius. "There wasn't a better man at comedy," said Vincente Minnelli.

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