Tackling this actor's life and career would have scared off a lesser writer. Not only has Greenstreet been dead for more than sixty years, but much of his work was in the inherently transitory world of live theater. Covering only his relatively short film career (where he made his debut after the age of sixty) would have provided an incomplete portrait of the man. But Sculthorpe's painstaking research reveals the actor's rich life on stage, acting alongside giants such as Lunt and Fontanne, before plunging into the late-in-life triumphs of The Maltese Falcon and Casablanca.
Sculthorpe's book gets a substantial boost from the participation of the late actor's granddaughter. In addition to granting an interview, she also provided dozens of fascinating photos. Many of the pictures illustrate the actor's career, which covered virtually the entire first half of the 20th century, but there are also one-of-a-kind family photos showing Greenstreet, his wife and his son. The somewhat sad story of Greenstreet's marriage, to a woman ultimately consumed by mental illness, is covered honestly but with respect and taste.
Might as well be frank -- if you love the film classics of the 1940s, you'll want to meet the gentleman whose life is contained between these covers.
NOTE: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.