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Audio Book Review


Peter Cushing
Past Forgetting


Read by: Peter Cushing
Cosmic Hobo Productions
RRP: £14.99
ISBN: 978 0 9555158 3 5
Available 05 July 2010

Past forgetting is an abridged audio representation of Peter Cushing's second and final autobiography - read by the man himself. It was originally released in 1988, but appears for the first time here on CD. As well as containing two discs with a total running time of 144 minutes, it incorporates a bonus documentary (16 minutes) and sleeve notes by writer/actor Mark Gatiss.

Cushing begins his recollections by addressing some questions which were received in response to his universally well-received first autobiography. Consequentially, he covers his Hammer Horror years in more detail, but begins by describing the manner at which he met his demise in each relevant movie. Also, he makes several heartfelt references to his wife, who sadly died after a long illness. He had taken a long break, before being encouraged by several friends and colleagues to continue doing what he done best.

Without doubt, Cushing's most memorable roles are those in which he portrayed Van Helsing in the Dracula films and Mary Shelley's assembler of spare parts, Doctor/Baron Frankenstein. He recounts several little tales surrounding these characters, including his conversations with his own GP who he used as a consultant - ensuring he did not use the inappropriate instruments when removing a patient's head in his next film.

Like his regular co-star, Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing was a polite but mostly formal gentleman who seemed to belong almost exclusively to a bygone era. This, of course, is by no means a detrimental fact, but it does make it difficult to close your eyes and immerse yourself in the retelling of his life. It's lovely to hear his voice, although the reading comes across as stilted exposition when it should be flowing. I couldn't help but feel on several occasions that I should go in search of the printed book, because it would be a much more comfortable manner in which to ingest the great man's life and works.

If that were the case, however, I would never have been able to listen to the little documentary at the conclusion. It's short, but entertaining to hear the comments of some of those who have worked alongside him. Among them is the very lovely, beautiful, gorgeous Caroline Munro, who acted with him in At The Earth's Core. Peter Cushing appeared in many films; however, the halcyon days of Hammer Horror is where he leaves his legacy, and it's the reason he will live on in the hearts of the people for many years to come.


Ty Power

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