Menacing Face Worth Millions: A Life of Charles Bronson, Now Available
Charles Bronson was concurrently denigrated by the critics and loved by the public more than perhaps any other actor. Most associated with the shocking vigilante Death Wish films, Bronson been virtually excluded from the positive opinions of critics and film historians who speak well of his equally morally ambiguous contemporaries, such as Clint Eastwood.
They are overlooking that, during the height of his film career, the Bronson name was all that a large segment of the ticket-buying public cared to know. The man with the countenance of stone was all the rage in Europe, possibly even more popular than at any single period of acclaim in the United States; the French dubbed his austere appearance “Le Sacre Monstre,” the Holy Monster; Italians labeled him as “Il Brutto,” the Ugly One. Iranian children cried at the end of The Magnificent Seven when the Mexican kids buried Bronson’s Bernardo O’Reilly character.
Art, like nature or humanity, insists upon continuance. The perpetual face of the actor remains powerful and authoritative. With his reputation for being a loner, Bronson was so remote, so determinedly on his own, that he embodied the anguished, self-riven man awkwardly straddling the pathos of yesterday and the bountifulness of present. Bronson was also, in a characteristically contradictory and complex fashion, undeniably one of us. Fans admired his unconventional yet personable inscrutability, and wished to know him better. Many still do.
That has been the goal in this book – to separate the facts from the myth and bring back the real Charles Bronson, the man behind the legend – to intrigue and, if fortunate, to inspire a new generation of devotees.
– Brian D’Ambrosio