Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Cool Ass Cinema Book Reviews: Tough Guys Edition!


By William Smith

Softcover; 168 pages; B/W 2009

Hollywood has given us decades of larger than life heroes and villains in all manner of genre cinema and television. Regardless of budget, or even the scope of the film itself, audiences have come to identify with dozens of indelible images of the good, the bad and the plain out ugly. What generally sets these big and small screen rough-housers and hellraisers apart is the actor playing them. One such man is one of the most extraordinary onscreen personality's to ever ride a horse, fire a gun, command an army, more or less turned Matt Dillon into a vigilante on GUNSMOKE for nearly killing Miss. Kitty and plain out beat the tar out of the protagonist. The legendary William Smith has been and done it all and what sets him apart from everybody else is that he has scribed an even more monumentally massive chronicle in the real world having done just about everything aside from being knighted by the Queen of England (and I wouldn't be surprised if that last one weren't on the radar at some point!).

Not only has Smith appeared in hundreds of movies and television shows, but he counts bodybuilding, breaking records, competing in various sporting competitions, firefighting, military service, teaching, multilingual articulation and an accomplished author of poetry among his countless credits on a resume that's brimming with enough achievements to fill ten lives. The latter of that long list is what's being spotlighted here in this review of Bill's book, The Poetic Works of William Smith. It might be a bit hard to swallow that the King of Biker Movies, the tough guy that exchanges fisticuffs with Clint in ANY WHICH WAY YOU CAN (1980), CONAN '82's onscreen father and the man who menaced the Jordache family on one of the biggest television events of all time would command such a passionate power for the poetic word.

These 168 pages of harmonized eloquence are of a personal pedigree put pen to page. It's a testament of a far more than full life of experiences, notations and relationships that spans a man's humble beginnings through his twilight years of reflection on friends and loved ones past and present. This varied volume of verse is told with a keen sense of the inner soul and a passionate view of the world around us as well as the pain, anguish and inevitable end facing us all. Smith reminisces in a unique vernacular about many of his closest friends, a number of whom are no longer with us. The book is also much more than poetic privacy made public. Scattered throughout are a scrapbook of images from Smith's life and a lengthy list of accomplishments including cinematic and television credits. The tome really is a must buy for any William Smith fan worth their salt. It's a fascinating glimpse into the heart and soul of a man who was most memorable when playing a despicable antagonist who far too often upstaged his good guy foil. That alone is no mean feat. Now if only someone could convince the Big Man to write his autobiography!

Click HERE to be taken to William Smith's official website where you can purchase the book as well as assorted autographed items from a variety of Smith's career on both the big and small screen.

Click HERE to read an article here at CAC about William Smith, the first in a series of articles about Tough Guys of the Silver Screen.
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