Charles McGraw -
Alan K. Rode (McFarland 2007)
For most people Charles McGraw is one of those nameless character actors who appears in old films and television shows. But to the fans of film noir McGraw is one of the iconic actors of the genre. Few actors, at any level are more associated with noir than Charles McGraw.
McGraw’s life and career were rather ordinary, at least by Hollywood standards so it says much about the dedication of author Alan Rode to bring the actor’s bio to print some 28 years after his death. It also speaks to the burgeoning interest in film noir.
McGraw’s career took him through the heart of the film noir era, and it’s this journey that Rode marvelously documents with all the attendant anecdotes. Rode rightly makes the case that a career break here or there and McGraw could have been a star on par with that of Robert Mitchum. McGraw’s life was not unlike other successful actors who fell to the bottle and died broke (Tom Conway, Eroll Flynn, Peter Lawford) but given his connection to film noir, Charles McGraw: Biography of a Film Noir Tough Guy is essential reading for anyone interested in the genre.