March 10, 1986 12:00 PM

compiled by Diana Carter

No doubt intended as a spin-off, this little paperback is far more to the point than the movie it comes from. It includes short autobiographical comments by the film’s major performers followed by brief comments from director Attenborough. Predictably nobody criticizes Attenborough, and he never says anything like, “Gee, I wish I’d hired Ann Rein-king.” But there are some revealing and amusing comments. The film’s star, Michael Douglas, talks about his father (whom he calls “Kirk”) and his stepfather, former Broadway producer Bill Darrid; Michael also muses that he has something in common with choreographer Jeffrey Hornaday: “I think it’s anger or frustration. I’ve had a lot of frustration in producing films. And one develops a strong revenge motive for all the people who’ve rejected your projects for a long time. You think, ‘Someday I’m going to get there.’ ” One of the cast’s young dancers, Michael Blevins, recalls being mugged in New York during the filming; another, Charles McGowan, talks about being put up for adoption by his mother because he was born without a completely formed pelvic bone and with other defects. Yamil Borges says, “I would like to have a husband some day. I really and truly would like to be married. But I’m so critical, and I’m so fickle too.” Nicole Fosse describes being prepared for an audition for the film by her father, Bob. Attenborough says, revealingly, that he had planned to make a film about apartheid in South Africa before A Chorus Line distracted him. He includes a photograph of himself surrounded by part of his behind-the-camera crew; except for Hornaday, they’re mostly paunchy, balding men who look as if they belong in a boardroom rather than a theater. Is it any wonder the movie turned out to be so stuffy? (New American Library, $9.95)

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