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1. Silent Bob Speaks : The Collected
$10.20 $9.52 list($15.00)
2. Rebel Without a Crew: Or How a
$17.95 $4.20
3. The Kid Stays in the Picture
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4. The New Biographical Dictionary
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5. Adventures in the Screen Trade
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6. Skywalking: The Life and Films
$26.37 $21.95 list($39.95)
7. Cecil B. Demille's Hollywood
$18.45 $14.95 list($27.95)
8. Edge Of Midnight: The Life Of
9. Images : My Life in Film
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10. Sergio Leone: Something to Do
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11. The Emperor and the Wolf: The
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12. Print the Legend : The Life and
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13. A Third Face : My Tale of Writing,
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14. Big Bosoms and Square Jaws : The
15. Child of Paradise: Marcel Carne
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16. George Lucas: Close Up: The Making
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17. It's Only a Movie : Alfred Hitchcock:
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18. You'll Never Eat Lunch in This
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19. Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures
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20. Mythmaker: The Life and Work of

1. Silent Bob Speaks : The Collected Writings of Kevin Smith
by Kevin Smith
list price: $13.95
our price: $11.16
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Asin: 1401359736
Catlog: Book (2005-04-13)
Publisher: Miramax Books
Sales Rank: 8437
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

From the award-winning screenwriter and director -- a collection of irreverent and hilarious rants on the absurdity of just about everything.

In 1994, Kevin Smith debuted his low-budget film Clerks at the Sundance Film Festival. It became an instant cult classic and made Smith the top dog of the indie film world. Next he was an executive producer of the smash hit Good Will Hunting and quickly earned the title "King of Gen X Cinema" from Time magazine. He appeared on Charlie Rose, Politically Incorrect, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, and currently holds a regular spot on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno hosting a segment entitled "Roadside Attractions." Fans of his films will instantly recognize Smith as Silent Bob -- the character with no lines. And last year Smith began writing a hilarious monthly column covering popular culture for Arena magazine.

In this side-splitting rant-fest, Kevin Smith waxes rhapsodic and obnoxious on everything from his platonic infatuation with Ben Affleck to his bloodcurdling hatred of Britney Spears, from his shocking diagnosis with morbid obesity to the fatal flaws of SpiderMan -- all done in his inimitable, raunchy style.

Silent Bob Speaks interweaves the best of the Arena columns with a new introduction by the author to produce Smith’s first collection of bawdy, over-the-top essays, guaranteed to make his legions of fans choke on their Cheerios. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read, worth picking up.
Kevin is the type of guy you'd love to hang with. Intelligent, witty, has a wonderful way with the english language, colorful phrasing and all.

If you're not really into Kevin, his films, or the whole View Askew thing this isn't really the best place to start. This is however a nice collection containing previously published material from magazines and the web. Perfect for me since I'm not a magazine person and don't really read the web stuff regularly.

I am however a total "movie snob" and appreciate the anecdotes, opinions, truths and obvious biased views spewed into the ether by this dude. It is very interesting for example reading some of these essays years after movies being discussed have been released (and in some cases tanking at the box office). His interview with Cruise was a pleasure to read and made me want to take a second look at some of the projects T.C. has done recently, while he openly gushes (and of course is hard for) Affleck. Again, this ends up being a very revealing read especially after the Bennifer debacle.

While I will always disagree with Kevin about the Star Wars prequels (dude, they're self indulgent pieces of poopie), Rats was the bomb yo!

Pick up the book, 4 out of 5 from the Canadian judge!

4-0 out of 5 stars Like his movies, mostly hits and few bad jokes...
This not a serious book and Smith himself makes no bones about that.It is filled with the same kind lol jokes that his films are--some dumb--but mostly hilarious.The pieces cover much of his career the last 8 years or so.They are from various sources.With the except of his piece defending Star Wars and his final piece on ComicCon, the book is a great look at Smith.I happen to be big fan of all of his work (even liked Jersey Girl) and the man himself.He is humble, self-effacing, and just damned happy to be where he is.His take on Cruise and Affleck is rare in this media age--he loves these guys and tells us why.He is still a fan.He is also a husband and a father--some of the best stuff in here is about that.And, his essay on New Jersey and his friend Walt was just awesome.No need to nitpick over the few things don't work--the book is great for any big KS fan.Even one like me, who doesn't read comics.

4-0 out of 5 stars Don't read this review - just buy the book!
It's a quick read, primarily made up of articles that Kevin wrote for Arena magazine.Definitely worth the $10 Amazon's charging for it. The bit where Kevin interviews Tom Cruise is one of my favorites. Pretty funny stuff - caught my self laughing out loud at just about every story.Oh man, when Ben is telling Kevin's daughter that he's her real father..... ... Read more

2. Rebel Without a Crew: Or How a 23-Year-Old Filmmaker With $7,000 Became a Hollywood Player
by Robert Rodriguez
list price: $15.00
our price: $10.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0452271878
Catlog: Book (1996-09-01)
Publisher: Plume Books
Sales Rank: 2389
Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (54)

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Book I've Ever Read On Filmmaking
If you want to be a filmmaker, buy this book. I've read over 30 books on filmmaking in the past few months, and none of them has been as good or as inspiring as this one. This isn't another book telling you how to make movies like everyone else does. In his 10 minute film school at the end of the book, he tells you what is essential, and what is just B.S. that film schools will tell you. Hollywood is for the taking, so get off you're butt and make a movie. This book is a diary of RRs experiences from preproduction all the way through distribution of his famous film, El Mariachi. Hollywood is for the taking, so get off you're butt and make a movie.

5-0 out of 5 stars A must-read ripper of a tale
This is a delightful, funny, amazing and inspirational book. It's the remarkable account of how one 23-year-old made a film on the cheap, and how hard he had to work (it was a labor of love, of course) to do that. This book also gives an insightful glimpse into the dazzling world of Hollywood glitz from the point-of-view of "an ordinary Joe" who suddenly finds himself catapulted into a world of limos, expense accounts, and who-you-know mentality. Included in the book are Rodriguez's famous "Ten Minute Film School" essay and the script for his film "El Mariachi" as he wrote it. (No, it's not in "proper script format", but since he wrote, directed, shot, and edited the whole film himself, it didn't matter. Rodriguez rule number one: You don't always have to follow the rules.)

Readers who aren't dying to make their own movies will still find this a tremendously good tale of how an ordinary, middle-class, almost-a-dropout can become a success. Rodriguez's formula for success is a true homily: 10% inspiration + 90% prespiration, and a little blood donated to science. Oh, and a whole lot of chutzpah.

For aspiring independent film-makers, this book is truly a must-read. For everybody else, it's a ripper of a true tale, well told and likeable.

Oh, and don't forget to pair it with the video of "El Mariachi", the film the book is all about. It shows how stylish a "cheap" film can be, and it's a lot of fun, especially when you know all the "inside jokes": cheat sheets, wheelchair dollies, why everybody always gets shot in the chest, etc.

5-0 out of 5 stars fresh & inspiring
Rodriguez's philosophy on filmmaking is incredibly simple: get a camera and make movies. This book offers a glimpse into the author's own endeavors to create his first feature film El Mariachi. Just reading the introduction made me want to pick up a camera! His positive, you-can-do-it attitude is infectious and inspiring.

5-0 out of 5 stars Must Read
This is one of the "Must Read" books about Hollywood. Anyone wanting a career in Hollywood needs to read "Rebel Without a Crew" by Robert Rodriguez, "My Fractured Life" by Rikki Lee Travolta, "You'll Never Eat Lunch in this Town Again" by Julia Phillips, and "Digital Filmmaking 101" by Dale Newton.

5-0 out of 5 stars My Inspiration!!!
I must start off by saying that I LOVE THIS BOOK!!! I love it for many reasons. It's written BY Robert Rodriguez in a journal style as he was creating his claim-to-fame, first feature film, El Mariachi... He talks about everything, is very to the point, and has a great sense of humor through all the hard times which lead to the "magic". I felt like I was right there with him through the whole Mariachi journy. And what an interesting, fun, nerve racking, and exetremely rewarding ride it turned out to be. Even though this book was written in '91/'92 and a lot of things in the industry have begun to change - the basic information and message are timeless. As a Robert Rodriguez fan, film maker, future film maker, or friend of a film maker, this is a MUST read book! He offers up the best advice through out the entire thing... advice you can not only apply to film making but to life in general as well. This HAS to be the most informal, most informational, and the BEST book on film I've read yet!!! ... Read more

3. The Kid Stays in the Picture
by Robert Evans
list price: $17.95
our price: $17.95
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Asin: 1893224686
Catlog: Book (2002-07-01)
Publisher: New Millennium Press
Sales Rank: 89025
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Book Description


The fascinating rise, fall and rise again of legendary producer Robert Evans.This is one life story you'll never forget: a kid actor in New york on radio plays...popularizing "women in pants" at Evan-Picone...being discovered poolside at the Beverly Hills Hotel by Norma Shearer...becoming the first actor to ever run a motion picture studio...reviving the moribund Paramount Pictures...overseeing production of Love Story, The Godfather, Chinatown, Rosemary's Baby, The Odd Couple...marriage to golden girl Ali McGraw and birth of son Joshua...long friendships with Nicholson, Beatty, and Hoffman....disgrace and drugs...the Cotton Club scandal...self-commitment and escape from a mental institution...and an eventual triumphant return to the catbird seat.An extraordinary raconteur, Evans spares no one least of all himself, on this legendary no-holds-barred Hollywood journey. ... Read more

4. The New Biographical Dictionary of Film
list price: $35.00
our price: $23.10
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375411283
Catlog: Book (2002-10-08)
Publisher: Knopf
Sales Rank: 8762
Average Customer Review: 3.52 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

For twenty-five years, David Thomson’s Biographical Dictionary of Film has been not merely “the finest reference book ever written about movies” (Graham Fuller, Interview), not merely the “desert island book” of art critic David Sylvester, not merely “a great, crazy masterpiece” (Geoff Dyer, The Guardian), but also “fiendishly seductive” (Greil Marcus, Rolling Stone).

Now it returns, with its old entries updated and 300 new ones—from Luc Besson to Reese Witherspoon—making more than 1300 in all, some of them just a pungent paragraph, some of them several thousand words long. In addition to the new “musts,” Thomson has added key figures from film history—lively anatomies of Graham Greene, Eddie Cantor, Pauline Kael, Abbott and Costello, Noël Coward, Hoagy Carmichael, Dorothy Gish, Rin Tin Tin, and more.

Here is a great, rare book, one that encompasses the chaos of art, entertainment, money, vulgarity, and nonsense that we call the movies. Personal, opinionated, funny, daring, provocative, and passionate, it is the one book that every filmmaker and film buff must own. Time Out named it one of the ten best books of the 1990s. Gavin Lambert recognized it as “a work of imagination in its own right.” Now better than ever—a masterwork by the man playwright David Hare called “the most stimulating and thoughtful film critic now writing.”
... Read more

Reviews (27)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Challenging Book!
David Thomson is the gadfly of film criticism. He has gathered his thoughts into his biographical dictionary, now in its fourth edition. His dictionary, however, is like no other biographical dictionary. Compare it, for example, with Ephraim Katz' "The Film Encyclopedia," which is also mostly a biographical dictionary, and which I couldn't imagine being without. Katz' bios are long and leisurely. For noteworthy film people Katz tells in detail their life stories from cradle to grave, including comments about the important films in their career (always about their circumstances and how they were received generally by audiences and critics rather than his own evaluation), and ends with a long, usually complete, film list. I can sit for hours reading Katz, always being led from one biography to another. I am informed, I am entertained, but I am not challenged. Katz and his successors (Katz passed away in 1992) are historians more than critics, at least in "The Film Encyclopedia." Thomson, on the other hand, doesn't devote a lot of time to the life story. What he does offer is a very idiosyncratic analysis of his subject's work. If you wish, he writes critical professional biographies. His critical analyses are usually at variance with the common wisdom and challenge the reader at every step of the way. One has to ponder what Thomson has written with almost every sentence. Katz is wonderfully informative about the indisputable facts of a film person's career. Thomson is wonderful about making you think about the parts that are disputable. If Katz helps us to become better informed, Thomson helps us to grow as film lovers.

I would not be without Thomson's biographical dictionary any more than I would be without Katz' film encyclopedia. No other book makes me think as much about film. No other book can cause me such dismay, because I come to fear that my earlier opinions were completely off the mark and that I had understood nothing. Sometimes, in fact, they ARE off the mark, and sometimes they are simply different from Thomson's. There are a number of directors whose works I own almost completely on DVD or VHS and that I thought I understood. That was before I began reading the various editions of Thomson's dictionary. I am less smug now, a little more confused, and, perhaps, a lot closer to the truth (if there is one). Is "Under Capricorn" really among Hitchcock's greatest achievements? I'm still not convinced, even if Thomson is. And there are times too when I think that Thomson is too fussy, too atuned to what his subject's work lacks rather than to its special qualities, the frequent bane of critics. I doubt that Thomson would mind my differing judgments, but I don't think he would want me to make them facilely. Read Thomson with great profit... and at your peril.

Fortunately for David Thomson, being forced to drink hemlock went out with the Athenian state more than two millenia ago. Fortunately for us, he keeps producing new and larger editions of his wonderful challenging book.

I wonder if he likes animals and little children...

5-0 out of 5 stars Oh, so worth the wait!
For those of us who are movie buffs, we're forever looking for biographical information on people in film. David Thomson goes way beyond the usual dry recitation of dates and facts and actually renders informed opinions on the people about whom he writes. Flip to any entry and you'll be entertained and informed by Thomson's refreshingly truthful take. He's one of the few people with the guts to say that Monster's Ball was not the greatest movie of all time, while giving kudos to Halle Berre for her performance. While I don't necessarily agree with all his opinions, it's great to read biographical material that actually offers commentary along with data. From Diane Lane to Bette Davis to Julia Roberts to Rudolf Valentino, Thomson offers comments and insights that no other volume does. I have the previous 1994 edition. Now, happily, I've got hours of happy reading ahead in the 2002 edition.

This is a must-have, not just for film fans but for its pure entertainment value as a gigantic collection of biographical short takes.
My highest recommendation.

5-0 out of 5 stars ...a few things to note before you buy this...
As you can see by the other reviews, this book is a love it or hate it proposition. I very much enjoyed it, for my part. I don't always agree with Thomson, and I think he sometimes spends too much time bashing directors he feels were overpraised (John Ford, Fellini, etc,). He also seems to judge all movies on their potential lasting impact as art, rather than on their own terms. In other words, "Tron" is held to the same standard as Ozu. I find that a bit unfair. He loves the golden age a bit too much, in my opinion. And as many other reviewers have whined about, he doesn't include some entries he should have. But the fact remains that Thomson has an uncanny ability to get to the core of what an actor or filmmaker is about within very few sentences. I ended up reading the book cover to cover, delighted with parts and strongly agreeing with others. If you like great writing, check this out. Just be prepared not to agree with everything. If you just want a reference guide, use the IMDB and save yourself some dough.

4-0 out of 5 stars A great argument starter, if nothing else
Yes: this book is going to tick off a lot of people. Thomson's style and criticism are an acquired taste. I bristle and shake my fist at a number of his opinions. I don't think Tom Cruise and Mel Gibson and Jim Carrey and Nicole Kidman are great actors; Thomson does. Thomson has contempt for many of the directors and actors I respect and love. He thinks Humphrey Bogart is "a limited actor, not quite honest enough with himself." He calls Orson Welles a "charlatan." He calls the incomparable Hitchcock "an impoverished inventor of thunbscrews who shows us the human capacity for inflicting pain, but no more." He idolizes lesser-known directors like Yasujiro Ozu and sniffs condescendingly at celebrated figures like Akira Kurosawa.

Yet, Thomson makes no pretense that he's writing for everybody. Nor did Pauline Kael, for example, make such pretense. As Thomson himself writes, "Indeed, the stance taken here as your needling, provocative, argumentative companion at the movies takes it for granted that in the reading you will begin to compose your own response." That says it all.

Some people read film critics because no matter how much you disagree with them, they have something worthwhile, witty, thought-provoking, or just plain infuriating to say. Why else read film criticism at all? This book is a nearly thousand-page rollicking journey through some of the major figures of film, and it belongs on every film lover's shelf. I pick it up and refer to it often, and want to throw it across the room almost as often.

1-0 out of 5 stars A Pseudo Film Critic
Apparently the corpulent Mr. Thomson and his fluttering fans will never learn that criticism is not the art of condescension and the putdown. As George Lukas has said, Thomson knows nothing about movies. Whom you believe says a lot about who you are. ... Read more

5. Adventures in the Screen Trade
by William Goldman
list price: $18.95
our price: $12.89
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0446391174
Catlog: Book (1989-03-10)
Publisher: Warner Books
Sales Rank: 11436
Average Customer Review: 4.54 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (24)

5-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, insightful, couldn't-put-it-down book
Like screenwriter William Goldman, I love movies. I love everything about them -- from their scores (especially those by John Williams or James Horner) to the actors (particularly Sean Connery, Gene Hackman, Kevin Spacey and Cary Grant) to the directors (Shyamalan, Cameron, Welles and Reiner) to the screenwriters (Mamet, Shyamalan and, of course, William Goldman).

Goldman's book "Adventures in the Screen Trade" is one of the best books I've read in years. It is chock-full of fascinating anecdotes...crisp, witty, honest writing...and enough "dirt" on Hollywood to keep a half dozen gossip columnists busy at their keyboards for days.

So well-written and fun is Goldman's book that I think even if I wasn't a budding screenwriter and avid movie-goer, I still would have found his peek behind the scenes in Hollywood to be an engrossing read.

But for me, a true film nut, this book is indispensable. It contains plenty of tips on how to write screenplays, sure, but the most important lesson I learned from Goldman's book is that Hollywood is a brutal, fickle and cutthroat place to do business and that I'd best develop a thick skin if I'm going to send my screenplays there.

Since reading Goldman's book, I noticed many of the movies I've enjoyed over the years have been written by him -- including Princess Bride (one of my all-time favorites), Magic, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Misery and even the just-released Jurassic Park 3!

"Adventures in the Screen Trade" is a superb book. I highly recommend it.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great book by America's best screenwriter
Goldman (whose credits include Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Marathon Man, Misery, and the Princess Bride, and who is also a terrific novelist) was the first screenwriter whose name I recognized as having appeared on the credits of several films. He has since become my favorite, so when I found that he had written a book on the workings of the screenwriter in Hollywood--a town for which I have always had great fascination--I knew I had to read it. Unfortunately, it was years before I finally got around to it.

To give you an idea how good I think this book is, I had read Stephen King's Needful Things (app. 800 pages) in five days and that was at that point my quickest pace. Well, I read Adventures in the Screen Trade (including the full script of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid--a terrific read in itself, and alone worth the price of the book--a total of 600 pages) in two days. I just couldn't put the thing down, and I find that phrase to be a cliche of the most odious order. I was reading it at breakfast, on my commute in, at lunch, the commute out, all evening, and before bed. Goldman writes such a gripping story of his experiences in Tinseltown, that I was drawn in, always wondering what was going to happen next.

Only once did my interest flag, and that was halfway through a screen adaptation of a story presented in the book just beforehand. The story was ten pages, the adaptation forty, so I simply felt at that point that I was reading the story over, it was just longer. However, once I got over that and realized that the point of the exercise was to illustrate the differences in form, I read again with relish.

Goldman writes with a nicely conversational style--but not overtly so--that draws you in to his world. I think that this book would be especially of interest to anyone who wants to write for Hollywood (although you may not wish to continue with that dream after reading this), or any writers in general (as he goes over form and structure that is relevant to all writing), or to a fan of the behind-the-scenes workings of Hollywood.

5-0 out of 5 stars Feels like a long conversation with Goldman telling all.
If you're an aspiring actor, director, or screenwriter, this book is something you will not be able to put down for two reasons- 1. On ever page you will learn something new about the movie industry 2. It reads like a entertaining conversation with Goldman spilling all knowledge-every juicy secret, about the how the movie business really is. Through all his years in his field Goldman has developed a keen understanding of everyone's perspective and he lays all the cards on the table. If you're thinking of working in Hollywood and having a go in the business, this book will help prepair you.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must Read!
Don't even think of writing a screenplay until you read William Goldman's, Adventures in the Screen Trade. And after you finish Mr. Goldman's book do not even think of writing a screenplay until you read it again! I had/have written stage plays and wanted to try a screenplay but knew nothing of the process. This is the most candid book I have read as to not only the mechanics involved in the trade, but a truthful and at times humorous look at the movie making process. I might even go back and read the book a third time and see what I missed...Best regards...Jack Shea

4-0 out of 5 stars A Fantastic Read - Unbelievably Enjoyable.
"Adventures in the Screen Trade" is a wonderful book that was a pleasure to read. In order to appropriately recommend it for you, however, I need to break it down into categories... as it has different strengths depending on your needs.

From the standpoint of an enjoyable look into one of the top screenplay writers in Hollywood, I would give it a 5 out of 5. I found myself creating time that I didn't have to keep reading it because I wanted to hear inside stories from the point of view of a professional writer working with stars such as Newman, Redford, etc. It was both funny and charming to hear war stories ranging from catastrophes to simply magical occurrences.

From the point of view of a would be filmmaker using this book as a resource, I can only give it a 3. I would still recommend it to read, but not for pearls of wisdom. There are some helpful insights, but, like many books on the entertainment industry, it is filled with more "war stories" than hard advice.

There is one section that is interesting, though daunting. He breaks down a short story that he wrote into a screenplay, then gets top players in the industry to discuss their relevant roles (production designer, D.P., director, etc). It is very enlightening to hear their responses to the material and what they view the strength of it is.

Finally, there is another pearl to be gleamed from Goldman's book... and that is why movies are getting to be such cookie cutter pictures (and that was written in the 1980's... what would he think today?). He specifically shows that a lot has to do with needing to write parts that will attract stars. This is very helpful, and a true lesson, though I would guess most non professional screenwriters will blow it off.

Overall, a fantastic read but just better than average textbook. Happy reading! ... Read more

6. Skywalking: The Life and Films of George Lucas
by Dale Pollock
list price: $15.95
our price: $10.85
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0306809044
Catlog: Book (1999-04-01)
Publisher: Da Capo Press
Sales Rank: 273431
Average Customer Review: 4.79 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars Two thumbs way up! :)
A long time ago in a galaxy far,far away George Lucas revolutionized modern movie making, and captivated a nation with his spectacular movie Star Wars. Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi became one of the worlds most beloved trilogys. After Star Wars, George Lucas contintued to dazzle the public with his unique story-telling by bringing us another wonderful trilogy-The Indiana Jones trilogy. This book is an excellent read on how these and other movies from George Lucas made it to the big screen. With excellent background history on Lucas himself, this book is a must for anyone who admires Mr.Lucas. A well-researched book,it gives a detailed account of how some the most famous movies in cynematic history made it to the big screen. Overall I thought it was great and urge anyone who loves Star Wars, or just wants a good book to read to get this book. :) May the force be with you!

5-0 out of 5 stars Funny, moving, look at american film.
When I Bought this book, I thought it would just tell me about George Lucas's youth and how he made his movies. Very shortly into starting the book did I realize he has a rare story. Must read if you love star wars, lucas, Biographies, Ect. It's Very Moving and addictive, and the reason why it's moving was because it's very happy and can be, at certain parts, very sad. Also a great story about friendship, youth, and mostly the work ethic.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great read
Haven't read a bigraphy so interesting since I browsed through richard branson's 3 years ago. it's always great to read about a rollercoaster life, especially one as up and down and then up up up as george Lucas...

Really Well Written... top marks

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent, just needs to be updated
I'm a Star Wars fan, and always wondered what kind of person George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars, was. This book pretty much answered any and all questions I had about the Master Jedi himself.

Pollock's narrative of Lucas's life begins with George's childhood, then proceeds into his rebellious teen years--which was the inspiration for American Graffiti--then straight onto Lucas' student filmmaker years and finally to his highly successful movie career. The latter of which is when Star Wars and its sequels were produced and established Lucas as one of the most influential filmmakers in the history of the medium.

The book offers a balanced, journalistic account of Lucas' life, with very little opinion injected into the book. Some places Pollock seems to praise Lucas too much, but it's nothing too extreme.

The only real problem is that the book was written during the production of Return of the Jedi, when Skywalker Ranch wasn't finished, George was still married to first wife Marcia, and before the flops Willow and Howard the Duck. I read the revised edition which has an intro mentioning these things, but the book's main narrative is about what's happened to Lucas up to 1983.

I'd recommend this book to any fan of Star Wars, and anyone else curious about Lucas himself.

5-0 out of 5 stars The reluctant director
In times past the function of biographies was generally to elevate their subjects to noble heights and focus on the individuals accomplishments. In modern times the function of biographies often seems to be to tear down their subjects, ruthlessly exposing every flaw and possible past transgression of the person under examination. This biography of film director/producer George Lucas is an evenhanded look at his life and work, even if some of the conclusions it's author arrives at are necessarily personal rather than certifiably factual in nature.

The book is peppered with many quotes from Lucas himself as well as Spielberg, Coppola, Milius and others which lends it a feeling of legitimacy which I believe is probably lacking from other, less sympathetic biographies. Lucas himself is quite forthcoming about his feelings on his own work and what he sees as his limitations as a director. His comments on Hollywood were amusing if understandably bitter, especially for someone who has worked there in the past.

If one omits his earliest film shorts such as the student version of THX 1138 and the documentary Filmmaker, Lucas has only directed three films in his career, THX 1138, American Grafitti and Star Wars. His function since that last mega-smash has primarily been as producer and head of the state-of-the-art Skywalker Ranch production facilities up in scenic Northern California. He has also helped finance a number of less "mainstream" works such as Kurosawa's Kagemusha. It's unfortunately probably true that Lucas has never been taken seriously by many critics ever since Star Wars because that film was so consciously intended as a "kids movie". Despite the fact that it was embraced by popular culture around the world due to its quality and mythic resonance it does tend to overwhelm his early, more adult-oriented films. Lucas himself is quite skeptical of some of the intellectual critical analysis that has been produced on what was intended to be an innocent hommage to 30's style action movie serials and not a "think piece". It's also surprising that so many people continue to consider the Star Wars films science-fiction when they really fall much more into the fantasy genre despite all the high-tech trappings.

Of course this book includes reams of trivia on the films, from the origin of all of the characters names in Star Wars to the details behind preview screenings and loads of very funny anecdotes that could only have been provided by an industry as crazy and high-stakes as Hollywood. Mostly however this is the story of a man from modest origins who managed to beat Hollywood at it's own game and achieve financial independence from "the system" through a combination of very savvy business choices, luck and a personal vision that happened to coincide with what a large number of the paying public wanted to see on screen.

This review refers to the original 1983 hardcover release of this book. ... Read more

7. Cecil B. Demille's Hollywood
by Robert S. Birchard, Kevin Thomas
list price: $39.95
our price: $26.37
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0813123240
Catlog: Book (2004-05-01)
Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
Sales Rank: 108929
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Cecil B. DeMille was one of the giants of twentieth century Hollywood. His box-office record was unsurpassed, and his swaggering style established the public image for movie directors. His career was studded with big-budget epics that expressed a Victorian sensibility committed to uplift as much as entertainment.

Best remembered today for screen spectacles such as The Ten Commandments, Samson and Delilah, and The Greatest Show on Earth, DeMille was often criticized for his success and accused of pandering to the lowest common denominator. As early as the 1920s, the story circulated that when audiences proved indifferent to his artistic efforts, DeMille decided to give up on art and offer the public what it wanted: SEX, SIN, and SATAN with a half reel of redemption thrown in for good measure.

DeMille set the standard for Hollywood filmmakers and demanded absolute devotion to his creative vision from his writers, artists, actors, and technicians. Equally significant was his influence on the art of motion pictures: he had a profound impact on the way movies tell stories and brought greater attention to the elements of decor, lighting, and cinematography. In a forty-five-year career he directed seventy films and was involved as producer, co-director, screenwriter—even actor—in dozens of others. In addition to the biblical epics that distinguished his career, DeMille shot Westerns, realistic chamber dramas, and a series of daring and influential social comedies. Highly loyal to a core group of actors and production staff, he was largely responsible for making screen stars of Gloria Swanson, Charles Laughton, and Charlton Heston.

Drawing extensively on DeMille’s personal archives and other primary sources, Robert S. Birchard offers a revealing portrait of the filmmaker that goes behind studio gates and beyond DeMille’s legendary persona. Cecil B. DeMille’s Hollywood is a detailed and definitive chronicle of cinematic work that changed the course of film history and a fascinating look at how movies were made during Hollywood’s golden age. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Just Excellent!
Though he hasn't made a movie since the 1950s, CB DeMille is still a name that says "Hollywood" to anyone who hears it. But, aside from The Ten Commandments, it's possible that most people today don't know who he was or what he did. Robert Birchard's book, written in a blithe, easy-going style -- as if you're talking to him -- reminds us who CB was and how important he was to the history of film. Using original sources as much as possible (rather than second and third hand accounts) Mr. Birchard has traced DeMille's career through his films, in the process seeing as many as are still available (sadly not all are). In doing so, he manages to trace much of DeMille's life and the life and history of Hollywood as it grows and learns to use new and better technology to tell its stories. This book is both easy to read, fun to read, and even (gasp!) informative! But don't let stop you from buying and enjoying it!

5-0 out of 5 stars Hollywood's Epic Filmmaker
Before David Lean, before Michael Curtiz, and waaay before Ridley Scott and Steven Spielberg, there was Cecil B. DeMille, the creator of gargantuan epics from Hollywood's Golden Age. C.B. started making movies the year that D.W. Griffith shot "The Birth of a Nation" and died when Steven Spielberg was a kid in Arizona, shooting home movies. In between, he wrote, produced, directed and acted in close to a hundred films

Today, of course, DeMille is remembered for "The Ten Commandments" and "The Greatest Show on Earth," but Demille was far more than that. The Great Man directed westerns and bedroom comedies, time travel adventures (in the silent days, no less), and even a musical.

Remarkably, most of Cecil B. DeMille's five decades of film work survive, and Robert Birchard has seen all fifty years worth, and written about each film in a lucid, graceful prose; Birchard has delivered a feast of information for anyone who's interested in the history of Hollywood. (Did you know that Charlton Heston, the star of "The Ten Commandments," was making less than Yul Brynner? Did you know that during the filming of C.B.'s FIRST "Ten Commandments" (a gargantuan hit in 1923) that the slaves who were supposedly sweltering in the Egyptian desert were actually extras on the central California coast FREEZING in chilly Spring weather, and who bundled themselves into coats as soon as the director yelled "Cut"? Mr. Birchard lets us in on the behind-the-scenes action on each of C.B's films (each movie has its own individual chapter), as well as when the films were shot, when they were released, what they cost and what they made at the box office.

This is a book for anyone who wants to know where American films have been...and how we got to where we are today. ... Read more

8. Edge Of Midnight: The Life Of John Schlesinger
by William J. Mann
list price: $27.95
our price: $18.45
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0823083667
Catlog: Book (2005-03-01)
Publisher: Billboard Books
Sales Rank: 109631
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

John Schlesinger's extraordinary career in cinema, stage, opera, and television spanned half a century. It was, however, his films that made him famous, including such classics as Billy Liar, Darling, Midnight Cowboy, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Day of the Locust, and Marathon Man, as well as The Falcon and the Snowman, Madame Sousatzka, and Pacific Heights. In Edge of Midnight, best-selling author and historian William J. Mann chronicles Schlesinger's life and career-from his early documentary days at the BBC to his Academy Award for the X-rated Midnight Cowboy and his glittering nights as a Hollywood host. The author draws on Schlesinger's tapes, diaries, production notes, and correspondence, as well as on interviews with Schlesinger, his family, his partner of 36 years, and his friends. Also included are revelatory, often hilarious anecdotes about, and interviews with, such celebrities as Sir Laurence Olivier, Julie Christie, Dustin Hoffman, Glenda Jackson, Dirk Bogarde, Ian McKellen, Sean Penn, Sally Field, Rupert Everett, and Madonna. This fascinating biography of Schlesinger, who died in 2003, will be a must-have for every film buff. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Bravo John Schlesinger & Thank You for Julie Christie!
I am lying in the sun in Hollywood and I have just devoured this splendid John Schlesinger biography. I recommend it to every movie fan the world over.It is a lovely book and worthy of its subject.

Being north of forty, it would be impossible to underestimate the importance of John Schlesinger's influence on my life as a gay man.Midnight Cowboy and Sunday Bloody Sunday were seismic movie going moments for me.Truly great movies in their own right, both have fully-dimensional gay characters as well as homo-erotic moments that lodged in my young brain and stayed.Jon Voight is a luscious Ken Doll in Midnight Cowboy.And Murray Head could be the poster boy for sexy 70's male in Sunday Bloody Sunday.Glenda Jackson watching Murray's perfect physique as he showered was thunderous for me because every day in Catholic high school I stood next to beautiful boys in showers and I couldn't stop staring and also could not forget none of them would ever be mine.

And thank you John Schlesinger for Julie Christie!The movie-going public will be forever in John's gratitude for giving us Julie.

They say that the music one listens to in our teenage years becomes "our" passion music-wise for our entire lives.Certainly, my life-long allegiance to Joni Mitchell and Aretha Franklin attests to that.

I feel the same way about Julie Christie.I was too young for Billy Liar and Darling when they came out.But both movies mean a great deal to me now.As do McCabe & Mrs. Miller and Shampoo and Return of the Soldier and Afterglow.I love watching this creature on screen.Julie is sexy to me even though I have no desire for her.And I am as much a fan now as I ever was when I first laid eyes on her.More of a fan probably.

Bravo to William J. Mann for painting a vivid portrait of one of our greatest film directors.And bravo John for your illustrious career!

5-0 out of 5 stars In Praise of Schlesinger
The writher Michael Cunningham (THE HOURS) said that seeing SUNDAY BLOODY SUNDAY "saved" his life. Peter Finch (on the same movie) remarked that when he did the close-up "liplock" with Murray Head that he just closed his eyes and thought of England. When Princess Margaret and her then husband Lord Anthony Snowdon saw SUNDAY BLOODY SUNDAY, she said within earshot of both Schlesinger and his lover Michael Childers, that she thought the movie was "horrific. . . "Men in bed kissing!" (This from a woman who had an affair with a man 18 years her junior and was caught on film topless with him-- while married to Snowdon.)This film, the director said was his most personal and was about his own affair with a young man; but he labeled THE DAY OF THE LOCUST his "greatest achievement, something that few critics, however, would say. Bob Dylan wrote "Lay, Lady, Lady" for MIDNIGHT COWBOY but didn't get it finished in time to be used in the movie.Schlesinger hated exercise and opined that when he thought about it, he just lay down until the moment passed. Although he lived for many years in the U. S. he felt that many Americans lacked manners, particularly when they went to movies. "'Audiences talk incessantly. . . They run up and down and eat all the time, because that is what they are used to doing at home.'" (We all can tip our hats to this gentleman for that attitude.) Mr. Mann's robust biography of John Schlesinger is chock-full of these and similar details. He had access to everything about this great director: tapes, diaries, family and friends and Mr. Schlesinger although only after he had had a stroke.

Although Mann's work is the "authorized" biography, he assured both Schlesinger and Childers that he would tell the whole story, the "low points and highs." Be that as it may, about the worst thing we find out about Mr. Schlesinger is that he had a temper and often screamed at actors. Mr. Mann most obviously is besotted by Mr. Schlesinger and why shouldn't he be? A lot of us are. When no one else was doing so, he directed films that we had not seen before-- MIDNIGHT COWBOY and SUNDAY BLOOD SUNDAY. Never before had the subject of men loving men been shown so naturally and without shame.

An astute critic, Mr. Mann gives his own reviews of practically everything Schlesinger ever directed: movies, opera, television. He attempts to be objective, noting in much detail the faults of THE NEXT BEST THING, the film starring Rupert Everett and Madonna. According to Mann, Schlesinger attempted to change the script so that the two principals decide to have a child, rather than having an "drunken, unplanned sexual encounter." He was vetoed by Mr. Everett, who gets to live with his bad decision. For years Mr. Schlesinger attempted to direct another gay-themed movie to no avail. He turned down directing Armistead Maupin's TALES OF THE CITY but for a time considered Larry Kramer's THE NORMAL HEART. He also toyed with the idea of doing something with the novelist David Leavitt, but nothing ever came of that idea. Instead the world got THE NEXT BEST THING.

This biography is a tad long-- over 500 pages and also suffers from too much praise from practically everyone Schlesinger ever directed-- Julie Christie, Sir Alan Bates, Dustin Hoffman et al. The list goes on and on. At times it's almost like the footage attached to DVD's where actors and directors "remember" making a film, etc. You have to ask yourself how accurate are memories about events that happened 30 to 40 years ago. EDGE OF MIDNIGHT, however, is still required reading for Schlesinger fans. And there are many of us. As Mann reminds us, this fine director gave us a handful of really great films that will not be repeated and several others that may not be his best but are much better than a lot of films by his contempories. ... Read more

9. Images : My Life in Film
by Ingmar Bergman
list price: $27.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1559701862
Catlog: Book (1994-01-27)
Publisher: Arcade Publishing
Sales Rank: 354153
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Help for understanding Bergman
I took an Ingmar Bergman class, and I therefore had to watch a lot of Bergman films as well as analyze and write about them. Many of Bergman films as many know are sometimes very hard to understand. However this book cleared up so many things for me in the films. The fact the book is mostly Bergman commenting on his own films is great, so you don't have someone else trying to interpret someone else's mind. I you need or want to better understand and enjoy Bergman's works, get this book!! ... Read more

10. Sergio Leone: Something to Do With Death
by Christopher Frayling
list price: $40.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0571164382
Catlog: Book (2000-07-01)
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Sales Rank: 379634
Average Customer Review: 4.43 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The first biography of the Italian director who reinvented the film Western with his series of "spaghetti" westerns.

The Italian film director Sergio Leone reinvented the American Western with his movie A Fistful of Dollars, a spare reworking of Akira Kurosawa's Japanese outlaw drama Yojimbo transferred to the Texas-Mexican border. In doing so, Leone also created a new kind of Western protagonist--silent, mysterious, morally ambiguous--and found a new star to embody this new archetype: Clint Eastwood.

Leone's entire life pointed toward his reinvention of the American Western: he grew up during the Nazi occupation of Italy, a period in which he saw terrible parallels to the traditional Western. When he was in a position to direct his own films, the low budget of his first "spaghetti" Western meant that he could only afford to hire a relatively unknown American actor, Clint Eastwood, to star in A Fistful of Dollars, which has been credited with reviving the Western as a credible film genre in the 1960s. This book is the first to document not only Leone's life but also to explore fully the development--and phenomenon--of the Italian film Western. In addition, Christopher Frayling examines Leone's late masterwork, Once Upon a Time in the West, which TimeOut says "ranks among the greatest examples of 'pure cinema' in the history of the medium." ... Read more

Reviews (7)

3-0 out of 5 stars Where was this 30 odd years ago?
Awesome reading for the die hard spaghetti western fan!

5-0 out of 5 stars Leone is God, and this is the Bible
I worship Sergio leone. I've been a huge fan of his films since my childhood in the late Seventies. I've always wanted/needed a weighty, fact-filled bio-reference to illuminate his here-to-fore mysterious life/career. This is that book. More detailed than the expensive, picture-packed Italian book on Leone, S.T.D.W.D. will stand for a long time as the essential Leone tome. Literate, balanced, and exhaustive, this book is a triumph in every respect.

5-0 out of 5 stars Masterful biography
There aren't too many directors who could inspire me to read a 576-page tome about their career. In fact, apart from a handful of auteurs to whom I'm still trying to speak and the dozen or so who have opened their hearts to Cashiers du Cinemart, there aren't too many directors I'd even like to read about. Yet, of all directors-past and present-it's only Sergio Leone's name that I've been scanning for when I troll the "directors biographies" section at Borders Bookstore. Sure, sure, maybe it'd be fun to read a nicely done work on Fritz Lang or Kenji Misumi but it's Leone who presents me with the biggest challenges.
This Italian mastermind helmed a handful of films, nearly all of which would rank among my favorites. More than creating some damn fine work, Leone's style influenced untold filmmakers. His films were operas powered by the music of Ennio Morricone. His dialogue's sparseness made it all the more powerful. Leone didn't shy away from embracing the language of cinema and creating his own dialect.

Remarkably, though Leone's filmography can be tallied on both hands, the breadth of rumours and conflicting stories are enough to easily fill Frayling's tome. Luckily, Fraying isn't above questioning the veracity of his subject. While never denying Leone respect, Frayling doesn't shirk his journalistic duty to present as many facets of the fiery, passive-aggressive auteur as possible.

Something to Do with Death takes its sweet time to get moving (I had to skip the second chapter and skim a few others before getting to the real "meat" of the book) but, once it gets going, there's little that can deter the reader from delving into the life of a truly enigmatic talent. (ISBN: 0571164382)

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
I cannot understand the first review of this book. I understood this book to be a biography of Sergio Leone, not a story about Spaghetti Westerns so I was pleasantly surprised when the author began by desribing the whole cultural background of Mr Leone. The book is certainly not without emotion, but the author has attempted to provide a detailed and unbiased insight into the life of Mr Leone.

Had the book been more "humourous" as per the intial reviwer thoughts, this would have diverted from the objective of a biography, as I am sure Sergio's life was not just fun all the time, no offense to the first reviewer ("You smell like a pig already, lets try not to make things any worse" Tuco's guard "The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly")

Mr Frayling has obviously researched his subject in a fantastically detailed way, constructing a clear picture of his life, not just by his films, but by the people around him. This is evident in that Sergio himself contacted Prof Frayling after reading his earlier book on Spagehtti Westerns as it contained information about Sergio's father that even he hadn't previously known.

Check out Cenk Kirals site for Sergio Leone info (he was thanked by the author in the book)

3-0 out of 5 stars Good but disappointing
At over 500 pages, I expected this to be an amazingly informative and enjoyable text about Leone and the spaghetti western. It succeeds, on this front, about 50% of the time. My problem with the book is that it reads like a legal report and lacks the good humour and personality that distinguished Leone's films. Much of the book is simply a listing of facts, like an encyclopedia entry, without any real narrative of Leone's life. There aren't enough stories about Leone and his family/personal life/creative process. Instead, Frayling gets carried away with descriptions of Leone's colleagues, and collaborators, often devoting pages to figures that have only a peripheral relationship to Leone. The only truly revealing info about Leone, the man, is contained in his opinions about other films and his repeated claims that he was responsible for the achievements of others. I don't know. If you're a Leone fanatic, this is a pretty authoritative text but I've read far better filmmaker biographies. ... Read more

11. The Emperor and the Wolf: The Lives and Films of Akira Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune
by Stuart Galbraith IV
list price: $40.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0571199828
Catlog: Book (2002-02)
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Sales Rank: 90876
Average Customer Review: 3.56 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The first -- and long overdue -- English-language biography of two of the world's great cinema figures.

Akira Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune made sixteen feature films together, including Rashomon, Seven Samurai, Throne of Blood, Yojimbo, and High and Low -- all undisputed masterworks of world cinema. Kurosawa's films inspired blockbuster remakes and influenced directors like George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, and Martin Scorsese. Meanwhile, Mifune virtually invented the roaming warrior rogue, a character adapted with great success by actors like Clint Eastwood, Sean Connery, Bruce Willis, and countless others. Their impact on the international film world is undisputable, yet at the very height of their abilities, Kurosawa and Mifune went their separate ways. After Red Beard in 1965 they would never work together again -- nor would they ever achieve the same level of success apart as they had together.

The Emperor and the Wolf is an in-depth look at the life and work of these two luminaries of cinema. Full of behind-the-scenes details about their tumultuous lives and stormy relationships with the studios and each other, it is also a provocative look at postwar American and Japanese culture and the different lenses through which the two societies viewed each other. ... Read more

Reviews (18)

4-0 out of 5 stars Well researched, well considered, and very welcome
The careers of Japanese film director and Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune were so intertwined -- each did much of his very best work with the other -- that it is hardly possible to think of one without the other. It was entirely fitting that a dual bio be attempted, and Galbraith is to be applauded for taking on the job and making good work of it.

Though _The Emperor and the Wolf_ looks intimidatingly thick, only 650 of its 825 pages are actual narrative (the rest is taken up by an impressively detailed filmography of the two principals which scholars will love, and extensive notes and index), and that narrative reads easily and fairly swiftly.

The emphasis is clearly on the FILMS rather than the lives of these extraordinary artists. Galbraith moves calmly over such developments as Kurosawa's 1971 suicide attempt and Mifune's mistress Mika Kitagawa. He doesn't avoid, but he doesn't dwell, either.

On the other hand, assuming the Western reader's basic ignorance of such matters (and rightly so), he takes care to summarize the work of other directors, writers, and actors whenever they crossed paths with our two heroes. Descriptions of even really bad and forgettable films that have never made it to the U.S. sometimes make one yearn to see them, never mind the many decent ones.

There are plenty of quotes from American film reviewers -- good, bad, and ugly. (I was surprised that among my favorites, Stanley Kauffmann missed the boat a few times, and John Simon utterly dismissed "Ran.") Kevin Thomas of the LA Times seems to have done the best, most consistent job of grasping what these two geniuses were doing, each time a new film came out.

Galbraith gets overly defensive about Kurosawa's final two projects, "Rhapsody in August" and "Madadayo," but is harsh with "Dreams" and doesn't hesitate to disagree with famed Japan and Japanese film expert Donald Richie on some judgments, or to point out where other commentators have missed the boat (such as in the role William Holden played in championing Japanese films -- in particular, Inagaki's "Samurai" -- in the United States).

He's not a great prose stylist -- he regularly treats "none" and "each" as plural nouns, as in "none ... have been," "each ... have been" -- and I scratched my head over the conclusion "as lightweight films go, it is something of a masterpiece" (of "Sanjuro," p. 331), as well as the meaningless "infinitely more transcendent" (p. 558).

The book includes 44 b&w photos. Most are merely okay (perhaps Richie got most of the great ones for his books), although the one of Mifune in full costume driving off the set of "Yojimbo" in his MG is priceless.

One comes away from this largely reverent book with increased respect for both its subjects (yes, that is possible!), particularly the actor, about whose modesty and professionalism there are endless testimonials.

Even as a world famous star and head of his own production studio in his 40s, Mifune would clean bathrooms and ashtrays, spray the sidewalk, fetch chairs for others. He always knew his lines, and was unfailingly kind to new, young actors. Because he acted as his own agent, he rarely received top dollar for his work, which usually meant greater gate receipts for even truly bad films after the mid 1950s.

I snapped this book up as soon as I ran across it, just over a week ago, and I'm glad I did.

2-0 out of 5 stars Does not tell us anything about Kurosawa and Mifune the men
This is a filmography, not a biography. This book focuses almost entirely on Kurosawa's and Mifune's films, giving almost no insight into what their lives were like, or what they were like as people. The first half of this 800-page book is an interminable series of synopses of their early works -- films of significance today only as harbingers of much greater things to come. (Particularly annoying is the author's endless quoting of contemporary reviews from "Variety.") The second half still focuses primarily on the films and the minutiae of their production, but provides more substance about K&W's personal lives. However, it is not nearly enough to get a clear picture of Mifune and Kurosawa as real-life people. We, the readers, always feel like fans still observing the two legends from a distance, learning almost nothing of their personal lives. For instance, barely half a page is spent on Mifune's wedding, and essentially nothing is written about his wife, Sachiko.

In addition, although this is a dual biography-the justification being that Mifune and Kurosawa did their best work together-Mr. Galbraith fails to convey what kind of relationship, whether personal or professional, the two had. Rather, the book's focus alternates from one to the other between chapters. A glaring omission in this regard is a failure to examine their famous falling out. The overly cautious author only hints that it was due to Mifune's reluctance to be tied down by the perfectionist director's lengthy shoots ("Red Beard," their last film together, took 2 years to film), that Mifune, once he gained fame, preferred quick, easy-money projects to support his luxurious lifestyle. However, almost no anecdotes are given to illustrate this or any other aspect of their relationship.

In summary, the definitive English-language biographies of Mifune and Kurosawa have yet to be written.

1-0 out of 5 stars Warning: Not a Biography
I read the warnings about this book, but I am such a film buff, Kurosawa fan, Mifune fan and all-around nerd, that I did not heed them. First thing, this book is not a biography of Mifune or Kurosawa. It should be retitled and repackaged as the "Films of Kurosawa and Mifune". This is really a filmography with extensive plot summations and notes on production. The author includes his opinion of each movie, as if I care what his opinion is. There is very little information about either of these greats. The excuse is that the war destroyed most of the documents pertaining to their early years. That does not explain the lack later on of any information about either of them. For instance, the author writes that scandal plagued Mifune in his later years, but does not go into any more detail than to mention that he had a mistress. I was very disappointed in this book and do not feel as if I learned one thing about Kurosawa or the great Toshiro Mifune.

4-0 out of 5 stars Its all about films....
I think many reviewers didn't read the subtitle of the book, "Lives and Films of....." I don't think this book was meant to be a complete kiss and tell biography of Kurosawa and Mifune, this is a book which chronicled their cooperative efforts together in making films that became great classics and their relationship with and against each other. This is a book on relationship between two giants of the Japanese film industry. It was not meant to be a total biography as so many reviewers seem to have wanted.

The book gives very good background material to both men but its always about the relationship between the two. After both men split up after Red Beard, the author took pains to how see each one of them dealt with their careers afterward. Kurosawa continued to have success while Mifune drifted into period films, TV shows and his achievements suffered greatly. The book also gives a great understanding on how Japanese film industry worked, how it declined and basically how it fell apart in the face of Hollywood. Even the author expressed mixed surprised how waves of American films in a foreign nation like Japan, completely converted the Japanese audience into their own as they abandoned their own film industries into Third World status.

I thought the book was well written, well researched and explained the relationship and the films made by both Kurosawa and Mifune. But for anyone looking for a true biography, look some place else, for film historians like myself, this book is a must read.

1-0 out of 5 stars Terrible as Biography
This book was quite disappointing. Most of my criticisms have already been mentioned by other reviewers, but I must emphasize that this book gives almost no sense of Kurosawa or Mifune as individuals and very, very little insight into their relationship. I was truly amazed that such a long book could fail to provide any nuanced sense of the personalities it is supposedly about. The book reads more like an annotated filmography, with endless details about minor actors and plot summaries of Japanese films that American fans will almost certainly never be able to see. I might refer to the book occasionally as a reference, but it is deadly dull reading. Not only is it not a good biography, it provides very little insight about Kurosawa's filmaking. There is some interesting historical stuff about the Japanese film industry, but that's about the only good thing I can think of to say about the book. ... Read more

12. Print the Legend : The Life and Times of John Ford
by Scott Eyman
list price: $40.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0684811618
Catlog: Book (1999-11-11)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 443140
Average Customer Review: 4.56 out of 5 stars
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Borrowing his title from dialogue in John Ford's classic Western, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance ("When the legend becomes fact, print the legend"), Scott Eyman heeds this advice in his splendid study of Ford, finding a convincing balance between the gruff image Ford cultivated and the sensitive artist that Ford truly was. The result is a to-date definitive biography, occasionally prone to indelicate critical assessment while benefiting greatly from Eyman's full access to the Ford family archives. Arguably the greatest American filmmaker of the 20th century, Ford protected himself with a façade of belligerence yet engendered more loyalty among his crew and stock players (notably John Wayne and Ward Bond) than any other director. Eyman illuminates the Ford legend while focusing on fact--on a complex genius who would berate even the most vulnerable actor and then "apologize without apologizing," a binge drinker who never let alcohol interfere with his closely-guarded artistry, and a stalwart Navy captain whose service in World War II became his primary source of pride.

Print the Legend essentially confirms Ford's brief affair with Katharine Hepburn, but Eyman emphasizes Ford's deep, abiding affection for his wife, Mary, who valiantly tolerated his absolute devotion to filmmaking. While hundreds of interviews yield a comprehensive account of Ford's working methods (which the director was loathe to discuss), Eyman expertly navigates around Ford's own penchant for autobiographical embellishment. What emerges is likely to remain the most thorough portrait of a cinematic master who recognized his own greatness without parading it, and whose human flaws were ultimately forgivable by those--and they were many--who loved him. Readers should look elsewhere for more astute studies of Ford's films, but Eyman has captured Ford the man with lasting authority. -- Jeff Shannon ... Read more

Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book about John Ford
I have read a number of the available books about John Ford. While this book doesn't convey a lot of the warmth that Harry Carey's personal treatment does, it is perhaps the best attempt to sum up what made John Ford one of Hollywood's greatest directors. It is clear the author has made an intensive study of Ford's work, and even more clear that he admires it. This book largely doesn't try to judge Ford, just to explain him. For that, we owe Eyman a great degree of gratitude. Too many other authors have, confronted with the genius of Ford's direction, tried to discount it because of the cracks in his personal approach to life and actors, or possibly because of personal jealousy. You must judge Ford the director on his work, and his time, not on our opinions of what he could have done better in his personal life, or according to our "politically correct" views of what he should have done, and this book does an excellent job on judging Ford by the standards of his time, and his life. This is a masterful attempt at explaining Hollywood's master director.

4-0 out of 5 stars Why?
I was eager to read this biography because I have seen most of the films directed by John Ford and was interested in knowing more about "his life and times." I learned a great deal. Eyman provides a wealth of information. However, given Richard Schickel's observation that Ford was a director who "delighted in in cruelty, publicly humiliating his casts and crews, a man who carried petty grudges for punishing decades and someone whose wihdrawals and silences profoundly damaged his family," the title of one of my favorite Ford films -- They Were Expendable -- reveals more about Ford's the reasons for so many failed human relationships than it does about a PT boat squadron during the first year of War War II. Does Eyman agree with Schickel? Even if he does, he fails to explain what Schickel calls "the complicated truth" about John Ford in Print the Legend.

5-0 out of 5 stars Print the Legend: The Life and Times of John Ford
I've read other books on this great Hollywood director, and while I can't comment on their relative accuracy, I can say that Eyman's book is the most readable I've found. He writes with a wonderfully fluid style, finds exactly the right balance between enough detail and too much, and mixes in some penetrating observations about the films and their style. He really captures that curious paradox of how artistic genius and personality disturbance can coexist within the same mind.

4-0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive almost to a fault...
Unless you are old like me and remember many John Ford movies from their original 50's release dates, or you have a semi-professional interest in film directing, this book offers more than one needs to know about a complex, often unlikeable, sometimes generous, routinely selfish genius. It isn't just a bio of John Ford, respected director with a 40-year also functions as a partial history of movie-making itself, since Ford began before 1920, when films were silent, and ended up in the mid-60's, when wide screens, technicolor, blatant sex and violence and changes in how movies were financed stranded him in a very different professional atmosphere. To a person with a more casual interest in Ford and his films, like me, the book had many surprises. Ford was cruel on the set to many actors whom he befriended away from the cameras, John Wayne and Hank Fonda included. Ford was a binge drinker, and kept his sprees separate from his duties until the mid-1950's, rather late in his progressive alcoholism. Ford was capable of great kindness, generosity and loyalty, but also held grudges for decades. He was not only personally brave in World War II while filming the real battle of Midway, he was tuned in enough to have joined the Navy and prepared for documenting the war on film a full year before Pearl Harbor. He also showed courage in standing up to the Communist witch-hunts in the early 50's. He was sometimes a liberal Democrat, sometimes a conservative Republican. His final decade was full of illness and idleness and loneliness and undoubtedly some bitterness. If you are a lover of "American" movies, John Ford's story will be essential for you. I'm glad I read it, but I don't think I'll ever need to read it a second time, or keep the book in my personal collection.

2-0 out of 5 stars Just Another Ford Bio
I certainly wish I could join the parade of accolades on Scott Eyman's "Print the Legend." It is just yet another version of the many-times-told tales of the life of the eccentric, gifted director, John Ford. It seemed that Eyman was using a lot of words to say much less than other biographies on Ford - specifically that of Ronald L. Davis who wrote "John Ford - Hollywood's Old Master" my John Ford bio of preference.

As I read Scott's book, I began affixing red flag tabs on pages that have passages that are totally contradictory to what other people "who were there" had shared with me. I also had problems with quoted statements of Ford's co-workers and/or friends - sometimes having to look to a preceding page to see the identity of the person Eyman was quoting.

I know it is extremely difficult to write a bio when so many of those significant in life of the subject have passed on; much of the information is hopefully well substantiated facts, mixed with hearsay. Eyman is certainly a fine writer, and writing about the life of a man who thrived on telling lies to confuse and irritate as many people as possible, is not an easy project.

This is not a book I would buy - just check out at the library. ... Read more

13. A Third Face : My Tale of Writing, Fighting, and Filmmaking
list price: $35.00
our price: $23.10
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Asin: 0375401652
Catlog: Book (2002-11-05)
Publisher: Knopf
Sales Rank: 65408
Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In his new book, Samuel Fuller, independent director-producer extraordinaire, tells the story of
his life, a life that spanned most of the twentieth century. His twenty-nine tough, gritty pictures made from 1949 to 1989 set out to capture the truth of war, racism, and human frailties, and incorporate some of his own experiences.

He writes of his years in the newspaper business—selling papers as a boy on the streets of New York, working for Hearst’s New York Journal American, first as a copyboy, then as personal runner for the famous Hearst editor in chief Arthur Brisbane. His film Park Row was inspired by his years as a reporter for the New York Evening Graphic, where his beat included murders, suicides, state executions, and race riots—he scooped every other New York paper with his coverage of the death by drug overdose of the legendary Jeanne Eagels.

Fuller writes about hitchhiking across the country, seeing America firsthand at the height of the Great Depression. He writes of his years in the army . . . fighting with the first infantry division in World War II, called the Big Red One . . . on the front lines during the invasion of North Africa and Sicily, and landing on Omaha Beach on D Day, June 6, 1944. These experiences he later captured in his hugely successful pictures The Big Red One, The Steel Helmet, and Merrill’s Marauders, which was based on the true story of a three-thousand-man infantry that fought behind enemy lines in Burma in 1944.

Fuller talks about directing his first picture (he also wrote the script), I Shot Jesse James . . . and how, as a result, he was sought after by every major studio, choosing to work for Darryl Zanuck of Twentieth Century Fox. We see him becoming one of the most prolific, independent-minded writer-directors, turning out seven pictures in six years, among them Pickup on South Street, House of Bamboo, and China Gate. He writes about making Underworld U.S.A., a movie that shows how gangsters in the 1960s were no longer seen as thugs but as “respected” tax-paying executives . . . about the making of the movie Shock Corridor—about a journalist trying to solve a murder in a lunatic asylum—which exposed the conditions in mental institutions . . . and about White Dog (written in collaboration with Curtis Hanson), a film so controversial that Paramount’s then studio heads, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Michael Eisner, refused to release it.

Honest, open, engrossing. A must for anyone interested in movies.
... Read more

Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars We need a guy like Fuller to come out of the sky
We need a guy like Fuller to come back in this age of corporate greed and fascism. That's the first thing that came to mind as I ventured into the first few pages of this memoir. I myself am a filmmaker, and have been moved by Jean Renoir's autobiography, MY LIFE MY FILMS and I find this to be it's American partner. The sheer sense of freedom and protection for democracy which Sam Fuller speaks of when describing his actions and decisions throughout his career inspired me greatly. He is the example of a man who refused to be a governement stooge when his film always showed both sides of the issue, and I believe that anyone who is making films now should read this book to see that they don't have to make the people with the money happy. Where are the Sam Fullers of the world now where have they all gone. His message has gotten to me.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sam Fuller, Independent
An amazing man, an amazing life, an amazing body of work. Sam Fuller was the real deal, he lived the life of 10 men. As a boy selling newspapers, to being a teenage crime reporter to a writer of pulp fiction. At age 29 Sam joined the army, he turned down the cushy army journalist job to be in first infantry "The Big Red One". The book covers his fighting in N. Africa, Italy, and his role in the third row of boats landing on Normandy. Later, he went to Hollywood and directed films, his way, one of the first independent filmmakers. He made "Merril's Mauraders, I shot Jesse James, Run of the Arrow, Pickup on South Street and the Steel Helmet. In the 60's he made the classic pulp films "Shock Corridor" and "The Naked Kiss" ...

He was offered "Patton" but wouldn't do it because he though Patton was an jerk. He was offered John Wayne movies, but wouldn't do it because he thought Wayne was a phony. He had full control of his films, when that was a rarity.

In 1980, after 20+years of wrangling, he finally made the film based on his battle history, "The Big Red One" with James Coburn. Probably the most realistic WWII film out there.

Fuller died a few years back, unknown to many, but loved by those in the know.

Sam Fuller lived the life of 10 men and his book is the best read I've had in years, go get it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Inherently fascinating reading for film buffs
A Third Face: My Tale Of Writing, Fighting, And Filmmaking by Samuel Fuller (with the posthumous and collaborative assistance of his wife Christa Lang Fuller and longtime friend Jerome Henry Rudes) features a Foreword by Martin Scorsese and and presents the reader with an autobiographical account of one of Hollywood's most prolific and independent writer/director/producers. The late Samuel Fuller (1911-1997) made 29 tough, gritty films from 1949 to 1989. His film "Park Row" was inspired by his years in the New York newspaper business. His years of service in the army during World War II provided material for his films "The Big Red One", "The Steel Helmet", and "Merrill's Marauders. From "Pickup on South Street" and "Underworld U.S.A.", to "Shock Corridor" and White Dog", A Third Face provides the story behind the films and the man who created them. A Third Face is highly recommended and inherently fascinating reading for film buffs and students of 20th Century American Cinema.

5-0 out of 5 stars Give that man a cigar
This is a wonderfully feisty book, the autobiography of Sam Fuller told (basically) in three parts - his years as a journalist, his years as a soldier, and his years as a filmmaker. Fuller was a colorful character, and he didn't mind raising a ruckus, something which makes for lively reading. He also saw more and did more than most of us ever will, and his book is a parade of many of the 20th century's most fascinating events and characters. My biggest regrets after reading this work are 1) that he didn't get more of his film projects on to the screen and 2) that so many of his books are out of print. If his other books are half as entertaining as this one, I very much would like to read them.

5-0 out of 5 stars A helluva yarn of a life. Go have a copy!
It was someone else's review that sparked my interest in this book. I even didn't know who this Mr. Fuller was!
Life is short, and I always look for suggestions from elder people: especially those who lived their life with passion and at full speed.

"If there's one reason to recount my personal history, something inspirational that I'd like my life experiences to offer you, the reader, be you young or young at heart, then it would be to encourage you to persist with all your heart and energy in what you want to achieve - no matter how crazy your dreams seems to others. Believe me, you will prevail over all the naysayers (...) who are telling you it can't be done!"

And inspirational indeed it is!
I warmly suggest you to read this book because it is well written, because the yarn makes sense, because it is enthralling, because it tells you a life full of energy, because it'll give you relief when you are in pain, hope when you're dreaming a better future, reasons and support while you fight for your ideals - like Fuller did, and not just in a metaphorical sense - and of course, because it's the author's true experience (i.e. it can be done - don't listen to the naysayers!).

It is possible to roughly divide this book in three parts: part one is when Fuller was able to work as a reporter in New York; part two is the tale of Fuller that chose to volunteer into the Second World War, infantry, that makes about thirty percent of an army and suffers eighty percent of its losses.
Third part (it makes up for more than half the book) tells of Fuller back from the war, when he had quite a successful career as a film director.

I'd just like to quote excerpts from the book, I think this is the best way to lure you into reading it!

A dialogue between Sam Fuller and Hank Wales: " 'Let's you and I write a movie together!' said Hank. 'Got any good stories?'
We both laughed. With all his amazing experiences, Hank Wales was asking me for a yarn. I was thrilled that such a remarkable guy wanted to collaborate with me. But I had a book to finish.
'Look, Hank,' I said, 'I'm writing the great American novel!'
'Everyone is writing the great American novel, Sammy. Forget about greatness. Let's have some fun.' "

"One guy I couldn't forget was Griff, who'd barely survived a land mine explosion. When I first got back to the States, I went down to Washington, D.C., and visited Griff at a veterans' hospital there. He was a basket case, no legs, no arms. Only mumbled words came out of his lips. Believe it or not, we had a wonderful reunion. Griff's eyes sparkled when he saw me. He laughed when I recalled some of the funny shit we'd gone through together in the war. I put my arm around his neck and kissed him, happy to find him alive. I couldn't keep the tears back. Griff didn't want me feeling sorry for him. He was born optimist and refused to accept my pity. Or anyone's. I was trembling when I left the hospital that day.

Griff's invincible spirit would always be an inspiration. I will take his optimism with me to my grave. Life is too precious and far too short to get hooked on negativity. In my scripts and stories, you'll find a helluva lot of characters named Griff. It was my way of saying thanks for his will to survive."

"Young writers and directors, seize your audience (...) as soon as the credits hit the screen and hang on to them! Smack people right in the face with the passion of your story! Make the public love your characters of hate them, but (...) never - never! - leave them indifferent!"

"You young people sitting around watching the (...) television! (...) Go see the world! Throw yourselves into different cultures! You will be always be wealthy if you count your riches, as I do, in adventures, full of life-changing experiences." ... Read more

14. Big Bosoms and Square Jaws : The Biography of Russ Meyer, King of the Sex Film
list price: $26.95
our price: $17.79
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Asin: 1400050448
Catlog: Book (2005-06-28)
Publisher: Crown
Sales Rank: 201838
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15. Child of Paradise: Marcel Carne and the Golden Age of French Cinema (Harvard Film Studies)
by Edward Baron Turk
list price: $65.00
our price: $65.00
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Asin: 0674114604
Catlog: Book (1989-02-01)
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Sales Rank: 677629
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16. George Lucas: Close Up: The Making of His Movies (Close Up)
by Chris Salewicz
list price: $13.95
our price: $13.95
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Asin: 1560252022
Catlog: Book (1999-05-01)
Publisher: Thunder's Mouth Press
Sales Rank: 425679
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Book Description

Director, writer, producer -- George Lucas has done it all. By securing the merchandising and sequel rights to his movie Star Wars and starting Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) to produce special effects, Lucas created an empire. This book covers the latest details about Lucas, his projects, and ILM. ... Read more

17. It's Only a Movie : Alfred Hitchcock: A Personal Biography
by Charlotte Chandler
list price: $26.00
our price: $17.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743245083
Catlog: Book (2005-03-02)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 159254
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In his films, Alfred Hitchcock found the perfect expression for his fantasies, and he shared those fantasies with the world in such classics as The 39 Steps, The Lady Vanishes, Rebecca, Shadow of a Doubt, Notorious, Strangers on a Train, Rear Window, The Man Who Knew Too Much, To Catch a Thief, North by Northwest, Vertigo, Psycho, and The Birds. In It's Only a Movie, Charlotte Chandler draws from her extensive conversations with Hitchcock, frequently revealing unknown facts and unexpected insights into the man, the director, and his films.

Author of acclaimed biographies of Groucho Marx, Federico Fellini, and Billy Wilder, Charlotte Chandler spent several years with Hitchcock discussing his life and his amazing career. She also talked with his wife, Alma, and daughter, Pat, as well as many of the screen legends who appeared in his films, including Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Joan Fontaine, Laurence Olivier, Michael Redgrave, John Gielgud, Gregory Peck, Henry Fonda, Tippi Hedren, James Mason, Eva Marie Saint, Kim Novak, Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, and others. The result is an intimate yet expansive portrait of a unique artist who, from the 1920s through the 1970s, created many of history's most memorable films.

A quarter-century after his death, Hitchcock's distinctive profile remains an instantly recognizable icon to millions, while his films continue to grow in popular appeal and critical esteem. Chandler introduces us to the real Hitchcock: a devoted family man, practical joker, and Englishman of Edwardian sensibilities who was one of the great masters of cinematic art. ... Read more

Reviews (5)

3-0 out of 5 stars Movies From the Past.
I saw many (probably most ) of the Hitchcock's movies in which he always made a surprise appearance.The best part of the occasion was trying to find him out in the crowd somewhere.He always was a practical joker, even in the serious films he directed.He had the most distinctive profile of anyone alive at that time (Twenties to the Seventies).

Now, he has been dead for twenty-five years and Ms. Chandler has released this comprehensive history -- why not earlier?Why now?For many years she talked with the big man himself, and later his wife, Alma and daughter Pat.She also interviewed at least sixteen of the stars he used -- he always chose a blonde female co-star and the best looking males available.Some were Cary Grant, Gregory Peck, Henry Fonda, John Gielgud, Grace Kelly, Tippi Hendren, Kim Novak, Doris Day, and Janet Leigh.

Being a Britisher made him different for us young moviegoers, but we could overlook that English accent as it was just plain fun to find him right there in his own movies.He told Ms. Chandler in one of their conversations, "I remember Ingrid Bergman coming up to me in a terrible state.Worried, miserable, high-strung, romantic, idealistic, sensitive, emotional."She said, "There's something I must tell you about my part.I don't feel it.I can't find my motivation.""I said to her, 'Ingrid, fake it.It's only a movie."

Last spring that is what a young man told me when I had written a bad review of ANCHORMAN starring Will Ferrell which I hated -- "it's only a movie."But it did not make me like it any better.

Life today is like one of Hitchcock's advice.We fake it.If we worried about terrorism and instant demoliton from an atom bomb, we'd all be basket cases.Just fake it, as he would say.

Some time ago, Ms. Chandler wrote THE ULTIMATE SEDUCTION in which she included an interview with Tennessee Williams. Now, she is finishing a book about Bette Davis.I haven't liked Bette Davis since she was the crazy one in 'What Happend to Baby Jane.'And I hated that song, 'Bette Davises Eyes."You'd think she could chose someone more respected and more talented.

4-0 out of 5 stars Hitchcock Once Over Lightly
It's no wonder that Alfred Hitchcock continues to fascinate a quarter century after his death as his work resonates still. Author Charlotte Chandler has written a breezy history of Hitchcock the master filmmaker. It's by no means the best one on the market, as I feel Donald Spoto wrote the authoritative biography in 1983, "The Dark Side of Genius: The Life of Alfred Hitchcock", and Francois Truffaut published his famous comprehensive interview with Hitchcock in 1967. I would recommend either before diving into this dishy memoir, but it's good fun about his professional life nonetheless.

Chandler breaks down Hitchcock's story movie by movie in chronological order. Each section deals anecdotally with each film, noting the little triumphs and failures inherent in any project and including the actors' impressions of working for the master of suspense. Contrary to popular belief, many were genuinely impressed by Hitchcock's genius almost to the point of genuflection, and the book is full of recollections of his kindnesses, hardly the dark portrait Spoto painted nor Hitchcock himself with the characters in his films.In fact, according to Chandler, he did not readily abandon his actors as is widely believed. Rather, everyone simply agreed he knew what he wanted and with supreme confidence, Hitchcock dictated a set like a consummate professional. To the thinner-skinned, he was an icy control freak. His no-fuss filmmaking style comes across in Chandler's colorful descriptions of the classics he directed. Sometimes, Chandler insinuates herself into the narrative to the point of being intrusive, as if she needs to validate her qualifications for writing this biography. It can get irritating, but luckily her insights offset much of the over-personalized perspective. Just reviewing his filmography in such gently provocative detail is reason enough to buy this book, whether it's "Rebecca", "Shadow of a Doubt", "Notorious", "Strangers on a Train", "Rear Window", "Vertigo'', "North by Northwest", "Psycho", "The Birds", or his earlier English pictures.An entertaining read about a true character and a deservedly legendary director.

5-0 out of 5 stars Exquisite!
I could not put aside the newest book by Charlotte Chandler "it's Only A Movie". What I love most about it is that besides being very complete and thorough, it is also quite intimate. Charlotte Chandlers open minded and non judgemental insights bring many mistirious sides of this genius into focus.

4-0 out of 5 stars A gentle, entertaining look at the "Master of Suspense"
IT'S ONLY A MOVIE: Alfred Hitchcock -- A Personal Biography is the latest (and certainly not the greatest) look at the life of the famed suspense director.

Charlotte Chandler, whose other celebrity biographies include NOBODY'S PERFECT: Billy Wilder -- A Personal Biography; I, FELLINI; and HELLO, I MUST BE GOING: Groucho and His Friends, concentrates on Hitchcock primarily as a movie maker. The aspects of his early and later life get relatively short shrift, which many readers will no doubt appreciate, wanting to get to the meat of the matter.

Chandler presents the talented "Hitch" as a visionary, creating cinematic effects and manipulating the emotions of moviegoers for more than fifty years. His classics --- The Man Who Knew Too Much (both versions), Psycho, Vertigo, Rear Window, Rebecca, Lifeboat, Spellbound, Notorious...the list of work from one person seems ridiculous and unfair --- defined fright films that endure to this day, despite the pyrotechnical toys and other gimmicks modern directors employ to get a rise out of us. Hitchcock knew how to use a patch of light or the absence of sound to set up the audience for the constant rude awakening. He was the master of the "MacGuffin," a plot device that defies conventional explanation, which Chandler describes as "something that motivates characters to take dangerous chances for something they must have.... In The 39 Steps it's a secret airplane engine design. In The Lady Vanishes and in Foreign Correspondent it's a secret diplomatic message...."

Hitchcock was a bit of an overgrown imp, she writes, not a stuffed shirt. Despite his formal bearing, he always enjoyed a good joke, particularly when it came at the good-natured expense of one of his actors. And what actors! Jimmy Stewart, Ingrid Bergman, Cary Grant, Grace Kelly, Kim Novak, James Mason, Anthony Perkins --- a veritable "who's who" of Hollywood nobility.

Although his art was complex, Hitchcock's directorial style was simple: actors should be able to get by with a minimum of instruction. Those looking for guidance learned that it must come from within. Insecurity was tolerated with great reluctance. Hitchcock had little patience for "method" actors who needed to know their motivation. Basically, he believed their motivation should be to do a good job to earn their paycheck. Chandler employs the filmmaker's catchphrase, "It's only a movie," on several occasions as evidence of Hitchcock's refusal to take anything (or anybody) too seriously.

Chandler breaks down Hitchcock's story movie by movie. Each section deals anecdotally with each film, noting the little triumphs and failures inherent in any project and including the actors' impressions of working for the master of suspense (overwhelmingly positive). Many were in awe of the legend, especially those early in their career. There are many recollections of small kindnesses, such as dinner invitations, that portray Hitchcock in an almost saintly light, despite the evil inclinations of many of his characters.

Because of its style, IT'S ONLY A MOVIE gives short shrift to the fine points that define a thorough biography, despite the title. For example, although Chandler devotes a section of the book to "The Last Years," she does not go into any substantial details about Hitchcock's own physical ailments, only that he had lost the will to live, ostensibly depressed over the illness of Alma, his beloved helpmeet.

Chandler writes in a very gossipy mien, insinuating herself into the narrative, letting the reader know that she was in with the "in crowd." One wonders what she had in mind with the subtitle "A Personal Biography." Which "person" is she talking about? It often seems to be herself. She peppers her remarks with phrases like, "He told me..." or "I said to him...." Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it can be wearing after a while.

IT'S ONLY A MOVIE may not be on a scholarly par with other Hitchcock biographies, such as Patrick McGilligan's ALFRED HITCHCOCK: A Life in Darkness and Light or THE A-Z OF HITCHCOCK: The Ultimate Reference Guide, by Howard Maxford, or the dozens of studies of specific films or groups of films (Murray Pomerance's AN EYE FOR HITCHCOCK or FRAMING HITCHCOCK: Selected Essays from the Hitchcock Annual, edited by Sidney Gottlieb and Christopher Brookhouse). But it is a gentle, entertaining look at a paradoxically gentle and entertaining man.

--- Reviewed by Ron Kaplan

5-0 out of 5 stars Affectionate, insightful and surprisingly informative.
There have been many past biographies published about the master filmmaker, but this very personal memior about the legendary man is a perceptive study of his private life with warm and glowing rememberences by those who knew him, not just as one of the world's most accomplished and revered film directors, but as a very special human being who continues to amaze and impress a future generation of filmmakers and moviegoers. Charlotte Chandler's detailed research and her insightful interviews with his friends and family, collaborators, casts and crews have paid off handsomely with this wonderfully entertaining and informative book that I most highly recommend. ... Read more

18. You'll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again
by Julia Phillips
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0451205332
Catlog: Book (2002-04-01)
Publisher: New American Library
Sales Rank: 235350
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Oscar-winning producer Julia Phillips's work on Taxi Driver, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and The Sting made her famous. This is the memoir that made her infamous-a downfall chronicle of a private hell that could only have been written by someone with nothing left to lose.

"The hottest book of the year." (Newsweek)

"A hell of a story." (San Francisco Chronicle)

"One of the most honest books ever written about one of the most dishonest towns ever created." (Boston Globe)

"Gossip too hot even for the National Enquirer...(If your name's in here, take two Valium and read on)." (Los Angeles Magazine)

"A blistering look at la la land. A biting tale." (USA Today)

"Fuel-injected dishing." (New York Newsday)

"This no-holds-barred autobiography dissects scathing detail...will no doubt bring Hollywood to its knees." (Mirabella)

"The ultimate Hollywood chronicle...the story of a life at the top." (Anne Rice)
... Read more

Reviews (32)

3-0 out of 5 stars Lunch in the Fast Lane
I recently picked up "You'll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again" at my local Store ...after all, I like a change from the fantasy of novel reading, to the fantasy of stars and their satelites. If it's cheap enough. I enjoy the irony of the tales of wealth and excesses of people who have (& abuse) so much, while we mere mortals are stressing over the next rent payment, thankful we aren't among the homeless and hungry.

I expected standard Hollywood dirt-dishing. I was unprepared for the vengeful & venomous whining from a woman who'd once set a new standard for women in 'the industry', yet never saw she'd helped create the viper's nest she later exposed in over 600 paqes of difficult to read complaining.

Yet I read it all. I thought the bitter and mean-spirited texture of the book, with it's raw self-revelation/loathing theme, would have some gentler conclusion, message, or lesson learned by the author. It didn't. As tough as Julia Phillips was, she never beat her Hollywood.

Julia lost sight of the fact that though she was singular in a particular era of film making, she was not unique in the battle with the temptations of self-medication, or the quest for happiness we all make. This "but I'm so special as a woman" sexist vein is the glue that held this book together, and would have been acceptable to the reader if we could feel at the end that Julia ever really "got it". I found the book drew me into the nastiness, though it seemed obvious the fine details of every deal or friendship were written for insiders. Name- dropping as the weapon of choice.

We all love the movies; have our favorite actors and directors; we like to believe there really is some impossible magic, and that true artistry will win out and be noticed in a flood of wannabes. Julia tells us that's not the case. One must admire the uncompromising dog-fight honesty of her book, if not the mercenary sour grapes.

Last night, watching the 2002 Oscars, I learned that Julia had died. And I saw Robert Redford's moving speech, with his plea for freedom of expression. I hope that is possible; Julia's book makes me fear it's not. Is Sundance still as unsullied as at its original conception?

Julia would not have missed the irony of me finding her book in the [local] store, in barely read condition.

5-0 out of 5 stars Just regular folks ..gone wrong
Not all HOllywood high rollers are born cool and ultra-confident. This book documents that fact and proves it, as it walks us through the rise and fall of one of Hollywood's finest. This book gets down to earth and tells the story of a young woman born into a middle class family in NY (where else?!) who rapidly rises to the heights of success and fame in her profession and spirals down, almost as rapidly. Truth is always more intersting than fiction and this book proves it.

1-0 out of 5 stars incredibly boring
Good alternate titles for this book would be "Look at Me, I'm Self Absorbed" or "Drugs Make You Boring."

If you're old enough to have a mild interest in reading very dull anecdotes about people like Al Pacino and Robert Redford -- and you can find some entertainment value in endless pages of "then I took a Valium, and then I took some cocaine, and then I glimpsed Liza Minelli in the crowd, and then I took half a Valium" interspersed with more endless pages of "my mommy wasn't perfect, poor poor me!" then you might be able to tolerate this book.

Otherwise, I don't recommend it.

5-0 out of 5 stars No one is spared, not even the butler.....
Do you want to know what really goes on behind the scenes? Behind the doors of oversized mansions that house beautiful antiques, Van Gogh masterpieces, and people who want you to love them, but not know them? If you don't mind having your idol's foibles laid bare for the whole world to see. Read this book. Simply put, read this book.

3-0 out of 5 stars oooo not a new yorker, who cares
The book was okay for what it was. Not an original idea, personally I would read the sample pages closely to see if her writing style is what you would like read. She definitely is not beating a dead horse like some writers. I will say there is no prize either....

I think it is interesting to read reviews from other people here who happen to be authorities on New York, when they live 1 hour away In New Jersey. What, can't afford Far Hills?
This is a great place to come and air grievances, but please the East Coast/West Coast discrimination is very middle aged. Who really cares about the differences? No one I know. Except people who are athorities on what others are thinking.

Have a great day! :-) Keep smiling!! ... Read more

19. Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures
by Christiane Kubrick
list price: $40.00
our price: $25.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0821228153
Catlog: Book (2002-10)
Publisher: Bulfinch
Sales Rank: 130783
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

One of the great film directors of our time, Stanley Kubrick had a profound influence on motion pictures. He was a notoriously private man, rarely granting interviews. For the first time, his life will be portrayed in over 200 images from film, photographs, and the words and full-color paintings of Christiane Kubrick, his wife for over 42 years. Never before seen photographs offer a unique perspective on a man, his times, and his films-from his very first, Day of Flight (1950), through to his last and unrealized project, finished by Steven Spielberg, A.I. (2001). STANLEY KUBRICK: A Life in Pictures explores the many and varied aspects of its subject-the director, the producer, the photographer, the writer and, not least of all, the man himself. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars The Man Behind the Camera
"Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures" is more of a compendium to the documentary video released with the Kubrick Collection boxed set than a book of its own inspration. It's a trip through times past for both wife and author Christiane Kubrick as well as for the viewer who grew up with Kubrick's marvelous films. The book allows a deeper and more accessible view of the Man Behind the Camera.

Watching Kubrick's films, one gets the sense that something greater than a single man is directing these movies. Looking at these behind the scenes photos I hear the words "Dont' pay attention to the man behind the camera," as Kubrick plays the Almighty Oz in the production of his films.

The book is presented in a large hardback volume with glossy pages; all of the photos are black and white. We see Stanley from an infant all the way through to his work on "Eyes Wide Shut." The final pages also offer some pre-production sketches for "Artificial Intelligence." It is less of a book to read than a book to look through, although there are small captions to each picture that Christiane gives the reader the time and place and offers a little insight into Stanley's thinking.

With a foreward by Stephen Spielberg (the eventual director for "A.I."), "Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures" is designed for the Kubrick fan, but serves as a memoir for Mrs. Kubrick. As she mentions in the introduction, "The photographs will...correct the mistaken view of Stanley as some sort of isolationist misanthrope out of Dr. Mabuse by way of Howard Hughes."

4-0 out of 5 stars An insightful photographic odyssey.
'STANLEY KUBRICK: A Life In Pictures' (c. Oct 2002) by Mrs. Christiane Kubrick, is an insightful photographic odyssey of Stanley Kubrick, America's very original and probably only auteur director.

Mrs. Kubrick presented, in chronological order, rare family photographs of Stanley Kubrick from his childhood in the Bronx and through his teenage years in high school and working for LOOK magazine. This included his very first 1945 photograph of a newspaper vendor he sold for twenty-five dollars to that publication.

The chronology then continued as a mix of Stanley Kubrick in his various movie publicity stills and with candid photographs of the behind the scenes activity as Director Kubrick lined up his shots on movie cameras; interacted with his crew; conversed with his stars; "having a little game of chess"; or the very obvious serious discussions with cast and technicians. (The pictures of Stanley Kubrick cracking-up laughing on the set of '2001' are priceless; as are the touching photographs of him holding his young children.) The photographs continued until the filming of his last movie, 'Eyes Wide Shut', showing a mature and greying director.

And for those who follow the interesting lives of the actors in his films, 'STANLEY KUBRICK: A Life In Pictures' provided dozens of revealing off-camera images of his interactions with such noted personalities as: Marlon Brando; Kirk Douglas; Lawrence Olivier; James Mason; George C. Scott; and Sterling Hayden. Equally as interesting as his cinematographic technique was his managerial style as he presided over some of Hollywood's most powerful movie stars, dozens of cast and crew, and sometimes thousands of extras, which one can only infer from the objectivity of this black & white photographic collection.

This collection contained a touch of poignancy as photo #57 showed a publicity still of Stanley Kubrick, Sterling Hayden, and Kola Kwariani pouring over a chess game together in the chess club set of 'The Killing'. In this 1956 movie, Kola Kwariani played professional wrestler Maurice Oboukhoff, who instigated a very memoriable diversion for the race track robbery. In real life, Kola Kwarinani was a real wrestler and expert chess player who played in the same New York 'Chess & Checker Club' (alias The Flea House) as Stanley Kubrick. The neighborhood changed, and in February 1980 at age 77 while playing in 'The Flea House' Kola Kwariani was beaten to death by five black teenage hoodlums.

The book: 'STANLEY KUBRICK: A Life In Pictures' is neither biography nor history but simply an important collection of objective photography mutely capturing the working details, values, and personality of America's only world class movie director.

As a suggestion, first read the biography: 'STANLEY KUBRICK: A Biography' (c.1997) by Vincent LuBrutto, to fully appreciate Mrs. Christiane Kubrick's impressive photographic compilation. Only then does the revealing photographs of her husband answer the many questions induced by all the incomplete written biographies on Stanley Kubrick. ... Read more

20. Mythmaker: The Life and Work of George Lucas
by John Baxter
list price: $27.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0380978334
Catlog: Book (1999-10-01)
Publisher: William Morrow & Company
Sales Rank: 729818
Average Customer Review: 2.12 out of 5 stars
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Among the wave of film directors who brought fresh blood and maverick sensibilities to southern California in the early 1960s--including Francis Ford Coppola, John Milius, Brian DePalma, and Martin Scorsese--none could have seemed less likely than George Lucas, the short, painfully shy car nerd from Modesto, California. And yet, in a mere four appearances behind the camera over 20 years, he managed to change Hollywood and fundamentally alter the culture. In this lively and informative biography, John Baxter weaves interviews with Modesto townies and Lucas cronies into a portrait of the man as an artistically gifted loner with a grocer's feeling for budgets--an important director who was also unmanned by directing and a self-effacing man whose notes for Star Wars reveal an ambition to make an American epic on the scale of Kurosawa's samurai stories. Baxter skillfully shades in Lucas's emotionally straitened adolescence, his lack-of-anything-better-to-do enrollment in USC's film school, and his relationship with Coppola, whose operatic maneuverings made the small, European-ish American Graffiti possible, even as his flamboyance estranged the two. Baxter also takes Lucas to task--Lucas lied about losing his virginity in the back seat of a car, he argues--but by the end the author has been won over, appreciating Lucas's films less than he admires the basic goodness and integrity of the man who put up money for Kurosawa's Ran and Coppola's Tucker, for no other reason than because he felt that small-town boy's sense of debt to his mentors. --Lyall Bush ... Read more

Reviews (8)

3-0 out of 5 stars Inaccurate But Still Good
I am a big George Lucas fan and I found a few errors in this book. The one that really bothered me was that the author repeatedly stated that Jim Henson did the puppeteering and voice for Yoda. IT WAS FRANK OZ NOT JIM HENSON! That was soooo annoying! I kept wishing that the author was around so that I could just scream it in his face!

Other than these small details, the book was pretty good. But still, I can't help but wonder what else was inaccurate that I just took as new information.

1-0 out of 5 stars A Surprising Disappointment...
I've always been a Lucasfilm/Star Wars fanatic, and have always gobbled up any shred of info, whether it be about the stories, or the behind-the-scenes realm. I'm one of those fans who knows the names of the modelmakers responsible for those great, worn ships in the original film.

And while I am a bit over the top in regards to what I know, this in no way absolves John Baxter for the mountainous errors in his work. Just because I'm sharp on a lot regarding Lucas doesn't mean that Baxter's innacurracies won't be such a sin if they fall on uninformed ears.I won't go through each and every flaw, but let me just warn you that this book drops the ball repeatedly regarding what Lucasfilm fans would call rudimentary data.

I t's best to bypass this mess and select David Pollock's "Skywalking" instead. It's the oldest and still the best bio on this great talent. Another book that proved to be immensely entertaining (though only covering the era of the first trilogy) was Garry Jenkin's "Empire Building." If it's behind the scenes Star Wars stuff you're after, then this is absolutely THE book to get.
In closing, I'm most disappointed with Mythmaker because it pales in comparison to Baxter's Steven Spielberg bio released a few years before. It makes me wonder how accurate (or innacurate) THAT bio was.....

3-0 out of 5 stars It's a little harsh on Lucas...
This was the first real biography I read of George Lucas; since it I have read Dave Pollock's Skywalking, which is a far better and balanced look at the creator of Star Wars, George Lucas.

John Baxter's bio on Lucas is really mean toward its subject. In his narrative of the filmmaker's life he routinely slams Lucas, pointing out all the mistakes George made in his life and never really focusing on the happiness Lucas has brought to millions of moviegoers with the Star Wars and Indiana Jones films. In the end, it seems Lucas wins over Baxter with The Phantom Menace, but considering how much Baxter seems to hate George Lucas, I think I'm reaching a little bit.

Not only does Baxter hate Lucas, his book is littered with typos and errors. He never once gets the name of Steven Spielberg's college--Long Beach State--right (he calls it the University of California, Long Beach at one point and California State College, Long Beach in another). He mangles some of the details of The Phantom Menace as well (says that Valorum was played by Ian McDiarmid, when it was Terence Stamp who really played him). Some of the more gossipy parts in the book are backed up with shoddy references, too.

Another problem is that Baxter goes off on a lot of other tangents that are only vaguely related to Lucas. For instance, he discusses what Francis Coppola was doing while Star Wars was being produced, and the problems Star Wars' director of photography--Gil Taylor--had with Stanley Kubrick. Better editing would have eliminated these parts.

If you want a better and more balanced account of George Lucas' life, read Skywalking by Dave Pollock. Pollock doesn't take a critical machete to Lucas' life or films and there aren't any editorial mistakes.

1-0 out of 5 stars Slaughter of a legend
Fans of George Lucas or his work should not read this book. Baxter has nothing positive to say either about Lucas the man or any of his films. While the narrative is generally factual, he seems to take every opportunity to attack the subject as a misanthrope, a poor businessman, an exploiter of others, and generally a maker of worthless films. Furthermore, there is practically nothing in this volume that can't be found in a work that doesn't tear Lucas down.

I don't know why John Baxter decided to write this book. Why does a self-proclaimed world-class writer invest the years of research, then proceed to write 400 pages on a subject that clearly means nothing to him?

3-0 out of 5 stars myth versus translation
I have just finished reading the italian version of this book. I can agree with some if the other reviws that some part are slow but overall the book is intriguing. I strongly advise that those in love with Lucas may be dissatisfied, in fact his image as a filmaker is fantastic, as a husband or friend less.

If possible I would recommend the original english version because in my opinion the italian translation is very bad (please advise the author) ... Read more

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