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Conversations with Wilder by Cameron Crowe

Conversations with Wilder (edition 2001)

by Cameron Crowe

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199559,063 (3.96)1
Title:Conversations with Wilder
Authors:Cameron Crowe
Info:Knopf (2001), Paperback, 400 pages
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Conversations with Wilder by Cameron Crowe


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Showing 4 of 4
Crowe obviously idolizes Wilder, so if you're looking for some fireworks here, you won't find them. But you will find some insight into Wilder's approach to filmmaking. As I am a film buff, Wilder is on the short list of my favorite directors, so this was a joy to read. ( )
  nog | Aug 21, 2009 |
A captivating trip through the oeuvre of a great filmmaker, filled with insights and anecdotes to enhance enjoyment of a wonderful collection of films. ( )
  klg19 | Jan 25, 2008 |
This book was very entertaining, thanks mostly to Wilder’s wit and willingness to talk very directly about certain subjects. I was a little disappointed, though, that Wilder proved elusive when asked other questions. That’s probably what kept the book from being a true conversation about filmmaking. I always felt like Cameron Crowe was just sitting at Wilder’s feet, asking his idol whatever questions popped into his head, and scribbling down little nuggets of wisdom as Wilder scattered them around. ( )
  bostonian71 | Jan 23, 2007 |
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Wilder, BillyContributormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375709673, Paperback)

Conversations with Wilder, an invaluable, photo-intensive volume, is a kind of remake of Truffaut's must-read interview book Hitchcock, with Cameron Crowe in the inquisitive Truffaut role and wily 93-year-old Billy Wilder as the crafty master director. Drawing on his experience interviewing the monsters of rock and his deep, shot-by-shot knowledge of Wilder's work, Crowe gently and cunningly coaxes answers from Wilder--arguably today's most influential living director--on what made his hits tick and his flops suck, along with glimpses of what might have been. Did you know Mae West and Mary Pickford spurned Sunset Boulevard and Wilder spurned Marilyn Monroe for Irma la Douce? That The Apartment was inspired by Brief Encounter and the look of Double Indemnity was based on M? The gossipy insights are great too. Bogart spat when he talked, so Wilder couldn't back-light him in Sabrina, and Audrey Hepburn's wardrobe woman had to towel her off after each take--discreetly! Wilder loathed Raymond Chandler (partly because Chandler disdained James M. Cain when adapting Double Indemnity) but gives him his due as a screenwriter: Chandler could do dialogue and descriptions, but he couldn't construct a scene. "He was a mess, but he could write a beautiful sentence," says Wilder. Agatha Christie was the opposite: "She had structure, but she lacked poetry."

Some critics scoff at Crowe (who cried while directing emotional scenes in Jerry Maguire) for taking on the cynic Wilder. But they're brothers under the skin. Both leaped from popular music journalism to directing. Both incorporate actual events in their films. Wilder keenly regrets not filming this scene in The Spirit of St. Louis, which he claims really happened: the night before his historic flight, Lindbergh's handlers talked a pretty waitress into having sex with him. They claimed he was a virgin, and likely to die on his voyage. In the hero's parade upon his return, she waves at him through the ticker-tape, but he doesn't see her. "Would have been a good scene," mourns Wilder. Without this book, we'd never have known about it. --Tim Appelo

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:03:36 -0400)

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