GREAT BOOKS ABOUT FILMMAKING
As usual, this is by no means definitive. Just a few I've really loved. Suggestions welcome! (Feel like @tothemaxxx would have some)
- •"It's the Pictures That Got Small: Charles Brackett on Billy Wilder and Hollywood's Golden Age" Edited by Anthony SlideThis book just came out and it is really kind of incredible. Brackett was the co-author, with director Billy Wilder, of an astonishing number of the best films ever made, and yet history has remembered him as basically a glorified typist. In these diaries, he is redeemed. It is fascinating and inspiring to get a look into the day to day of the old studio system.
- •"Getting Away With It or: The Further Adventures of the Luckiest Bastard You Ever Saw" by Steven SoderberghA combination of Soderbergh's conversations with Richard Lester and his journals from the period that saw him produce, among other things, the underseen anarchic masterpiece Schizopolis. Easy to find second hand on Amazon. A great companion piece to the lists made by our own @miggles36 and @evehewson.
- •"My Last Sigh" by Luis BuñuelA heartbreaking and insightful autobiography by the great surrealist director that finds him looking back on an unrivaled life and career while grappling with the loss of his memory.
- •"Monster" by John Gregory DunneA harrowing memoir about the realities of the film industry (at least at the time) that details Dunne's misadventures with wife Joan Didion as they wrote a screenplay that would become the Redford vehicle Up Close and Personal. Full of priceless anecdotes about the stupidity of executives including a favorite where he was asked to essentially "remake" the Marx Bros.
- •"Wanderer" by Sterling HaydenThe memoir Hayden wrote about the time he spent with his children on a boat called Wanderer, sailing around the world after he had become disenchanted with Hollywood. It is candidly written and, like the man himself, hugely compelling.
- •"Being Hal Ashby" by Nick DawsonThe only biography of one of our greatest directors, well researched and written by Nick Dawson, who now runs the Talkhouse site and podcast. Amazing to see where the man responsible for many of the great films of the 1970s came from and how he fell off just as quickly as he ascended.
- •"A Maysles Scapbook" by Albert MayslesWe lost Maysles recently, and he was a giant. This book shows the incredible breadth of the work that he did with his brother David, and the pictures and stories in it are really amazing. I was lucky enough to meet Albert once and when I brought up the book he said he hated it, that they printed it too dark and so all of his pictures looked underexposed. But don't let that deter you. This is an amazing archive of a legendary career.
- •"Mad as Hell: The Making of Network and the Fateful Vision of the Angriest Man in Movies" by Dave ItzkoffAn excellent new book about the great Paddy Chayefsky's journey in making probably the best film ever about the media.
- •"This is Orson Welles" by Orson Welles & Peter BogdanovichA dauntingly thick book of unbelievable interviews between two men who were great filmmakers and great friends. It's the closest you can get to feeling like you're hanging out with them.
- •"Our Films, Their Films" by Satyajit RayAn assemblage of film criticism by the great Indian director (see the restored Apu Trilogy in theaters this May whether you already have or not). This book's title hints at its structure, consisting of half pieces about Indian film and half pieces about films from other places. Ray was a great genius and this is a great book.