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Conversations with Wilder

ISBN-10: 0375709673
ISBN-13: 9780375709678
Edition: 2001
Authors: Cameron Crowe
List price: $22.50
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Description: In Conversations with Wilder, Hollywood's legendary and famously elusive director Billy Wilder agrees for the first time to talk extensively about his life and work. Here, in an extraordinary book with more than 650 black-and-white photographs --  More...

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Book details

List price: $22.50
Copyright year: 2001
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 9/25/2001
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 400
Size: 8.25" wide x 10.25" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 2.354
Language: English

In Conversations with Wilder, Hollywood's legendary and famously elusive director Billy Wilder agrees for the first time to talk extensively about his life and work. Here, in an extraordinary book with more than 650 black-and-white photographs -- including film posters, stills, grabs, and never-before-seen pictures from Wilder's own collection -- the ninety-three-year-old icon talks to Cameron Crowe, one of today's best-known writer-directors, about thirty years at the very heart of Hollywood, and about screenwriting and camera work, set design and stars, his peers and their movies, the studio system and films today. In his distinct voice we hear Wilder's inside view on his collaborations with such stars as Barbara Stanwyck, Gary Cooper, Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, William Holden, Audrey Hepburn, and Greta Garbo (he was a writer at MGM during the making of Ninotchka. Here are Wilder's sharp and funny behind-the-scenes stories about the making of A Foreign Affair, Double Indemnity, Sunset Boulevard, Love in the Afternoon, Some Like It Hot, The Apartment, and Ace in the Hole, among many others. Wilder is ever mysterious, but Crowe gets him to speak candidly on Stanwyck: "She knew the script, everybody's lines, never a fault, never a mistake"; on Cary Grant: "I had Cary Grant in mind for four of my pictures . . . slipped through my net every time"; on the "Lubitsch Touch": "It was the elegant use of the super-joke." Wilder also remembers his early years in Vienna, working as a journalist in Berlin, rooming with Peter Lorre at the Chateau Marmont -- always with the same dry wit, tough-minded romanticism, and elegance that are the hallmarks of Wilder's films. This book is a classic of Hollywood history and lore.

Cameron Crowe is the writer-director of "Say Anything..." & "Singles". His latest film is "Almost Famous", the screenplay of which is also available from Faber.

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Jack Lemmon and George Cukor
Final scene of Some Like It Hot
"Cary Grant slipped through my net every time"
On Spielberg and Kubrick
"Mr. Goldwyn knew what was working"
Charles Boyer and the cockroach
Dancing in Berlin
"Laughton was everything that you can dream of, times ten"
The "Lubitsch touch"
Marilyn Monroe
Collaborating with Charles Brackett and I. A. L. Diamond
William Holden for Sunset Boulevard
Double Indemnity
"You dig?"
Audrey Hepburn
"It was a picture that looked like a newsreel"
"Fritz Lang told me, 'Look for the good shooters'"
The broken compact mirror
Thonet furniture and art direction in The Apartment
Shooting in black-and-white
Dietrich lit herself
On not losing the straight line
Jean Arthur
A Foreign Affair
"Dietrich would do anything that I wanted her to do"
The look
Ace in the Hole
"You can never predict an audience's reaction"
The Seven Year Itch
Lindbergh and The Spirit of St. Louis
Gary Cooper
"I don't shoot elegant pictures"
Dirty men and Stalag 17
"When I write, I'd like to direct. When I direct, I'd like to write"
The ghost of Sunset Boulevard hung over Fedora
"I'm a company man"
Voice-overs
"There are no rules"
Romantic comedies
"Jack Lemmon was my Everyman"
First love
The Fortune Cookie
Mother at Auschwitz
"I never introduce anybody to an agent"
Children
Jean Renoir and Fellini
"Print number one"
Picasso and Freud
"Make it true, make it seem true"
Leading men and leading ladies
"You are attracted to something which is on the screen only"
Love in the Afternoon
"I never raise my voice on the second or third take"
Close-ups
Witness for the Prosecution
Charles Laughton
Dean Martin
Some Like It Hot
"I never knew what Marilyn was going to do"
One Two Three
Cagney
"Overall, audiences are much smarter than what they are getting"
Fleeing Berlin for Paris after the Reichstag fire
"Mom was a good cook"
Reflection in the monocle
"Capra hit the times right on the head"
Preston Sturges in the Cafe Alexandre
Howard Hawks and Ball of Fire
Barbara Stanwyck dancing "Drum Boogie"
A script on scratch paper
Writing for other directors
Final shot of Ace in the Hole
"I never put much camera direction into the screenplays"
Marx Brothers
Mars and time capsules
Scoring a film
Shooting at the Hotel del Coronado
Givenchy for Audrey Hepburn
Drag in Some Like It Hot
"We have sold out to the guys making special effects"
Newspapermen in Vienna and Berlin
Ghostwriting for movies
Ginger Rogers
Avanti!
"I always need a plot"
Jazz in Berlin
"I write with the camera, but not too much"
The Front Page
Pauline Kael
"Famous 'lost sequences'"
Woody Allen
Hiding the plot point
Roommate Peter Lorre at the Chateau Marmont
Five Graves to Cairo
"Pictures were made to play for a week"
The Lost Weekend
John Barrymore
Wilder's women
"I'm at my best writing against my mood"
Working with I. A. L. Diamond
Good sentimentality
The small movie
Exercising with Billy
Salinger and Catcher in the Rye
Lubitsch and Ninotchka
"We made fifty pictures a year then. But we wrote a hundred and fifty"
"I don't make cinema, I make movies"
Monday Night Football at the Wilders'
Erotikon
"I am mostly a writer"
Timing and casting
"Lubitsch did it better"
The Movies
Miscellany
Index of Film Titles
General Index

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