Conversations with Wilder

Conversations with Wilder

Paperback

By (author) Cameron Crowe

List price $22.49

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  • Publisher: Random House Inc
  • Format: Paperback | 400 pages
  • Dimensions: 203mm x 251mm x 20mm | 953g
  • Publication date: 25 September 2001
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0375709673
  • ISBN 13: 9780375709678
  • Edition statement: Reprint
  • Illustrations note: 679 ILLUSTRATIONS IN TEXT

Product 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 -- 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.

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Author information

Cameron Crowe was an associate editor and frequent contributor to "Rolling Stone." In 1979, he wrote the book Fast Times at Ridgemont High and later adapted it as a screenplay. He wrote and directed "Say Anything, Singles," and the Academy Award-winning "Jerry Maguire." He lives in Los Angeles and Seattle.

Review quote

"A world-class director interviews the Master, and every line is fascinating. As with Zen and the Art of Archery and other texts about mastery, the shock of pleasure in reading this enlightened and affectionate conversation is the utter simplicity that comes with true mastery. There is laughter too, as with anything first-rate in this form. Wilder and Crowe don't waste time on theory or generalities, and the result -- as in their film work -- is truth, pure and simple." -- Mike Nichols "It's always best to hear straight from the director about his own work. This book of interviews is just that: rich in information and autobiographical detail, filled with wonderful anecdotes and observations, often irreverent and hilarious, and sometimes surprisingly moving. Cameron Crowe's book is like Wilder's best films: sharply observed, absolutely succinct and precise, funny but always with a very strong, serious foundation. Billy Wilder is one of the few genuine masters we have left, from a period in film history that is now gone. Which makes Conversations with Wilder all the more precious and valuable." -- Martin Scorsese

Flap copy

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 bookis a classic of Hollywood history and lore.