Writers on Film


Paul Fischer and the Man who Invented Motion Pictures

Season 1, Ep. 66

In 1888, Frenchman Louis Le Prince shot the world’s first motion picture. In 1890, he boarded a train in his home country and vanished — never to be seen again. Just a few months later, Thomas Edison announced “his” own groundbreaking motion picture device — one Le Prince’s family thought looked unsettlingly familiar…

The Man Who Invented Motion Pictures pulls back the curtain on Louis Le Prince’s life and work, dispelling the secrets that shroud each — and sheds light, for the first time, on his disappearance…

“Absorbing… bring[s] sharp forensic skills and a cool head to a narrative that has become hijacked by wild conspiracy theories” — The Sunday Times (UK)

“A fascinating, informative, skillfully articulated narrative of one of the forgotten figures in cinematic history” — Kirkus (starred review)

“Vivid character sketches, lyrical descriptions of the art and science of moviemaking, and a dramatic plot twist make this a must-read” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Combines firsthand accounts with dynamic writing to bring the Victorian era to life. A remarkable cast of characters (including Le Prince’s equally fascinating wife, Lizzie) makes for compelling reading” — Library Journal

“A captivating whodunit [and] a lens on the development of cinema itself… Briskly paced and elegant… Indisputably dramatic” — Harper’s Magazine

“Absorbing, forensic and jaw-dropping” — Total Film

“Partly a fascinating history, partly a surprisingly twisted whodunit, and entirely an insightful story of human intrigue” — Deborah Blum, Pulitzer-Prize winning author of The Poisoner’s Handbook

“A gripping tale that holds its own against any Hitchcockian thriller” — New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Keishin Armstrong

“Meticulous and entertaining… persuasively solves the 130-year-old mystery of Le Prince’s disappearance and death. A terrific book” — Jill Jonnes, author of Empires of Light and Eiffel’s Tower

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Meg Gardiner turns up the HEAT 2

Season 1, Ep. 73
Instant #1 New York Times Bestseller!Michael Mann, four-time-Oscar-nominated writer-director of The Last of the Mohicans, The Insider, Ali, Miami Vice, Collateral, and Heat teams up with Edgar Award–winning author Meg Gardiner to deliver Mann’s first novel, an explosive return to the universe and characters of his classic crime film—with an all-new story unfolding in the years before and after the iconic movie“Heat 2 is now one of my favorite suspense novels. . . . I’m already quoting lines from Heat 2 to my writer friends (shamelessly saying the lines are mine).” – James PattersonOne day after the end of Heat, Chris Shiherlis (Val Kilmer) is holed up in Koreatown, wounded, half delirious, and desperately trying to escape LA. Hunting him is LAPD detective Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino). Hours earlier, Hanna killed Shiherlis’s brother in arms Neil McCauley (De Niro) in a gunfight under the strobe lights at the foot of an LAX runway. Now Hanna’s determined to capture or kill Shiherlis, the last survivor of McCauley’s crew, before he ghosts out of the city.In 1988, seven years earlier, McCauley, Shiherlis, and their highline crew are taking scores on the West Coast, the US-Mexican border, and now in Chicago. Driven, daring, they’re pulling in money and living vivid lives. And Chicago homicide detective Vincent Hanna—a man unreconciled with his history—is following his calling, the pursuit of armed and dangerous men into the dark and wild places, hunting an ultraviolent gang of home invaders.Meanwhile, the fallout from McCauley’s scores and Hanna’s pursuit cause unexpected repercussions in a parallel narrative, driving through the years following Heat.Heat 2 projects its dimensional and richly drawn men and women into whole new worlds—from the inner sanctums of rival crime syndicates in a South American free-trade zone to transnational criminal enterprises in Southeast Asia. The novel brings you intimately into these lives. In Michael Mann’s Heat universe, they will confront new adversaries in lethal circumstances beyond all boundaries.Heat 2 is engrossing, moving, and tragic—a masterpiece of crime fiction with the same extraordinary ambitions, scope, and rich characterizations as the epic film.

David Koenig Shoots Columbo

Season 1, Ep. 72
DavColumbo was arguably the most popular and most unique television mystery series ever—even though, within two minutes of the titles, the audience already knew the murderer’s identity. The show captivated tens of millions of viewers for 69 adventures produced over 35 years. Yet if star Peter Falk had gotten his way, it would have run far longer.Columbo was never formally cancelled, just subtly killed off. Twice. Who was to blame? The temperamental lead who would rather work in movies? The budget-conscious studio, exhausted with the star’s demands? Or was it the meddling television studios, searching for a younger, hipper replacement?Discover the solution in Shooting Columbo: The Lives and Deaths of TV’s Rumpled Detective. Author David Koenig takes you behind the scenes to witness the creation and making of every case, from the pilot Prescription: Murder (and its earlier incarnations on The Chevy Mystery Show and on stage) to the final special, Columbo Likes the Nightlife.You’ll discover the origins of the Lieutenant’s unseen wife, the lethargic Dog, the wrinkled raincoat, the wheezing 1959 Peugeot, and “Just one more thing....” The narrative draws on scores of exclusive interviews with the show’s writers, producers, directors and other creative personnel, as well as previously unpublished studio records, including scripts, memos, production reports, casting sheets, and business diaries. They will transport you to the harried story conferences, the heated confrontations, and take... after take... after take... of filming.The “shooting” of Columbo was filled with backstage intrigue and larger-than-life personalities who, through it all, created unforgettable classic television.