Writers on Film
Robert Sellers on the Greatest Year in Cinema History
1971 was a great year for cinema. Woody Allen, Robert Altman, Dario Argento, Ingmar Bergman, Stanley Kubrick, Sergio Leone, George Lucas, Sam Peckinpah, Roman Polanski, Nicolas Roeg and Steven Spielberg, among many others, were behind the camera, while the stars were also out in force. Warren Beatty, Marlon Brando, Michael Caine, Julie Christie, Sean Connery, Faye Dunaway, Clint Eastwood, Jane Fonda, Dustin Hoffman, Steve McQueen, Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino and Vanessa Redgrave all featured in films released in 1971.
The remarkable artistic flowering that came from the ‘New Hollywood’ of the ’70s was just beginning, while the old guard was fading away and the new guard was taking over. With a decline in box office attendances by the end of the ’60s, along with a genuine inability to come up with a reliable barometer of box office success, studio heads gave unprecedented freedom to young filmmakers to lead the way.
Featuring interviews with cast and crew members, bestselling author Robert Sellers explores this landmark year in Hollywood and in Britain, when this new age was at its freshest, and where the transfer of power was felt most exhilaratingly.
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145. Kubrick: an Odyssey01:04:31The definitive biography of the creator of 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Shining, and A Clockwork Orange, presenting the most in-depth portrait yet of the groundbreaking film-maker.The enigmatic and elusive filmmaker Stanley Kubrick has not been treated to a full-length biography in over twenty years.Stanley Kubrick: An Odyssey fills that gap. This definitive book is based on access to the latest research, especially Kubrick's archive at the University of the Arts, London, as well as other private papers plus new interviews with family members and those who worked with him. It offers comprehensive and in-depth coverage of Kubrick’s personal, private, public, and working life. Stanley Kubrick: An Odyssey investigates not only the making of Kubrick's films, but also about those he wanted (but failed) to make like Burning Secret, Napoleon, Aryan Papers, and A.I.Revealingly, this immersive biography will puncture the controversial myths about the reclusive filmmaker who created some of the most important works of art of the twentieth century.
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143. Michael Schulman on the Oscar Wars01:08:12From Harper Collins: A Best Book of 2023The author of the New York Times bestseller Her Again: Becoming Meryl Streep returns with a lively history of the Academy Awards, focusing on the brutal battles, the starry rivalries, and the colorful behind-the-scenes drama.America does not have royalty. It has the Academy Awards. For nine decades, perfectly coiffed starlets, debonair leading men, and producers with gold in their eyes have chased the elusive Oscar. What began as an industry banquet in 1929 has now exploded into a hallowed ceremony, complete with red carpets, envelopes, and little gold men. But don’t be fooled by the pomp: the Oscars, more than anything, are a battlefield, where the history of Hollywood—and of America itself—unfolds in dramas large and small. The road to the Oscars may be golden, but it’s paved in blood, sweat, and broken hearts.In Oscar Wars, Michael Schulman chronicles the remarkable, sprawling history of the Academy Awards and the personal dramas—some iconic, others never-before-revealed—that have played out on the stage and off camera. Unlike other books on the subject, each chapter takes a deep dive into a particular year, conflict, or even category that tells a larger story of cultural change, from Louis B. Mayer to Moonlight. Schulman examines how the red carpet runs through contested turf, and the victors aren't always as clear as the names drawn from envelopes. Caught in the crossfire are people: their thwarted ambitions, their artistic epiphanies, their messy collaborations, their dreams fulfilled or dashed.Featuring a star-studded cast of some of the most powerful Hollywood players of today and yesterday, as well as outsiders who stormed the palace gates, this captivating history is a collection of revelatory tales, each representing a turning point for the Academy, for the movies, or for the culture at large.
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142. From the Tromsø International Film Festival42:34I speak to programmer and board member John-Kristian Dalseth, head of the Sami Film Institute Anne Lajla Utsi, Artistic Director of TIFF Lisa Hoen and film director Ethan Coen at the northern most film festival in the world: the Tromsø International Film Festival.
141. The Last Action Heroes01:03:58The behind-the-scenes story of the action heroes who ruled 1980s and ’90s Hollywood and the beloved films that made them stars, including Die Hard, First Blood, The Terminator, and more.“This book takes you so close to the action that you can smell the sweat, cigar smoke, and bad cologne that brought these movies to life.”—Paul ScheerA NEWSWEEK BEST BOOK OF THE YEARThe Last Action Heroes opens in May 1990 in Cannes, with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone waltzing together, cheered on by a crowd of famous faces. After years of bitter combat—Stallone once threw a bowl of flowers at Schwarzenegger’s head, and the body count in Schwarzenegger’s Commando was increased so the film would “have a bigger dick than Rambo”—the world’s biggest action stars have at last made peace.In this wildly entertaining account of the golden age of the action movie, Nick de Semlyen charts Stallone and Schwarzenegger’s carnage-packed journey from enmity to friendship against the backdrop of Reagan’s America and the Cold War. He also reveals fascinating untold stories of the colorful characters who ascended in their wake: high-kickers Chuck Norris and Jackie Chan, glowering tough guys Dolph Lundgren and Steven Seagal, and quipping troublemakers Jean-Claude Van Damme and Bruce Willis. But as time rolled on, the era of the invincible action hero who used muscle, martial arts, or the perfect weapon to save the day began to fade. When Jurassic Park trounced Schwarzenegger’s Last Action Hero in 1993, the glory days of these macho men—and the vision of masculinity they celebrated—were officially over.Drawing on candid interviews with the action stars themselves, plus their collaborators, friends, and foes, The Last Action Heroes is a no-holds-barred account of a period in Hollywood history when there were no limits to the heights of fame these men achieved, or to the mayhem they wrought, on-screen and off.
140. Sam Wasson talks Francis Ford Coppola59:57The New York Times bestselling author of Fifth Avenue, Five A.M. and The Big Goodbye returns with the definitive account of Academy Award-winning director Francis Ford Coppola’s decades-long dream to reinvent American filmmaking, if not the entire world, through his production company American Zoetrope. Francis Ford Coppola is one of the great American dreamers, and his most magnificent dream is American Zoetrope, the production company he founded in San Francisco years before his gargantuan success, when he was only thirty. Through Zoetrope’s experimental, communal utopia, Coppola attempted to reimagine the entire pursuit of moviemaking. Now, more than fifty years later, despite myriad setbacks, the visionary filmmaker’s dream persists, most notably in the production of his decades in the making film and the culmination of his utopian ideals, Megalopolis.Granted total and unprecedented access to Coppola’s archives, conducting hundreds of interviews with the artist and those who have worked closely with him, Sam Wasson weaves together an extraordinary portrait. Here is Coppola, charming, brilliant, given to seeing life and art in terms of family and community, but also plagued by restlessness, recklessness and a desire to operate perpetually at the extremes.As Wasson makes clear, the story of Zoetrope is also the story of Coppola’s wife, Eleanor Coppola, and their children, and of personal lives inseparable from artistic passion. It is a story that charts the divergent paths of Coppola and his co-founder and onetime apprentice, George Lucas, and of their very different visions of art and commerce. And it is a story inextricably bound up in the making of one of the greatest, quixotic masterpieces ever attempted, Apocalypse Now, and of what Coppola found in the jungles of the Philippines when he walked the razor’s edge. That story, already the stuff of legend, has never been fully told, until this extraordinary book.
139. Bonus Episode: Cinema Italia01:07:42Chief film critic of The Hollywood Reporter David Rooney joins John Bleasdale to talk about Federico Fellini's 1957 masterpiece Le Notti di Cabiria, Nights of Cabiria, starring Giulietta Masina as a sex worker in a Rome on the edge of La Dolce Vita. Massina won Best Actress at Cannes and the film was the second Oscar in a row for Fellini.