Paul on Mazursky

Author: Sam Wasson
Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
ISBN: 081957144X
Format: PDF, Docs
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Paul Mazursky’s nearly twenty films as writer/director represent Hollywood’s most sustained comic expression of the 1970s and 1980s. But they have not been given their due, perhaps because Mazursky’s films—both sincere and ridiculous, realistic and romantic—are pure emotion. This makes films like Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, An Unmarried Woman, and Enemies, A Love Story difficult to classify, but that’s what makes a human comedy human. In the first ever book-length examination of one of America’s most important and least appreciated filmmakers, Sam Wasson sits down with Mazursky himself to talk about his movies and how he makes them. Going over Mazursky’s oeuvre one film at a time, interviewer and interviewee delve into the director’s life in and out of Hollywood, laughing, talking, and above all else, feeling—like Mazursky’s people always do. The book includes a filmography and never-before-seen photos.

A Splurch in the Kisser

Author: Sam Wasson
Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
ISBN: 0819569771
Format: PDF, Kindle
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With one of the longest and most controversial careers in Hollywood history, Blake Edwards is a phoenix of movie directors, full of hubris, ambition, and raving comic chutzpah. His rambunctious filmography remains an artistic force on par with Hollywood's greatest comic directors: Lubitsch, Sturges, Wilder. Like Wilder, Edwards’s propensity for hilarity is double-helixed with pain, and in films like Breakfast at Tiffany's, Days of Wine and Roses, and even The Pink Panther, we can hear him off-screen, laughing in the dark. And yet, despite those enormous successes, he was at one time considered a Hollywood villain. After his marriage to Julie Andrews, Edwards’s Darling Lili nearly sunk the both of them and brought Paramount Studios to its knees. Almost overnight, Blake became an industry pariah, which ironically fortified his sense of satire, as he simultaneously fought the Hollywood tide and rode it. Employing keen visual analysis, meticulous research, and troves of interviews and production files, Sam Wasson delivers the first complete account of one of the maddest figures Hollywood has ever known.

The Cinema of Errol Morris

Author: David Resha
Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
ISBN: 0819575356
Format: PDF, Mobi
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The Cinema of Errol Morris offers close analyses of the director’s films—from box office successes like The Thin Blue Line and The Fog of War to Morris’s early works like Vernon, Florida and controversial films like Standard Operating Procedure. Film scholar David Resha’s reappraisal of Morris’s films allows us to rethink the traditional distinction between stylistically conservative documentaries, which are closely invested in evidence and reality, and stylistically adventurous films, which artfully call to question such claims of nonfiction and truth. According to Resha, Errol Morris does not fit neatly in this division of the documentary tradition. Rather, his experiments with documentary conventions constitute another way to investigate reality—in particular, to examine the ways in which his subjects understand, and misunderstand, themselves and the world around them. Seen within the nonfiction tradition, an Errol Morris documentary is a flexible form of lively, engaging storytelling and shrewd, cutting, in-depth reportage.

Fifth Avenue 5 A M

Author: Sam Wasson
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 0062000136
Format: PDF
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER NEW YORK TIMES BEST BOOK OF 2010 “So smart and entertaining it should come with its own popcorn” – People “A bonbon of a book… As well tailored as the little black dress the movie made famous.” – Janet Maslin, New York Times “Sam Wasson is a fabulous social historian.” – The New Yorker “Reads like carefully crafted fiction…[Wasson] carries the reader from pre-production to on-set feuds and conflicts, while also noting Hepburn’s impact on fashion (Givenchy’s little black dress), Hollywood glamour, sexual politics, and the new morality. Capote would have been entranced.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review) “Sam Wasson’s exquisite portrait of Audrey Hepburn peels backs her sweet facade to reveal a much more complicated and interesting woman. He also captures a fascinating turning point in American history— when women started to loosen their pearls, and their inhibitions. I devoured this book.” — Karen Abbott, author of Sin in the Second City Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M. by Sam Wasson is the first ever complete account of the making of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. With a cast of characters including Truman Capote, Edith Head, director Blake Edwards, and, of course, Hepburn herself, Wasson immerses us in the America of the late fifties, before Woodstock and birth control, when a not-so-virginal girl by the name of Holly Golightly raised eyebrows across the nation, changing fashion, film, and sex, for good. With delicious prose and considerable wit, Wasson delivers us from the penthouses of the Upper East Side to the pools of Beverly Hills presenting Breakfast at Tiffany’s as we have never seen it before—through the eyes of those who made it.

Fosse

Author: Sam Wasson
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 0547999224
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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“Wasson is a smart and savvy reporter, and his book abounds with colorful firsthand tales.” — Janet Maslin, New York Times “Fascinating . . . Wasson has taken complete control of his subject.” — Wall Street Journal The only person ever to win Oscar, Emmy, and Tony awards in the same year, Bob Fosse revolutionized nearly every facet of American entertainment. His signature style would influence generations of performing artists. Yet in spite of Fosse’s innumerable—including Cabaret, Pippin, All That Jazz, and Chicago, one of the longest-running Broadway musicals ever—his offstage life was shadowed by deep wounds and insatiable appetites. To craft this richly detailed account, best-selling author Sam Wasson has drawn on a wealth of unpublished material and hundreds of sources: friends, enemies, lovers, and collaborators, many of them speaking publicly about Fosse for the first time. With propulsive energy and stylish prose, Fosse is the definitive biography of one of Broadway and Hollywood’s most complex and dynamic icons. “Spellbinding.” —Entertainment Weekly “Impeccably researched.” —Vanity Fair An NPR Best Book of the Year

Improv Nation

Author: Sam Wasson
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 0544558251
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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From the best-selling author of Fosse, a sweeping yet intimate—and often hilarious—history of a uniquely American art form that has never been more popular. At the height of the McCarthy era, an experimental theater troupe set up shop in a bar near the University of Chicago. Via word-of-mouth, astonished crowds packed the ad-hoc venue to see its unscripted, interactive, consciousness-raising style. From this unlikely seed grew the Second City, the massively influential comedy theater troupe, and its offshoots—the Groundlings, Upright Citizens Brigade, SNL, and a slew of others. Sam Wasson charts the meteoric rise of improv in this richly reported, scene-driven narrative that, like its subject, moves fast and digs deep. He shows us the chance meeting at a train station between Mike Nichols and Elaine May. We hang out at the after-hours bar Dan Aykroyd opened so that friends like John Belushi, Bill Murray, and Gilda Radner would always have a home. We go behind the scenes of landmark entertainments from The Graduate to Caddyshack, The Forty-Year Old Virgin to The Colbert Report. Along the way, we commune with a host of pioneers—Mike Nichols and Harold Ramis, Dustin Hoffman, Chevy Chase, Steve Carell, Amy Poehler, Alan Arkin, Tina Fey, Judd Apatow, and many more. With signature verve and nuance, Wasson shows why improv deserves to be considered the great American art form of the last half-century—and the most influential one today.

Escape Velocity

Author: Bradley Schauer
Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
ISBN: 0819576603
Format: PDF
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Today, movie theaters are packed with audiences of all ages marveling to exciting science fiction blockbusters, many of which are also critically acclaimed. However, when the science fiction film genre first emerged in the 1950s, it was represented largely by exploitation horror films—lurid, culturally disreputable, and appealing to a niche audience of children and sci-fi buffs. How did the genre evolve from B-movie to blockbuster? Escape Velocity charts the historical trajectory of American science fiction cinema, explaining how the genre transitioned from eerie low-budget horror like It Came from Outer Space to art films like Slaughterhouse-Five, and finally to the extraordinary popularity of hits like E.T. Bradley Schauer draws on primary sources such as internal studio documents, promotional materials, and film reviews to explain the process of cultural, aesthetic, and economic legitimation that occurred between the 1950s and 1980s, as pulp science fiction tropes were adapted to suit the tastes of mainstream audiences. Considering the inescapable dominance of today’s effects-driven blockbusters, Escape Velocity not only charts the history of science fiction film, but also gives an account of the origins of contemporary Hollywood.

Kazan Revisited

Author: Lisa Dombrowski
Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
ISBN: 0819570850
Format: PDF
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A groundbreaking filmmaker dogged by controversy in both his personal life and career, Elia Kazan was one of the most important directors of postwar American cinema. In landmark motion pictures such as A Streetcar Named Desire, On the Waterfront, East of Eden, and Splendor in the Grass, Kazan crafted an emotionally raw form of psychological realism. His reputation has rested on his Academy award-winning work with actors, his provocative portrayal of sexual, moral, and generational conflict, and his unpopular decision to name former colleagues as Communists before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1952. But much of Kazan’s influential cinematic legacy remains unexamined. Arriving in the wake of his centenary, Kazan Revisited engages and moves beyond existing debates regarding Kazan’s contributions to film, tackling the social, political, industrial, and aesthetic significance of his work from a range of critical perspectives. Featuring essays by established film critics and scholars such as Richard Schickel (Time), Victor Navasky (The Nation), Mark Harris (Entertainment Weekly), Kent Jones (Film Comment), Jonathan Rosenbaum (Essential Cinema, 2004), Jeanine Basinger (The Star Machine, 2007), and Leo Braudy (On the Waterfront, 2008), this book is a must for diehard cinephiles and those new to Kazan alike. Contributors include: JEANINE BASINGER, LEO BRAUDY, LISA DOMBROWSKI, HADEN GUEST, MARK HARRIS, KENT JONES, PATRICK KEATING, SAVANNAH LEE, BRENDA MURPHY, VICTOR NAVASKY, BRIAN NEVE, JONATHAN ROSENBAUM, RICHARD SCHICKEL, ANDREW TRACY, and SAM WASSON.

The Lives of Robert Ryan

Author: J.R. Jones
Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
ISBN: 0819573736
Format: PDF, Mobi
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The Lives of Robert Ryan provides an inside look at the gifted, complex, intensely private man whom Martin Scorsese called “one of the greatest actors in the history of American film.” The son of a Chicago construction executive with strong ties to the Democratic machine, Ryan became a star after World War II on the strength of his menacing performance as an anti-Semitic murderer in the film noir Crossfire. Over the next quarter century he created a gallery of brooding, neurotic, and violent characters in such movies as Bad Day at Black Rock, Billy Budd, The Dirty Dozen, and The Wild Bunch. His riveting performances expose the darkest impulses of the American psyche during the Cold War. At the same time, Ryan’s marriage to a liberal Quaker and his own sense of conscience launched him into a tireless career of peace and civil rights activism that stood in direct contrast to his screen persona. Drawing on unpublished writings and revealing interviews, film critic J.R. Jones deftly explores the many contradictory facets of Robert Ryan’s public and private lives, and how these lives intertwined in one of the most compelling actors of a generation.