The quixotic adventures of British film-producer David Puttnam when, for one year, he landed the top job at Columbia...

READ REVIEW

FAST FADE: David Puttnam, Columbia Pictures, and the Battle for Hollywood

The quixotic adventures of British film-producer David Puttnam when, for one year, he landed the top job at Columbia Pictures. Puttnam's buoyant rise and resounding downfall at Columbia stemmed from his character--according, at least, to Yule, who, hoping to write Puttnam's biography, ironically first interviewed him on the eve of Puttnam's firing/resignation. As an independent producer, Puttnam had made a terrific name for himself with Chariots of Fire, The Killing Fields, and Local Hero. The British film industry was crumbling, and Puttnam was exhausted by seeking funds for his own company, Goldcrest, when Columbia and its parent company Coca-Cola offered him full management of Columbia's slate of upcoming films and the right to choose Columbia's future film projects for a three-year period, with a final golden umbrella of three million at contract's fulfillment. Supported by his wife, Puttnam accepted and plunged into a night-and-day work schedule. Almost immediately, he alienated powerful, elderly Ray Stark, a very big man around Columbia, by telling him that he would review Stark's future projects for possible shelving. His mouth in public proved too large, as he cannonaded Hollywood with bitter generalities, made enemies of Warren Beatty, Dustin Hoffman, and Bill Cosby, and dug his own grave with Coca-Cola with his various remarks about leaving after three years. In the end, his overzealous idealism and habit of dropping wavering or seemingly nonproductive colleagues did him in. On the way, Yule captures every dreadful moment of Puttnam's tenure, as he is shot out of the water from every side. Gripping on every page and awash with toweringly overblown celluloid giants in rapturous megalomania.

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 1988

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1988