A diverting though superficial insider’s account.

BLADE RUNNERS, DEER HUNTERS, AND BLOWING THE BLOODY DOORS OFF

MY LIFE IN CULT MOVIES

Brief memoir of the Oscar-winning producer’s half-century in the British and American film industries.

Deeley helped produce some landmark movies, including The Deer Hunter (1978), which netted him an Academy Award for Best Picture, and the influential, visually stunning SF classic Blade Runner (1982). He also produced such lesser-known ’60s and ’70s gems as British heist film The Italian Job, the David Bowie–starring The Man Who Fell to Earth and the Sam Peckinpah–directed Convoy. Deeley started out in his native England in the early ’50s, rising from a job earning £7.50 per week as an assistant editor to the position of independent producer. The book’s first half, detailing his memories of Britain’s low-budget moviemaking system, will likely be the most revelatory for American film buffs. The recollections that follow, about The Deer Hunter, Blade Runner and other Hollywood productions, are somewhat less satisfying, due in part to their brevity, but also to Deeley’s reluctance to dish any dirt on the volatile characters he’s dealt with over the years. He tells a few tales about the notoriously hard-drinking Peckinpah, who could be brutal to his casts and crews, and about difficult Deer Hunter director Michael Cimino, but film enthusiasts will probably have seen better stories elsewhere. (Cimino in particular was much more memorably profiled in Steven Bach’s 1985 classic, Final Cut.) Nonetheless, the book provides some amusing moments. When Steven Spielberg came to see star Harrison Ford on the set of Blade Runner, Deeley didn’t recognize the director and ignored him, which subsequently created tension with the prickly Ford.

A diverting though superficial insider’s account.

Pub Date: April 22, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-60598-038-6

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Pegasus

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2009

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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