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.