MOVIE by Parnell Hall


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 When independent producer/director Sidney Garfellow buys his screenplay Trial by Fire, PI Stanley Hastings (Blackmail, 1994, etc.) thinks he's finally hit the big time. He doesn't realize that watching Sidney and his creatures transform his story (retitled Hands of Havoc, Flesh of Fire) will be an even more humbling experience than his regular job of taking statements from accident victims. Sidney's ideas of how to pump up the property--martial arts, wall-to-wall bimbos, and clueless leading juvenile Jason Clairemont, who insists on rewriting scenes as he goes along--would probably have Stanley on the ropes even if it weren't for the John Doe who turned up dead in the warehouse Sidney had chosen as a soundstage and the havoc that follows: a mysterious accident with the sound equipment; the suspicious death of an innocuous technician; a third mishap that almost kills the star; and the local law's polite observation that Stanley sure does seem to have it in for the ham actor he insists is ruining his movie. The plot, as usual in Stanley's checkered adventures, bogs down in endless debates about alibis and physical evidence, falling well below the level of the byplay, but anyone who can relax and ignore the mystery is guaranteed a good time. As a bonus, you'll learn a lot about filmmaking, including why to run the other way if you think it's going to happen to you and your screenplay.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-89296-569-X
Page count: 288pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 1995


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