THE DIRECTORS by Robert J. Emery


In Their Own Words--Take One
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A raw, messy volume of interview transcripts, saved in part by the unquenchable entertainment value of behind-the-scenes stories of how directors bring their movies to life. This edition is a spinoff of a monthly series of interviews conducted by Emery for the Encore cable network, although these are not transcripts of the shows. Emery is a CEO of Media Entertainment and a director himself, but there’s not much of him in this work except brief introductions of his subjects. He doesn—t even question the directors, who include James Cameron, Lawrence Kasdan, Richard Donner, and John Carpenter. All of the talking is left to the directors themselves, in whatever clipped or rambling or rambunctious manner they choose to employ. The result is a mishmash of material that never makes much sense as a collection. There’s lots of repetition, run-on sentences, and lost inflections. At some points, it’s hard to follow the speakers— narratives because the questions aren—t provided. At others, it feels as if one is reading a reporter’s notes instead of a book. The good material comes at the beginning of each section, as the directors talk about how they got started in the business. These were young men—all men in Take One—all of them movie lovers who found their way to Hollywood because of their passion (although Ron Howard was thrust before the camera before he could walk). The directors are led through their films one by one, doling out tidbits about casting and telling how they feel about their work. Unfortunately, most of their stories are cut short before they gather momentum, and nobody makes any startling revelations. Nevertheless, any volume that assembles the thoughts of Sidney Lumet, Spike Lee, Sydney Pollack, Norman Jewison, and Robert Wise is going to have some plums—for readers willing to dig deep enough. (b&w photos, not seen)

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 1-57500-087-3
Page count: 352pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1999