A spirited, passionate account of a man who deserves his own film, starring Anthony Quinn.

DINO

THE LIFE AND THE FILMS OF DINO DELAURENTIIS

The life of a great movie producer inevitably ends up being more about the movies than the man.

Born in a small Neapolitian village in 1919, son of a pasta maker, Agostino DeLaurentiis was later, and correctly, described as a sort of Italian Horatio Alger. Agostino (who would later christen himself “Dino” in an early display of showbiz smarts) went to Rome to study acting when still a teenager. There, he quickly threw himself into the world of film, producing his first one by the age of 22. A short, unwilling stint in the army—marked more by black comedy than heroism or tragedy—barely interrupted DeLaurentiis’s rise to prominence, which coincided with the postwar flowering of Italian cinema. His partnership with Fellini resulted in the classics La Strada and Nights of Cabiria while, at the same time, he was producing grand, popular epics like the Audrey Hepburn version of War and Peace. Working at a pace that seems close to compulsive, DeLaurentiis cut a swath through the jet-set film world, producing his eclectic mix of art and spectacle films, squiring his withdrawn actress wife Silvana Magano to festivals, building the massive Dinocittà film studio outside Rome and always dealing, dealing, dealing. He moved to New York in the 1970s and struck gold with hits like Serpico and Three Days of the Condor. Now in his early 80s, DeLaurentiis is producing the $150 million Baz Luhrmann saga Alexander the Great. Kezich and Levantesi, both Italian film critics, seem a bit cowed by their subject—there’s an occasional attempt to bring this larger-than-life, tall-tale–teller to the truth, but mostly they let their account explode with the man’s zest for life and movies. By the end, it’s hard not to be duly impressed as well by DeLaurentiis, who showed as much love for his ill-fated King Kong remake as he did for the little Bergman film The Serpent’s Egg. And who else would have fought to have David Lynch direct Dune?

A spirited, passionate account of a man who deserves his own film, starring Anthony Quinn.

Pub Date: March 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-7868-6902-X

Page Count: 288

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2004

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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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