Blade Runners, Deer Hunters, & Blowing the Bloody Doors Off: My Life in Cult Movies

Overview

One man links The Deer Hunter, Blade Runner, The Italian Job, Don’t Look Now, The Wicker Man and The Man Who Fell To Earth. Producer Michael Deeley, an urbane Englishman in Hollywood, had to fight wars to get these movies made, from defending the legendary sex scene of Don’t Look Now from a disapproving Warren Beatty to seizing control of Convoy from a cocaine- ridden Sam Peckinpah. This is a no-holds-barred look at the true stories behind some of the greatest cult movies ever ...
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Overview

One man links The Deer Hunter, Blade Runner, The Italian Job, Don’t Look Now, The Wicker Man and The Man Who Fell To Earth. Producer Michael Deeley, an urbane Englishman in Hollywood, had to fight wars to get these movies made, from defending the legendary sex scene of Don’t Look Now from a disapproving Warren Beatty to seizing control of Convoy from a cocaine- ridden Sam Peckinpah. This is a no-holds-barred look at the true stories behind some of the greatest cult movies ever made.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Entertainment Weekly
“Should rivet anyone fascinated by movie making…An absorbing rundown of these classics' evolution. A sharp guide to Hollywood's "dream factory."

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review.

Like buried treasure for cult movie enthusiasts, this memoir from British film producer Deeley is rich with the star-studded backstories and day-to-day drudge work of making major, if unconventional, Hollywood product. Frequently the glue that holds a project together, Deeley's job is, largely, to keep the peace among anxious investors, prima donna talent, and overworked, underpaid crews; in his own words, "a producer doesn't really make films, he causes them to be made." Deeley's account of making 1969's The Italian Job ("the ultimate cinematic indulgence for car junkies across the globe") is as riveting and suspenseful as the film; with the enthusiastic approval of Turin, Italy's own Mafia, a traffic jam scene was filmed in the middle of the city using unwitting citizens, essentially held hostage by blocked-off highway exits. Deeley isn't shy about discussing big-name associates, including Robert DeNiro, Dustin Hoffman and Harrison Ford as actors new to the game. Though this older, wiser Deeley puts his world in wry perspective ("all of us who work on pictures expect the last month to be frantic"), the grizzled movie vet also gives fanboys exactly the kinds of stories they're looking for: "As Ridley Scott famously said, every movie is like going into battle. But Blade Runner was World War I and II combined."
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Library Journal

Motion-picture heavyweight Deeley is one of the suits making the big deals and deciding what gets made and what doesn't. For years, his keen judgment and hard work brought to life great films such as The Italian Job, The Deer Hunter, The Man Who Fell to Earth, and Blade Runner. His memoir is an eminently readable, if rather boilerplate, chronicle of life in the movies. What makes it notable is that it is from the producer's perspective. Through the scramble for financing, for not just individual projects but entire studios, and the drama of completion bonds and overages, Deeley conveys a real love of and genius for his work. He dishes some dirt-never on himself-and offers appealing insider tidbits about the industry in the 1970s. Overall, this is an easy read with especially good insights into the practicalities of what producers really do to get their name on movies. Recommended for large and specialized collections.
—Christian Zabriskie

Kirkus Reviews
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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781605980386
  • Publisher: Pegasus
  • Publication date: 4/7/2009
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Deeley is a world famous producer whose work includes The Italian Job, The Man Who Fell to Earth, The Deer Hunter (for which he won an Academy Award), and Blade Runner. He was the president of EMI Films Inc. and has a founding member and Deputy Chairman of The British Screen Advisory Council. He lives in Santa Barbara, California.
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