Blade Runners, Deer Hunters, & Blowing the Bloody Doors Off: My Life in Cult Moviesby Michael Deeley
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
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.
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."
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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.
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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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