John Frankenheimer: Interviews, Essays, and Profiles

Overview

John Frankenheimer’s career as a professional director began and ended in television. In the mid-1950s, he won acclaim working on live productions for anthology series like Playhouse 90, and from the mid-1990s until his death in 2002 he helmed a string of Emmy-winning features for cable TV, including The Burning Season (1994) and Andersonville (1996). Despite these successes, Frankenheimer’s reputation rests primarily upon the nearly thirty feature films he directed, which range from bona fide classics like ...
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Overview

John Frankenheimer’s career as a professional director began and ended in television. In the mid-1950s, he won acclaim working on live productions for anthology series like Playhouse 90, and from the mid-1990s until his death in 2002 he helmed a string of Emmy-winning features for cable TV, including The Burning Season (1994) and Andersonville (1996). Despite these successes, Frankenheimer’s reputation rests primarily upon the nearly thirty feature films he directed, which range from bona fide classics like Birdman of Alcatraz (1962) and The Manchurian Candidate (1962) to such lesser achievements as Prophecy (1979) and Dead Bang (1989). Unfortunately for Frankenheimer, the discrepancy between his best films and his worst led many critics during his lifetime to dismiss him as someone whose talent dissipated in the late 1960s. In the decade since his death, however, several critics have emerged who reject the assertion that the quality of Frankenheimer’s output faded after an impressive start.

In John Frankenheimer: Interviews, Essays, and Profiles, Stephen B. Armstrong has collected the most interesting and insightful articles and features published on this underrated director. While question-and-answer exchanges make up the bulk of the items featured here, also included are journalistic profiles of the director at work and essays Frankenheimer himself wrote for magazine audiences. In addition, readers will find a series of interviews of people who worked with Frankenheimer, including actors Roy Scheider, Tim Reid, and the director’s wife of 40 years, Evans Frankenheimer.

In this volume, the director and others look back on a career that included such films as Seven Days in May, The Train, Grand Prix, The Iceman Cometh, Black Sunday, and Ronin. The first collection of its kind, John Frankenheimer: Interviews, Essays, and Profiles enables those who value the director’s work to develop a better understanding of the man through his own words and the words of others.

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Editorial Reviews

Classic Film and TV Café
A fascinating look inside the mind of a filmmaker whose career ranged from bonafide classics--such as The Manchurian Candidate and Seven Days in May--to unmitigated disasters. Frankenheimer discusses his work in unflinching terms, defending some critical failures (e.g., Prophecy) while acknowledging that others were made to pay the bills (e.g., The Extraordinary Seaman). His realistic approach to his craft can be summarized in this marvelous quote: "Every movie you make is a compromise."

Armstrong has done a masterful job in selecting the articles, which were originally published between 1964 and 2010. The chronology of the articles allows the reader to learn how the acclaimed director viewed his films at different points in his life.

Editor Stephen B. Armstrong, a professor at Dixie State University in St. George, Utah, includes a comprehensive filmography, a bibliography, and an index. His book is a must for any library with a film reference collection and for anyone interested in what goes on behind the scenes in the making of a motion picture.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810890565
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/4/2013
  • Pages: 318
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen B. Armstrong is an associate professor of English at Dixie State University in St. George, Utah, where he teaches creative writing, film history, and literature. His writing has appeared in Film Score Monthly, Film Quarterly, and Classic Images. He is the author of Pictures about Extremes: The Films of John Frankenheimer (2008) and Andrew V. McLaglen: The Life and Hollywood Career (2011).
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Table of Contents

Contents

Introduction
Permissions
Chronology

PART 1: FRANKENHEIMER ON FRANKENHEIMER
John Frankenheimer: Little to Big Screen; John Cutts
On Screen: John Frankenheimer; C. Robert Jennings
Seven Ways with Seven Days in May; John Frankenheimer
Criticism as Creation; John Frankenheimer
John Frankenheimer; Charles Higham and Joel Greenberg
‘The Gypsy Moths’—Sky Daredevils!
John Frankenheimer; Russell AuWerter
Filming “The Iceman Cometh”; John Frankenheimer
John Frankenheimer: An Interview; Gary D. Engle
John Frankenheimer Speaks to Ralph Appelbaum; Ralph Appelbaum
John Frankenheimer; Pat Broeske
Frankenheimer Says Casting is the Key; Jerry Roberts
Dialogue on Film: John Frankenheimer
The Grand Prix Circus, Hollywood Style; Peter Dick
John Frankenheimer: Shooting Against the Wall; Gerald Pratley
The Burning Season of John Frankenheimer: Four Decades of Directing; Mary Hardesty
The Manchurian Candidate; Charles Champlin
Hollywood Survivor John Frankenheimer; Tim Rhys and Ian Bage
Ad Lib: John Frankenheimer; Charles Champlin
The Train; Gerald Pratley
John Frankenheimer: Renaissance Auteur; Alex Simon
The Films of John Frankenheimer; Robert J. Emery
John Frankenheimer; Scott Tobias
Against the Wall; Robert Wilonsky
John Frankenheimer; F. Anthony Macklin
Frankenheimer Knew Period’s Main Players; Hugh Hart

PART 2: COLLEAGUES AND FAMILY
Roy Scheider and 52 Pick-Up; Kirk Honeycutt, Steven Gaydos and Jerry Roberts
Pete Hamill: French Connection II; Stephen B. Armstrong
‘He Loved What He Did So Much!’ An Interview with Evans
(Evans) Frankenheimer; Murray Pomerance
John R. Leonetti: Working with Frankenheimer; Stephen B. Armstrong
Tim Reid: Dead Bang and The Fourth War; Stephen B. Armstrong

Appendix: Director Credits
Bibliography
Index
About the Author

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