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Steven Spielberg: The Unauthorised Biography

Overview

John Baxter, Hollywood chronicler and film biographer, charts Spielberg's development from his teenage 8mm home movies to his current unchallenged stature. He has extensively interviewed many of those who have worked with and for Spielberg, from his early days in television, where his film Duel suggested the innate 'film sense' he would bring to movie-making, to the Oscar-winning Schindler's List and beyond. Yet despite his spectacular, indeed almost unprecedented success, Spielberg has never entirely shaken off ...
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Overview

John Baxter, Hollywood chronicler and film biographer, charts Spielberg's development from his teenage 8mm home movies to his current unchallenged stature. He has extensively interviewed many of those who have worked with and for Spielberg, from his early days in television, where his film Duel suggested the innate 'film sense' he would bring to movie-making, to the Oscar-winning Schindler's List and beyond. Yet despite his spectacular, indeed almost unprecedented success, Spielberg has never entirely shaken off allegations that his work has contributed to the sentimentalising - even the infantilising - of Hollywood's output. In the first full biography of Steven Spielberg, John Baxter tells a remarkable story, and one which sheds light not only on Spielberg's career, and those of his generation of film-makers, but on contemporary Hollywood and on the future of the movies.
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Editorial Reviews

J. G. Ballard
...Baxter is a shrewd, witty, and a very readable writer. —Independent
David Thomson
A very valuable book…Baxter's success is beyond question. —Independent on Sunday
Kirkus Reviews
A slight biography of Spielberg, perhaps the most successful filmmaker of all time.

Attempting a biography of an artist at mid-career is always a daunting task, but the remarkable success of director Spielberg (Jaws, Jurassic Park, Schindler's List, etc.) makes such a book inevitable. Unfortunately, Spielberg would not be interviewed for the book. Thus Baxter (Fellini, 1994, etc.) is left with already- published reports and new interviews with co-workers. So while he describes the making of each film and probes the differences between the childlike visionary perceived by the public and the driven, often prickly director and businessman who operates behind the scenes, Baxter never finds the key to the unique personality and talent of this quixotic artist, nor does he get beyond the now- familiar story of Spielberg's evolution from film-obsessed child to filmmaker-phenomenon. Baxter also comes to his subject with the thesis, hardly original, that the superficial plot lines and comic- book mise-en-scènes of Spielberg's films have led to the decline of the narrative film as an art form. But because Baxter never seems to grasp the nature of Spielberg's dazzling style (which at its peak, in thrillers like Jaws and Jurassic Park, involved rigorously planned camera angles and deftly timed editing), he fails to adequately define how that style might have been misused (in more character-driven films such as The Color Purple). In addition, Baxter's credentials as biographer and critic are undermined by mistakes any freshman film student could have corrected (Frank Capra's remake of Lady for a Day is Pocketful of Miracles, not A Hole in the Head, François Truffaut's The Green Room is far from his "last" film, Broadcast News was directed by James L. Brooks, not Albert Brooks, etc.).

Despite some entertaining behind-the-scenes gossip, Baxter's biography is ultimately as superficial as he accuses Spielberg's films of being.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780006384441
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication date: 9/28/1998
  • Edition description: PBK ED
  • Pages: 457
  • Product dimensions: 5.14 (w) x 7.78 (h) x 1.17 (d)

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