The Devil's Candy: The Bonfire of the Vanities Goes to Hollywood


Veteran film critic for The Wall Street Journal Julie Salamon presents a juicy inside look at the making of the Hollywood mega-flop Bonfire of the Vanities. Salamon reveals how success, fame, and enormous amounts of money can be catastrophically mismanaged for the sake of ego.
Read More Show Less
... See more details below
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (32) from $1.99   
  • New (8) from $8.02   
  • Used (24) from $1.99   
Sending request ...


Veteran film critic for The Wall Street Journal Julie Salamon presents a juicy inside look at the making of the Hollywood mega-flop Bonfire of the Vanities. Salamon reveals how success, fame, and enormous amounts of money can be catastrophically mismanaged for the sake of ego.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Wall Street Journal film critic Salamon systematically and incisively lays out the process that conceived of Bonfire as a socially relevant epic, then turned it into a successor to Heaven's Gate. Moving from pre- to post-production, she charts the ruinous situations--the stars' high salaries and scheduling problems, the limited range of Bruce Willis, the conflicting messages from studio heads and more. The requisite tidbits are here, as well--did Melanie Griffith have breast augmentation during the shooting? Yes. What does Brian DePalma drink for lunch? Three cappuccinos. There is also much detailed material on how a movie is made, including the range of instruments used to recreate sounds and the type of beading attached to Griffith's eye-popping party dress. Casual film fans may be overwhelmed by the scope of Salamon's information; aficionados will feel they've finally gotten enough. More speculation would have been welcome on whether Hollywood will learn from the mistakes of Bonfire or always fall prey to ``the devil's candy''--that ``impossible, expensive, possibly monumental thing.''420 Photos not seen by PW. First serial to Vanity Fair. Nov.ok
Library Journal
Salamon, film critic for The Wall Street Journal , was given seemingly unlimited and early entree to the production of Brian De Palma's film version of Tom Wolfe's novel The Bonfire of the Vanities . This is apparently the first time a writer has been allowed such unfettered access to the creation of a film since Lillian Ross wrote Picture ( LJ 10/1/52) based on the filming of The Red Badge of Courage (1951). Wisely, Salamon's narrative includes not only De Palma and the leading actors, but lesser-known contributors such as the costume designer, production assistants, and location scouts. She is adept at interweaving all viewpoints and activities into the whole. Although the film was a colossal failure, for reasons which Salamon makes very clear, the book is an eminently readable success.-- Roy Liebman, California State Univ. Lib., Los Angeles
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385308243
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/1/1992
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 460
  • Sales rank: 943,619
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Julie Salamon
Julie Salamon

Julie Salamon is the author of six books, including The Devil's Candy, considered a Hollywood classic about filmmaking gone awry, and The Christmas Tree, a New York Times bestseller. Her other books are the nonfiction, true crime book Facing the Wind, the novel White Lies, a family memoir, The Net of Dreams, and Rambam's Ladder for which she won the 2005 Ohioana book award. Salamon was a culture writer for The New York Times and a critic and reporter for The Wall Street Journal.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

The Players ix
Prologue xi
Part I Preproduction
1. The Devil's Candy 3
2. Great, Great, Great 19
3. Head Bangers 39
4. The Magic Hour 64
5. On Medicis, X-rays, and Bloody Fruit Flies 91
6. The War Zone 107
Part II The New York Shoot
7. Forty Million Dollars of Transformation 125
8. Silly Season in the Bronx 141
9. Demented Optimism 165
10. Wire Without a Net 194
Part III The Los Angeles Shoot
11. Hollywood Way 229
12. Leading Ladies 257
13. Nickel and Diming 289
Part IV Postproduction
14. "This Is the Best Movie We Ever Made" 321
15. It's in Your Bones 353
16. Junketeers 375
17. "You've Got to Be a Genius to Make a Movie This Bad" 401
Author's Note 421
Index 424
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)