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

Overview

When film director Brian De Palma invited author Julie Salamon to follow him on the set of The Bonfire of the Vanities, he had no idea that the $50-million movie would become one of Hollywood's biggest flops.

The Devil's Candy is the juicy, best-selling expose that sent Hollywood honchos running for cover. Who was responsible for the last-minute casting change that cost $4 million? Who knew that Melanie Griffith would show up halfway through the filming with a new set of ...

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Overview

When film director Brian De Palma invited author Julie Salamon to follow him on the set of The Bonfire of the Vanities, he had no idea that the $50-million movie would become one of Hollywood's biggest flops.

The Devil's Candy is the juicy, best-selling expose that sent Hollywood honchos running for cover. Who was responsible for the last-minute casting change that cost $4 million? Who knew that Melanie Griffith would show up halfway through the filming with a new set of breasts? Settle down in your front-row seat for a story that has more drama, hilarity, greed, folly, and ego than the movie that eventually ended up on the screen. Expertly reported and elegantly written, The Devil's Candy is a classic insider's look at the movie business and irresistible fun.

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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
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780395569962
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 11/28/1991
  • Pages: 384

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.

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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
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