Although John Schlesinger (1926-2003) is best remembered for directing Midnight Cowboy-the first X-rated movie to win an Oscar-his films Billy Liar and Darling helped make Julie Christie an international star. In this authorized biography, Mann (Behind the Screen: How Gays and Lesbians Shaped Hollywood, 1910-1969) explores Schlesinger's uneven, not always happy career, drawing on talks with the director (by then crippled by a severe stroke), his longtime companion, Michael Childers, and his diaries and production notes. After starting in Britain, Schlesinger enjoyed some of his biggest successes in this country yet remained something of an outsider, deeply ambivalent about Hollywood and America. His work, Mann argues, is a portrait of people pushed to the edge, learning to survive in their marginalized worlds, a description most apt to Midnight Cowboy, which receives in-depth coverage here. Unfortunately, Schlesinger's scathing portrait of Tinsel Town, The Day of the Locust, lost money and made him a pariah in Hollywood. Including lucid analysis of how Schlesinger's private life influenced his films, plus coverage of the director's work on television, theater, and opera, this first exhaustive biography is recommended for large public libraries and academic film collections. [Alternate BOMC selection.]-Stephen Rees, Levittown Lib., PA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.