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Making Movies
     

Making Movies

4.5 12
by Sidney Lumet
 

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Why does a director choose a particular script? What must they do in order to keep actors fresh and truthful through take after take of a single scene? How do you stage a shootout—involving more than one hundred extras and three colliding taxis—in the heart of New York’s diamond district? What does it take to keep the studio honchos happy? From the

Overview

Why does a director choose a particular script? What must they do in order to keep actors fresh and truthful through take after take of a single scene? How do you stage a shootout—involving more than one hundred extras and three colliding taxis—in the heart of New York’s diamond district? What does it take to keep the studio honchos happy? From the first rehearsal to the final screening, Making Movies is a master’s take, delivered with clarity, candor, and a wealth of anecdote.

For in this book, Sidney Lumet, one of our most consistently acclaimed directors, gives us both a professional memoir and a definitive guide to the art, craft, and business of the motion picture. Drawing on forty years of experience on movies that range from Long Day’s Journey into Night to Network and The Verdict—and with such stars as Katharine Hepburn, Paul Newman, Marlon Brando, and Al Pacino—Lumet explains how painstaking labor and inspired split-second decisions can result in two hours of screen magic.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Cahners\\Publishers_Weekly
Award-winning director Lumet (Dog Day Afternoon; The Verdict) serves as an unpretentious, anecdotal and sometimes irascible gide to the knotty process of getting a story on the screen. Brushing aside the auteur theory, he insists that filmmaking is a collaborative art involving technicians, actors and writers. Drawing upon almost 40 years' experience, the author lucidly explains the technical and aesthetic considerations in set design, cinematography and editing. As Lumet's movies are ample testimony to his love of language and actors, he unsurprisingly singles out such hyperbolic talents as screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky and actors Al Pacino and Katharine Hepburn, from whom he coaxed one of her bravest performances-as the crumbling matriarch in O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night. But Lumet is not star-struck: "If my movie has two stars in it, I always know it really has three. The third star is the camera." Remarkably informative and engrossing, even if film is not your bag. It's all here: lights, camera, action.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Lumet, the acclaimed director of such films as Dog Day Afternoon and Network, presents an anecdotal insider's account of the key elements in filmmaking. (Mar.)
Library Journal
Lumet's book is about the agonizing and ultimately rewarding art of filmmaking. And who better to elucidate the process than a legendary director, with credits such as 12 Angry Men, Dog Day Afternoon, and Prince of the City? Lumet discusses writers and actors, camera and editing techniques, art direction and sound. Yet Making Movies is anything but a clinical textbook. Lumet's career straddled the shift between studio management and the rise of financiers and talent agencies: he's seen both worlds and candidly reveals his predilections, including his disdain for teamsters, critics, and market researchers. He alludes to the tension between film as art and as business and shows that filmmaking is ultimately a capricious, collective enterprise with no sure formulas. Although overly mechanistic at times, Lumet is most lucid in examples drawn from his own experiences. A fascinating look at the artist at work; recommended for film studies collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 11/1/94.]-Jayne Plymale-Jackson, Univ. of Georgia Libs., Athens
Bonnie Smothers
Lumet is not the first filmmaker to write about filmmaking in order to praise it as an art form, but he may be the first to cover the process in detail from beginning to end, without missing any point of the action. That doesn't mean a reader will know how to make a feature film after reading the book. Lumet's approach is to provide a framework for both his memoirs as a film director and his argument for the purity of filmmaking, though he would probably deny both charges. Two aspects of the work are invigoratingly revealing: the ongoing discussion of his films and the last chapter, "The Studio: Was It All for This?" For all the talk about technique, camera lenses, art decorators, camera operators, and so on, the excitement of the book lies in Lumet's encounters with other artists. Rather than attempt to glean instruction from the story about using only one take to get a dolly shot of a moving train for "Murder on the Orient Express", most readers will prefer the fun of simply riding the dolly with camera operator Peter McDonald or listening to the account of the time the crew and Lumet agonized on the set of "The Fugitive Kind" when it took Brando 34 takes to complete a scene. Lumet writes, "He looked at me and smiled as only Brando can smile, so that you think daybreak has come." The final chapter on the studio offers a harrowing look at the kind of greed people can fall into given the chance to operate with endless amounts of money. At the close, Lumet seems to be letting people know that what he has described is moviemaking, and he shows us how the studios threaten it.
From the Publisher
“Film would be a better place if every director were required to share with other romancers of film his process. It is a gift to us all that it is Sidney Lumet, one of American’s greatest filmmakers, who is sharing his point-of-view.” —Stephen Spielberg

“Invaluable. . . . I am sometimes asked if there is one book a filmgoer could read to learn more about how movies are made and what to look for while watching them. This is the book.” —Roger Ebert, The New York Times Book Review  

“Remarkable . . . . as dignified as the movies [Lumet] has made and yet deeply felt and very moving. . . . Anyone who truly loves movies ought to read what he has to say about them. . . . Delightfully engrossing.” —Los Angeles Times

“The film bible from a master. It tells in meticulous detail the step-by-step process of making a movie. You feel you’re on the set. A must.” —Quincy Jones

“Full of energy, enthusiasm and wisdom. . . . It’s all engrossing because [Lumet] speaks so fervently and opinionatedly about matters on which he has earned the right to opinions.” —The New Republic

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307763662
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/01/2010
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
229,221
File size:
2 MB

Meet the Author

Sidney Lumet’s films have received more than fifty Academy Award nominations. He has been nominated by the Directors Guild of America for Best Director seven times. In addition, he has received an honorary lifetime membership in the Directors Guild of America as well as its most prestigious award, the D. W. Griffith Award. In 1993, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Arts Club. His films have been shown in retrospectives at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the American Museum of the Moving Image, the British Academy in London, and the Cinémathèque in Paris. He has also been honored by the French government as a Commander of Arts and Letters. He died in 2011.

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Making Movies 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
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castingbarbara More than 1 year ago
Great director's viewpoint. Written for everyone is a simple straightforward style. Loads of information on how movies are made and the thoughts of an excellent director. Really a must for all actors/directors.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great! I am inspired to make my own film now
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