Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Five top books on film directors

The night director William Friedkin won his Academy Award for directing The French Connection (1971), he was riding with his manager when their Rolls-Royce broke down several miles from the ceremony. They had to hitch a ride from a driver at a gas station in order to arrive in time.

Friedkin's memoir, The Friedkin Connection, has just been published.

One of his five best books on film directors, as told to the Wall Street Journal:
by François Truffaut (1967)

The reader is a fly on the wall in these absorbing dialogues between two great filmmakers. Hitchcock was the master not only of suspense but of all aspects of filmmaking. Like Kazan, he is remarkably self-critical, describing his own anxieties and fears as they affected the subtext of his films. From his Jesuit education, he had developed a "fear of being involved in anything evil," as well as a physical fear of being punished by the loss of his freedom at the hands of the police. He explains his methods in detail and also reveals the origin of "the MacGuffin," his term for a plot device that leads the audience down the wrong path until he's ready to uncover his true intentions. Hitchcock and Truffaut exchange anecdotes with clarity and simplicity, qualities they both valued most as filmmakers.
Read about another book on Friedkin's list.

Also see Stefan Kanfer's five best books on remarkable Hollywood lives and Richard Schickel's five best show-biz biographies.

--Marshal Zeringue