David Dodge (Ward Bond) and John Ford on the set of The Wings of Eagles

(1)

From about the time I first saw Singin’ in the Rain [Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, 1952], I began to ponder why it is that directors are almost always depicted in such an odd way in the medium in which they are supposed to be so important. I have attempted to be definitive in my list of films about or featuring directing or directors, while my attempt to explain why is anything but. So I would be genuinely grateful for reader (and particularly director) input at [email protected].

– Richard Franklin – Director (between films)

Although cameras are almost always present when film directors are at work, the director is by definition “behind the camera”, so there is surprisingly little footage of directing prior to the advent of The Making of … documentaries, about which I shall say more later.

A brief history

Although directors can be glimpsed occasionally in early newsreel tours of the studios, it is rare to see them at work. A tantalising exception is the early Doris Day vehicle, It’s a Great Feeling (David Butler, 1949), in which Howard Hawks, King Vidor, Michael Curtiz and Butler can be glimpsed at work on the Warner Bros lot.

Obviously there have been many directors who can be seen by virtue of also being actors and from Laurence Olivier to Kenneth Branagh have directed themselves on-screen, while “pantheon” directors (2) John Ford and Ernst Lubitsch both began their careers as actors. Actor-director Orson Welles claimed to be so awed by what he described as John Huston’s “performance” as a director (behind the camera), when Welles appeared in Huston’s Moby Dick (1956), that he cast Huston as a director in his unfinished The Other Side of the Wind (1972). (3) This picture featured a facsimile of the relationship of master director John Ford and apprentice Peter Bogdanovich, who also appears in the film (and had also become a director by this time). Clint Eastwood played the title character for his director-mentor Don Siegel in Dirty Harry (1971) the same year as Siegel made a cameo as a barman in Eastwood’s directing début, Play Misty for Me.

Beyond the signature cameos of Alfred Hitchcock (and occasional others), non-actor-directors too have appeared in a number of films. German director Fritz Lang appears as himself (and out of work) in Le Mépris (Contempt, Jean-Luc Godard, 1963), with Godard as his assistant. But such an appearance of a director as himself is extremely rare. It was, however, considered something of a casting coup when Steven Spielberg persuaded another founder of the French New Wave, François Truffaut, to play a scientist in Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977). A number of directors, including Paul Mazursky, Laurence Kasdan, David Cronenberg and myself, appear in character roles in John Landis’ Into the Night (1985), and Landis repeated the feat with Michael Apted, Martin Brest, Joel Coen, Larry Cohen, Costa-Gavras, Terry Gilliam, Frank Oz and Sam Raimi in Spies Like Us (1985).

Although he directed it, Albert Brooks plays a frustrated writer in The Muse (Brooks, 1999), who, in the course of trying to meet with Spielberg, encounters only Steven’s putative cousin, Stan Spielberg (played by comedian Steven Wright), as well as real directors Rob Reiner, James Cameron and Martin Scorsese. These three have all appeared in other films: Cameron as himself in several of his own films, notably his IMAX Ghosts of the Abyss (2003); Reiner appears in his own This is Spinal Tap (1984) and Mike Nichols’ Postcards from the Edge (1990); and Scorsese appears (along with most of his family) as a television director in King of Comedy (Scorsese, 1983), but more notably as an agent in ’Round Midnight (Bernard Tavernier, 1986).

Gloria Swanson and Cecil B. DeMille in Sunset Boulevard

Francis Coppola appears fleetingly as a documentary/television director telling troops “Don’t look at the camera” in Apocalypse Now (Coppola, 1979), an amusing comment on the intersection between film and reality, and almost certainly a reference to director John Ford, the much decorated founder of the US Navy’s “Field Photographic Unit” in WWII, whose activities in Korea (and later Vietnam) became something of an embarrassment. (4)

Cecil Blount DeMille, director of spectacles, clearly enjoyed playing himself, since he did so to spectacular effect twenty-seven times on screen, most notably in Sunset Boulevard (Billy Wilder, 1950). This darkest of satires on the movie business contains a couple of extraordinary director moments. When washed-up movie star Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) visits Paramount and her onetime director, DeMille (who had actually directed Swanson), he is only interested in filming her car. However, she is directed onscreen, in the film’s final horrific close-up, by her butler-chauffer “Max”, played by the great silent director Erich von Stroheim. This moment piles irony upon irony since von Stroheim was once celebrated on the Paramount lot as a director or spectacles and it was he who had introduced the riding breeches of his native Austrian cavalry, adopted by DeMille as part of his signature attire (5). Steven Spielberg has appeared as similarly god (or DeMille) on several occasions, most notably in Austin Powers in Goldmember (Jay Roach, 2002), in which he (or rather a stand-in) exits doing super-human back-flips.

Films featuring Film Directing

Directors have also been played by actors, but it has become a tradition that such portrayals are almost always parodic, either in the demigod mould or, more often, that of the fool. Peter O’Toole’s director in The Stunt Man (Richard Rush, 1980) is in the director as demigod mould, an omnipotent Svengali defying gravity on a flying fox, while Peter Finch’s in The Legend of Lylah Clare (Robert Aldrich, 1968) literally drives his leading ladies to their death.

At the other extreme, we have the director as beset: Donald Sutherland in Alex in Wonderland (Paul Mazursky, 1970), flustered buffoon in Singin’ in the Rain, absurdly gay in The Producers (Susan Stroman, 2005; Mel Brooks, 1968) or the drunken “A Pismo Clam” whose job is taken over briefly to risible effect by W. C. Fields in The Bank Dick (Edward Kline, 1940).

A variation on this second extreme is that of the director as hustler, shyster or charlatan: Gene Hackman in Get Shorty (Barry Sonnenfeld, 1995), William H. Macy in State and Main (David Mamet, 2000) and Steve Martin in the title role of Bowfinger (Frank Oz, 1999). And in The Last Shot (Jeff Nathenson, 2004), Matthew Broderick may be a great and sensitive director, but we never find out since he never gets past his first shot.

An interesting combination of the two parodic extremes (demigod and fool) occurs in Neil Simon’s first screenplay and Peter Sellers’ portrayal of the director-as-“genius” in After the Fox (Vittorio De Sica, 1966). Sellers’ Frederico Fabrize (actually master criminal “The Fox”) hurls open a hotel window proclaiming “THERE is my script”, while his agent (Martin Balsam) defines neo-realism (of which the film’s real director was an exponent) as “no money”. So enamoured was Sellers with this portrayal of the director as inscrutable philosopher in the Michelangelo Antonioni/Alain Resnais mould (6), when he was interviewed on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1966 he did so in character (or rather caricature) as Fabrize, announcing his next project as “Il Trasho -The Garbage Man”. The film’s director, De Sica (a sometime actor), also appears briefly in the film, directing Moses’ crossing the desert (identified but uncredited as director John Huston). Perched atop a crane commanding “More sand in the desert”, his portrayal seems closer to a DeMille parody than the director of Ladri di biciclette (The Bicycle Thief, De Sica, 1948).

Another variation in the demigod mould is Clint Eastwood’s portrayal of John Huston as the ruthless and cruel John Wilson in White Hunter Black Heart (Eastwood, 1990). Edward G Robinson’s Maurice Kruger in Two Weeks in Another Town (Vincente Minnelli, 1962) would be as tough as his Germanic name suggests, were he not washed up, so he settles for hurling abuse at all and sundry. Jack Andrus (Kirk Douglas), however, is allowed to atone for this when he takes over as a sympathetic and capable director. I’d love to know what he whispers in his leading lady’s ear to tame her in one scene; however, his kicking her later is more in keeping with his producer characterisation in Minnelli’s earlier The Bad and the Beautiful (1952), in which one could be forgiven for imagining directors are entirely interchangeable or expendable.

But perhaps the most interesting intersection of a fictitious/parodic and a real director occurs in The Wings of Eagles (John Ford, 1957). When paraplegic writer Frank “Spig” Wead (John Wayne) is invited to Hollywood to add verisimilitude to stories about the navy, he is ushered into the office of one David Dodge (Ward Bond). Dodge is a thinly veiled caricature of the film’s real director Ford (a car by any other name …) and the latter characterised the idea as a prank by his “stock company”. Dodge is represented as an acerbic alcoholic who sleeps on the job and gives Wead bad career advice. Nonetheless, Dodge’s office was dressed with Ford’s awards and artefacts, Bond borrowed clothing from Ford’s wardrobe and, in a photograph of the two taken on set, “Dodge” looks like a clone of Ford (7).

There are arguably only three ‘biopics’ about directors – arguable because in two cases they are better know as performers and icons, and Chaplin (Richard Attenborough, 1992), like the earlier The Buster Keaton Story (Sidney Sheldon, 1957), is much more interested in the ups and downs of the namesake’s private life than his work behind a camera. Ed Wood (Tim Burton, 1994) is about a non-actor- director; however, the fact he was a cross-dresser and considered the worst director of all time seems more pertinent, as with the homosexuality and suicide of Frankenstein’s director, James Whale, long after he set foot on a movie set in Gods and Monsters (Bill Condon, 1998).

Actor-directors Orson Welles and Peter Bogdanovich have each been depicted in more than one film. Welles is a possessed genius in RKO 281 (Benjamin Ross, 1999), a possessed madman in The Cradle Will Rock (Tim Robbins, 1999) and some sort of possessing demon in Heavenly Creatures (Peter Jackson, 1994). Bogdanovich’s private life is featured in Star 80 (Bob Fosse, 1983) and Irreconcilable Differences (Charles Shyer, 1984), but both focussed on his womanising and his character was given a fictitious name.

Fictionalised Films about Directing and Directors

8½

The best fictionalised film about a director (though it features little directing) is Federico Fellini’s (1963). It is commonly believed the film is so named because Fellini considered it only half a film; that, after the international success of La Dolce Vita (1960), the director, like Guido (Marcello Mastroianni), its main character, a semi-autobiographical writer-director, couldn’t come up with a subject. In fact, Fellini’s previous contribution as one of four directors of Boccaccio ’70 (Fellini, De Sica, Luchino Visconti, Mario Monicelli, 1962) could be regarded as a half film between his eighth and ninth. However, since you can equally count a previous shared credit for L’Amore in città (Love in the City, Fellini, Antonioni, Alberto Lattuada, Carlo Lizzani, Francesco Maselli, Dino Risi, Cesare Zavatinni, 1953) as a half film, it is possible to tally Fellini’s feature output at this point in his career as eight-and-a-half films. (8) But by any other name, this portrait of a film director in the lag time between projects, between childhood and death (it is a palpable study of the male “mid life crisis”) and between all the women in his life, is the great study of the director’s psyche – one I thought inscrutably “deep” in my youth, but now find very funny. Apart from a handful of acting roles, Fellini makes a particularly striking appearance as a fictionalised director in the DeMille mould, supposedly directing a scene on a rainy freeway in his later Roma (1972).

Bob Fosse appeared as a dancer in a number of films, notably as “Tom, Dick or Harry” in Kiss Me Kate (George Sidney, 1953), and his All That Jazz (Fosse, 1979) is certainly in the same autobiographical mould as . Maybe more so since Fosse’s then partner, Anne Reinking, appears as the director’s mistress, the wife character closely resembles Fosse’s wife, Gwen Verdon, and the ending, with the director dying of a stress-induced heart attack to the words “…I’m a goin’ to die” (from the Everly Brothers’ “Bye bye love”), eerily foreshadows Fosse’s death nine years (and one picture) later. Characteristically, though, the director is fictionalised as “Joe Gideon”, played by actor Roy Scheider.

Although himself in Wild Man Blues (Barbara Kopple, 1997), a feature-length documentary about his dixieland clarinet playing, director Woody Allen has played a director on several occasions, but always fictionalised. Stardust Memories (Allen, 1980) begins as a homage to , with a fictitious (but obviously autobiographical) director attending a career retrospective and reflecting (like Guido in Fellini’s film) on the meaning of, and the women in, his life. But he admits his films are no longer funny and his “Sandy Bates” (which is probably a reference to the beach flashbacks in ) might as easily be a stand up comedian as a film director. His later hysterically blind director in Hollywood Ending (Allen, 2002) ought to be the ultimate portrait of the director as fool (seen literally prat-falling from the set at one point), but it is a lesser work, flawed in particular (and perhaps deliberately) by its ending. In Allen’s masterpiece, Crimes and Misdemeanours (1989), Woody also plays a fictitious director (of documentaries) failing at almost everything, including the attempted courtship of Halley Reed (Allen’s then wife Mia Farrow) (9), who runs off with Lester (Alan Alda), the producer subject of one of his films, while the other, a philosopher, suicides at the very moment Woody’s director looks to him for the meaning of life.

François Truffaut’s portrayal of “the man who answers questions” in La Nuit Américaine (Day for Night, 1973) is certainly the most self-effacing of portraits of a bewildered director, however his Ferrand is again a fictitious character, who plays a minor role in a fictionalised “how to” (or rather how not to) make a movie.

At the intersection between this category and the next lies the unique Someone to Love (Henry Jaglom, 1987), in which fictitious director “Danny”, played by the film’s director, ponders not the director’s role, but love and male angst in the wake of the women’s movement. This odd (and off-the-topic) reflection is made all the more tantalising by the final onscreen appearance of director Orson Welles, who adjudicates on Jaglom’s and his all female cast’s observations, but is identified in the credits not as Welles, but as “Danny’s friend”.

Above all, what distinguishes the “micro sub-genre” (10) of fictitious films featuring directors and directing is the fact that, however close each comes to autobiographical, and, even when directors play directors, in virtually every case the man (no woman director has made such a film) is given a fictitious name, presumably to reflect the fact they are all fictionalised and somewhat exaggerated portraits of the role.

Documentary and Television

Filmmaker

Apart from the aforementioned Woody Allen and Henri Jaglom films, almost no documentaries about film directors have been designed for the big screen. One exception occurred when Peter Bogdanovich, flushed with the success of The Last Picture Show (1971), was able to garner support for the feature-length compilation, Directed by John Ford (1971), which contains clips and interviews, including a short and amusing interview with the veteran director. But since distribution of the film has been mostly at festivals and in 16mm, Bogdanovich later said he regretted his decision to produce it in 35mm. Fledgling director George Lucas probably had theatrical aspirations when he followed his mentor Francis Coppola with a 16mm camera throughout the production of The Rain People (Coppola, 1969) and his short film (11), Filmmaker (1969), is an insightful time capsule of breakaway Hollywood independent filmmaking in the late 1960s. Ten years later, Eleanor Coppola followed her husband through production of the frought Apocalypse Now, but, although the diaries she wrote were published (12), the 16mm footage she shot was not finally seen until it was incorporated into the television documentary, Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse (Fax Bahr, George Hickenlooper and Eleanor Coppola, 1991). But such productions were rare until the advent of videotape changed everything.

Every country and almost every city in the US now has its equivalent of Entertainment Tonight (CBS Network USA). Directors commonly travel with key cast on promotional tours organised by distributors and on rare occasions interviews on such shows can be somewhat in depth. Often, however, they are faked, the director and others having videotaped prepared answers supplied on the so called “Electronic Press Kit” in response to questions which have been edited out, but prepared by a publicist employed by the distributor. On a “junket” organized by Universal on Psycho II (Franklin, 1982), Tony Perkins and myself were installed in adjoining hotel suites in Los Angeles and for close to eight hours were interviewed by regional television journalists flown in from all over the US. Each was given a ten-minute videocassette, and use of the same camera and lighting. Questions were necessarily superficial and pretty repetitious, which gave an insight into how the “pat” answers which survive a publicity conscious director like Hitchcock may have evolved (13).

To list all the television documentaries about directors would be impossible. The BBC, for example, which has produced many, is not in fact one organization with a central database, but hundreds of departments with maybe thousands of databases. It is, however, possible to say that, since virtually none of the directors of “classic” cinema was directing by the time of the advent of portable video cameras, most overviews are simply interviews with clips of their work. With the odd exception (below), such documentary and television productions contain little or no footage of directors directing. I shall, however, mention several outstanding career overviews.

In his eight-part The Men Who Made the Movies for American Public television (1972-3), Time magazine critic Richard Schickel profiled Hitchcock, George Cukor, Howard Hawks, King Vidor, Raoul Walsh and Minnelli. Schickel has also done more recent career profiles of directors Charles Chaplin, Clint Eastwood, Elia Kazan, Arthur Penn and Martin Scorsese.

In addition to Bogdanovich’s film about Ford (above), the American Film Institute also produced a series of videos of its “Life Achievement” award ceremonies, notably for Ford, Hitchcock, Frank Capra and Wilder. They also part financed Robert J. Emery’s series, The Directors (Emery, 1997-9), which profiled more contemporary directors such as Sydney Pollack, Norman Jewison and Robert Altman.

Apart from a television profile of DeMille (14), English critic Kevin Brownlow has mostly focussed on silent films, profiling Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd, and making the amazing Unknown Chaplin (Brownlow and David Gill, 1983) (15), which shows literally hours of unseen footage of Chaplin at work as an actor, writer and, to a lesser extent, director (Chaplin’s process was unique). But the single fifteen-second shot of him behind the camera is remarked upon as something Chaplin eschewed. Also of note is the excellent German-English series of interviews with Billy Wilder by German director Volker Schlöndorff. (16)

As noted, the BBC is particularly prolific in the biographical area, and has done excellent life profiles of John Ford, Orson Welles, Akira Kurosawa, Woody Allen, Michael Powell and many others. Typically, most include little or no footage of the directors at work; however, in Arena’s Making of The Shining (Vivian Kubrick, 1980), the director’s daughter includes terrific footage of her father at work, revealing him to be anything but the idiosyncratic recluse we had been led to believe he was. And The South Bank Show life-profile of English director David Lean (17) includes superb footage of the director at work in India, mostly long suffering with his cast on his last film, A Passage to India (1985).

Although the BBC’s early The Epic That Never Was (no director credited, 1965) contains frustratingly little archival footage of Josef von Sternberg on the abandoned I Claudius (1937), more recently Lost in La Mancha (Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe, 2002) provides an interesting portrait of director Terry Gilliam directing his similarly ill-fated film of Cervantes’ epic Don Quixote. Fulton and Pepe’s previous making of, on the DVD of Twelve Monkeys (Gilliam, 1995), is almost as long as the film itself and provides an astonishingly self-effacing portrait of Gilliam also lost in his work (18) on that film.

Gilliam’s ill-fated Don Quixote is redolent of Orson Welles’ also unfinished film of the same subject, which was in production so long its director said he was considering re-titling it “When Are You Going to Finish Don Quixote?”. (19) And perhaps the only time a director has directed himself as himself is Welles’ Making Othello (1978), though it is essentially cobbled together from an extended dialogue with Hilton Edwards and Michael Macliammor, both of whom appear in Welles’ film of Othello (1952) and a q&a at a university after a screening of that picture. Welles’ F for Fake (1974) also contains autobiographical references, but no footage of Welles directing.

DVDs and The Making of …

Laurent Bouzereau

As noted, the modern The Making of … has changed all this. The first facsimile thereof was shot in 16mm black and white on the set of The Searchers (John Ford, 1956) and serialised during telecasts of the regular Warner Bros television Western series (Wagon Train, Rawhide, Bronco and others) to promote the Technicolor picture. One glimpses Ford at work on arguably his greatest film, but regrettably without sound. And the 2- to 3-minute segments cover all aspects of production in Monument Valley, Utah, so these glimpses are tantalising at best.

16mm filming behind the scenes was expensive and difficult, often requiring a second film crew and, with noisy non-sound cameras, this could upset the main unit. But with the advent and access (even to crew members) of small high-quality digital cameras, almost every contemporary film has a documentary unit working behind the scenes. The pre-eminent exponent of the form is French-American Laurent Bouzereau, who has more than 150 Makings of … to his credit, although most are used as promotional tools only and, as of the time of writing, only a small percentage are available. Bouzereau has made several excellent Makings of … after the fact, in particular the “Signature series” on the work of Alfred Hitchcock. However, he is somewhat hamstrung by the fact that Hitchcock and most of the directors of “classic” cinema are dead, so second-hand accounts by relatives, production associates and the odd director (20) have to substitute. Contemporary directors Spielberg, Roman Polanski and Brian De Palma hire Bouzerau to document their own productions, but the focus of the documentaries produced (usually as “extras” on “special” DVDs) is not exclusively on the Director’s role. To quote Bouzereau, “The pieces are usually introduced by the director, but then the focus is more on the craft.”

Time and the advent of digital technology may yet redress the balance (certainly suggested by Peter Jackson’s ground-breaking King Kong Production Diaries, originally “netcast” during the production of that picture) (21), but for now let me conjecture briefly on the reasons directors have been so poorly served by the film medium.

Why?

It can probably be argued artists and the creative process have been poorly served by the motion picture in general: for example, Strauss composing “Tales from the Vienna Woods” simply by riding in a carriage through it in The Great Waltz (Julien Duvivier, 1938); then there’s Kirk Douglas’ lusty Van Gogh in Lust for Life (Vincente Minnelli, 1956), or Charlton Heston’s macho Michelangelo in The Agony and the Ecstasy (Carol Reed, 1965). But in the depiction on film of the director of narrative film it is more than this – a convention almost.

I cannot believe modesty is the reason, though more actors have disappeared behind the camera than the other way around – most conspicuously after Citizen Kane (1941), wunderkind Orson Welles vanished behind a microphone for his second picture, The Magnificent Ambersons (1942). (22) Nor that directors avoid explaining their craft for fear that, like a magician teaching a trick, it would somehow diminish the magic.

But if I can infer from my own experience, directors don’t really know what directing looks like. I have watched only a few other directors at work (23), and seldom stayed for more than a couple of shots. It’s such a slow process it’s boring even when you know what they’re doing. Whereas when you’re doing it, the concentration is so intense there is no time to hold a mirror up. So, perhaps we opt for and thus perpetuate the stereotype(s).

I suspect the answer also probably lies in the fact most actors fancy they could direct and directors choose not to refine their broad strokes attempts at assuming the mantle. (24) This may be further exacerbated, too, by the battle for authorship between writers and directors. And since, as Robert Riskin once observed, a blank page cannot be given “the Capra touch” or any other, directors have simply enjoyed the conceit of perpetuating the two extremes of the director’s challenge: appearing to be in control at all times (the demigod), while often feeling utterly helpless (the fool).

Beyond this I am open to suggestions …

This article has been refereed.

Endnotes

  1. Paraphrasing a famous cartoon (Esquire I think) in which an agent is touting a talking dog with the words: “No you don’t understand. He wants to direct”.
  2. The term was coined in Andrew Sarris, The American Cinema: Directors and Directions 1929-1968 (New York: Dutton, 1968), the seminal work on the director as “auteur”.
  3. I have seen the existing 50 or so minutes of this film, courtesy of Welles’ former partner, Oja Kodar, and portions of it appear in a television documentary, Orson Welles: One Man Band (Vassli Silovic, 1995).
  4. Ford ordered the destruction of a village in Korea for filming purposes and his last pro-Vietnam film was withheld.
  5. Like Josef von Sternberg’s signature turban, von Stroheim’s jodhpurs and riding crop were also an affectation, since he never actually served in the Austrian cavalry.
  6. The notion of “hidden meaning”, particularly in European cinema of the 1950s, is all but forgotten, but I always found it absurdly amusing that directors would choose to veil or encrypt what they hoped to communicate. Interviews with Antonioni at the time of L’Avventura and Resnais at the time of L’Année dernière à Marienbad (Last Year at Marienbad, 1961), however, suggest there was some truth to this.
  7. Strangely, the picture they are seen collaborating on is Hell Drivers (from a story by Wead but directed by George W. Hill, 1931), whereas they actually collaborated on They Were Expendable (John Ford, 1945).
  8. Immodestly, the author (along with most modern film directors) has a similar problem tallying his television work. Does a Movie of the Week/telemovie count as a full feature and, if so, how do you count television pilots and episodes?
  9. It was, in fact, the other way round, as it was Woody Allen who would leave Mia Farrow for another woman (Farrow’s adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn). Few people realise, however, Farrow is the daughter of Australian-born Hollywood director John Farrow (and actress Margaret O’Sullivan – Jane to Johnny Weismuller’s Tarzan).
  10. Illusion 24 frames per second: François Truffaut’s La Nuit Américaine” by Danny Fairfax, Senses of Cinema no. 35, April-June 2005.
  11. Originally slightly over an hour, it was later cut down to 23 minutes.
  12. Eleanor Coppola, Notes – On the Making of Apocalypse Now (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1979).
  13. When asked about Dial M for Murder, Hitchcock often quipped he could have “phoned it in”, giving the impression he considered it a lesser work. The fact he was using press jargon (for filing a story) undoubtedly evolved in an interview context, and his play on the title of the piece seem to have been overlooked.
  14. Cecil B DeMille: American Epic (Kevin Brownlow, 2004), Turner Classic Movies.
  15. PBS, Thames, 1986.
  16. “Billy Wilder, wie haben Sie’s gemacht?” (Billy, how did you do it?, Gisela Grishow and Volker Schlöndorff, 1992), BBC, Bioskop.
  17. The South Bank Show: David Lean – A life in film (Charles Wattis, 1984), BBC.
  18. Chastened by his experience at the hands of Universal on Brazil (1985), Terry Gilliam states up front he wants this one “on the record”, whatever the outcome, and the interface with his producers here is anything but flattering to either camp.
  19. In fact, a version of Welles’ picture does exist, Don Quixote de Orson Welles (Jesus Franco, 1992), and contains footage of Welles driving about his sometime adopted Spain. It cannot, however, be guessed whether any or all of this resembles the film Welles shot over a thirty-year period, from 1955 to his death in ’85.
  20. The author has appeared in several.
  21. Available on 2-DVD Universal set, 2005.
  22. He said later this was an error and that he should have done Hamlet with himself in the lead (as Laurence Olivier would do seven years later).
  23. Apart from commercials and episodic television, I have been present with William Wyler (directing Funny Girl, 1968), Hitchcock (Topaz, 1970), Wilder (The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, 1970, Spielberg (1941, 1979, and Twilight Zone, 1983), Robert Zemeckis (Romancing the Stone, 1984), Landis (Into the Night, 1985), Jim Henson (Labyrinth, 1986) and both George Millers (Twilight Zone and The Man from Snowy River, 1982).
  24. To quote Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd, “actors always arrive overdone”. Normally, directors help them pare back their first broad-stroke attempts, but, as with the Ford-Dodge example above, it’s possible their first efforts are left unchecked.