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Conversations with Hollywood's Legendary Actors

Written by Peter BogdanovichAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Peter Bogdanovich

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On Sale: December 22, 2010
Pages: 544 | ISBN: 978-0-307-75783-8
Published by : Ballantine Books Ballantine Group
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Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

Peter Bogdanovich, known primarily as a director, film historian and critic, has been working with professional actors all his life. He started out as an actor (he debuted on the stage in his sixth-grade production of Finian’s Rainbow); he watched actors work (he went to the theater every week from the age of thirteen and saw every important show on, or off, Broadway for the next decade); he studied acting, starting at sixteen, with Stella Adler (his work with her became the foundation for all he would ever do as an actor and a director).

Now, in his new book, Who the Hell’s in It, Bogdanovich draws upon a lifetime of experience, observation and understanding of the art to write about the actors he came to know along the way; actors he admired from afar; actors he worked with, directed, befriended. Among them: Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, John Cassavetes, Charlie Chaplin, Montgomery Clift, Marlene Dietrich, Henry Fonda, Ben Gazzara, Audrey Hepburn, Boris Karloff, Dean Martin, Marilyn Monroe, River Phoenix, Sidney Poitier, Frank Sinatra, and James Stewart.
Bogdanovich captures—in their words and his—their work, their individual styles, what made them who they were, what gave them their appeal and why they’ve continued to be America’s iconic actors.

On Lillian Gish: “the first virgin hearth goddess of the screen . . . a valiant and courageous symbol of fortitude and love through all distress.”

On Marlon Brando: “He challenged himself never to be the same from picture to picture, refusing to become the kind of film star the studio system had invented and thrived upon—the recognizable human commodity each new film was built around . . . The funny thing is that Brando’s charismatic screen persona was vividly apparent despite the multiplicity of his guises . . . Brando always remains recognizable, a star-actor in spite of himself. ”

Jerry Lewis to Bogdanovich on the first laugh Lewis ever got onstage: “I was five years old. My mom and dad had a tux made—I worked in the borscht circuit with them—and I came out and I sang, ‘Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?’ the big hit at the time . . . It was 1931, and I stopped the show—naturally—a five-year-old in a tuxedo is not going to stop the show? And I took a bow and my foot slipped and hit one of the floodlights and it exploded and the smoke and the sound scared me so I started to cry. The audience laughed—they were hysterical . . . So I knew I had to get the rest of my laughs the rest of my life, breaking, sitting, falling, spinning.”

John Wayne to Bogdanovich, on the early years of Wayne’s career when he was working as a prop man: “Well, I’ve naturally studied John Ford professionally as well as loving the man. Ever since the first time I walked down his set as a goose-herder in 1927. They needed somebody from the prop department to keep the geese from getting under a fake hill they had for Mother Machree at Fox. I’d been hired because Tom Mix wanted a box seat for the USC football games, and so they promised jobs to Don Williams and myself and a couple of the players. They buried us over in the properties department, and Mr. Ford’s need for a goose-herder just seemed to fit my pistol.”
These twenty-six portraits and conversations are unsurpassed in their evocation of a certain kind of great movie star that has vanished. Bogdanovich’s book is a celebration and a farewell.


From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpt

MARLON BRANDO

The first and only star I ever asked for an autograph was Marlon Brando; he was also the first star I had met. It was around New Year’s 1954, I was fourteen, and had just seen a matinee at New York’s City Center starring
José Ferrer in a heavy drama, The Shrike. Outside on the darkening winter sidewalk, I was looking at the posters proclaiming the production “a major cultural event” when I glanced up the street toward Seventh Avenue, and instantly from about a half-block away recognized the person coming toward me. My heart started beating faster as I quickly turned back to the poster. I felt I had to talk to him: it was Marlon Brando, for God’s sake, and if I didn’t get an autograph, no one would believe I had just seen him walking up 55th Street toward Sixth Avenue.

I knew Brando was in town shooting the longshoreman drama On the Waterfront, with Elia Kazan directing (and for which Brando would win his first Best Actor Oscar), but I didn’t know until I saw the film eight months later that he was wearing his costume home: soon-to-be-familiarto-the-world gray checkered jacket, work pants and motorcycle boots. I glanced again; when he was just a few feet away, absorbed in thought, hands shoved into the jacket’s side pockets, I turned and approached him, saying, “Mr. Brando, may I have your autograph?”

He didn’t alter his step a fraction, looked at me briefly, and just kept walking as he said, fairly deadpan, with that slightly nasal Midwestern twang, “Yeah.” I fell in step with him, starting to search for a pad and pencil
I knew I had somewhere, which is what I muttered. Brando looked over at me, still walking, and said, not unpleasantly, “You got a pen?”

I repeated that it was on me someplace and, to fill the moment, said enthusiastically that I had just seen José Ferrer in The Shrike. Had he seen it?

“Yeah,” he said, “I thought it stunk.”

I stammered something meek, finally found the pencil and small pad, handed them over. Still without hesitating or changing his stride, Brando signed his name lengthwise on the pad, first name above the second, then gave it and the pencil back to me. I thanked him and, still a bit thrown by his comment on the Ferrer production, couldn’t really get it together for another remark, mind speeding the whole time to a kind of blurred blank. I would later recognize that same strange look of stasis on people asking for my autograph. The mind goes into overload–there is suddenly so much to talk about that no words at all can formulate themselves.

At this point in his career, Brando was already a kind of legend and yet he had appeared only in two successful Broadway plays (in the original Life with Father and in Kazan’s production of Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire) and five films, of which two (Fred Zinnemann’s The Men, and Laslo Benedek’s The Wild One, both produced by Stanley Kramer) had done poorly at the box office. When I ran into him on the
street, I’d seen four of those five film performances more than once: seen him as Stanley Kowalski in Kazan’s film version of A Streetcar Named Desire (Brando’s first Oscar nomination); in the title role for Kazan’s Viva
Zapata!,
written by John Steinbeck; as Marc Antony in the all-star Joseph Mankiewicz—John Houseman production of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar; and as the rebel biker in The Wild One, the first biker film, essentially the start of the modern Western.

After twelve years, Roger Corman had the first success in this genre with The Wild Angels (for which I wrote 80 percent of the final script and directed the second unit), making Peter Fonda a star and therefore setting
the stage for Easy Rider three years later, which finally made the genre legitimate. And altered the Hollywood hierarchy radically for a while by inaugurating the brief Era of the Director in the United States, of which
Brando himself would become an integral, indeed crucial, element with his 1972 performances in The Godfather and Last Tango in Paris, the wheel coming full circle.

Brando’s first picture, The Men, had not been in circulation since its small initial 1950 release; Brando as a paraplegic was such a dud financially that when it was reissued (not until 1957, to cash in on Brando’s extraordinary popularity in the mid-fifties) the title was changed to Battle Stripe to make it seem like a new war film. The public wasn’t fooled and the movie fared no better. The Wild One (despite the success of Streetcar and moderate winners Zapata and Caesar) had recently opened in New York as the top half of a one-week double-bill, a sure sign that the studio didn’t think it would work commercially.

Meanwhile, Brando is brilliant in both, and was already by this moment in time the hippest actor there was, the most influential, most imitated, most controversial, most respected by other actors. Since I wanted very much to be a professional actor, my awe in his presence essentially rendered me speechless though my mind was racing with all those many images of Brando I had already accumulated. The whole truth is that in those early teenage days I was a popular mimic at school, doing impressions of a number of stars, Brando prominent among them, and to such a degree that within a year or so some students started calling me Marlon.

By now, Brando and I had reached the corner of Sixth Avenue and 55th. The light was green so Brando kept going. I thanked him again as he moved off the curb and glanced at me to say, “So-long, kid.” As he did I
noticed one boot stepped into a pile of dog shit. I thought of advising him of what had happened but he continued on determinedly, hands shoved back into jacket pockets, and I flashed that my father had said stepping in dog shit was good luck. Certainly before I could figure out how to say, “You just stepped in dog shit,” he was at the other side of the avenue, and soon disappearing into the darkness.

For years I treasured the little piece of paper with Brando’s signature on it, carrying it in my wallet long into my twenties (though now it’s lost). That evening, on the bus home, I felt a kind of magical sense of being special,
of being among the chosen; why else would I be lucky enough to have had such an encounter? My inside pocket glowed like hot gold with the proof it contained of the miracle, the benediction. Certainly, I’d never felt anything like this before. Perhaps it’s the sudden proximity to genius, talent or celebrity; the old thing about the spotlight falling on you because you’re momentarily illuminated by the star’s glow: reflected glory. I have felt it many times since that chance meeting with Brando but never again with the kind of intense mystery of the first experience.


From the Hardcover edition.
Peter Bogdanovich|Author Q&A

About Peter Bogdanovich

Peter Bogdanovich - Who the Hell's in It

Photo © Universal Pictures

After spending most of his teens studying acting with the legendary Stella Adler, and working as an actor in live TV and various theaters around the country, including the New York and the American Shakespeare Festivals, Peter Bogdanovich began directing plays Off-Broadway and in N.Y. summer theater at age 20. He wrote a series of three monographs on Orson Welles, Howard Hawks, and Alfred Hitchcock for the Museum of Modern Art, the first such retrospective studies of these directors in America. He also began writing a classic series of feature articles and profiles for Esquire, most notably a ground-breaking tribute to Humphrey Bogart, as well as definitive pieces on James Stewart, Jerry Lewis, John Ford, and others.

In 1966 he began working in movies first as Roger Corman’s assistant on the hit, The Wild Angels. Though uncredited, Bogdanovich re-wrote most of the script and directed the second unit. Within a year, Corman financed Bogdanovich’s first film as director-writer-producer-actor with the cult classic, Targets, starring Boris Karloff in his last great film role. In 1971, Bogdanovich commanded the approving attention of both critics and public with The Last Picture Show, starring then-unknowns Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd, Ellen Burstyn, Cloris Leachman, and other newcomers, a brilliant look at small-town Texan-American life in the early 1950s. The film won the New York Film Critics’ Circle Award for Best Screenplay (which Bogdanovich co-wrote with novelist Larry McMurtry), the British Academy Award for Best Screenplay, and received a total of eight Academy Award nominations, including three for Bogdanovich. The Library of Congress later designated the film a National Treasure.

An unapologetic popularizer of the classic Hollywood era of great movie makers, Bogdanovich had a second huge success in 1972 with What’s Up Doc?, a madcap romantic farce starring Barbara Streisand and Ryan O’Neal, made in the style of ‘30s screwball comedy; it won The Writers’ Guild of America Award for Best Screenplay, on which Bogdanovich had worked with Buck Henry, David Newman and Bob Benton. One year later, he recreated a memorable vision of rural ‘30s America with Paper Moon, a Depression Era tale about a pair of unlikely con artists, which got four Academy Award nominations and won a Supporting Actress Oscar for nine-year-old Tatum O’Neal in her screen debut, the youngest performer ever to win an Academy Award. The film was also awarded the Silver Shell at The San Sebastian Film Festival.

Bogdanovich followed this success with the critically acclaimed Daisy Miller, for which he was named Best Director at the Brussels Film Festival. Another highly praised drama followed with Bogdanovich’s version of the Paul Theroux novel, Saint Jack, starring Ben Gazzara and Denholm Elliot, which told the story of an amiable and ambitious American pimp living in Singapore. Shot entirely on location, the picture received the coveted Critics’ Prize at the Venice Film Festival. After directing Audrey Hepburn in her last starring picture, the bittersweet romantic comedy, They All Laughed, co-starring Gazzara, John Ritter, and Dorothy Stratten, and filmed in New York, Bogdanovich scored another major triumph with 1985’s Mask, starring Cher and Eric Stoltz in the true story of a boy whose face has been terribly disfigured by a rare disease and the mother who has instilled in her son a sense of confidence and love. The film won an Academy Award and Cher won the Best Actress Prize at the Cannes Film Festival.

After guiding Michael Frayn’s classic theater comedy Noises Off to the screen for Steven Spielberg’s company with an all-star cast, including Michael Caine and Carol Burnett, he directed the well-received sequel to The Last Picture Show, based on Larry McMurtry’s best-seller, Texasville. In 2002, Bogdanovich again received critical praise and commercial success with The Cat’s Meow. This suspenseful and entertaining satirical drama tells the true story of a mysterious 1924 death on board the yacht of William Randolph Hearst; starring Kirsten Dunst (as Marion Davies), Eddie Izzard (as Charlie Chaplin), Edward Herrmann (as Hearst) and Jennifer Tilly (as Louella Parsons), all of whom garnered glowing notices.

Having published over twelve books on various aspects of film and filmmaking, Bogdanovich currently has four of his works in print: the bestselling Who The Devil Made It (1997), which includes interviews with sixteen legendary directors, including Alfred Hitchcock, Fritz Lang, George Cukor, and Howard Hawks; Peter Bogdanovich’s Movie of the Week (1999), a collection of pieces on fifty-two film recommendations for a year of classics; This Is Orson Welles (revised and expanded edition 1998), comprised of his conversations over a period of five years with the legendary Orson Welles; and his classic interview book, John Ford, which has been continuously in print since its first edition in 1967. Who The Devil Made It received a Special Citation from the Los Angeles Film Critics’ Association, as well as the coveted Barbari Award from the Italian Film Critics’ Association.

In early 2004, Bogdanovich’s 3-hour TV film, The Mystery of Natalie Wood, premiered; his ESPN movie, Hustle, about baseball legend Pete Rose, airs nationwide on September 25, 2004. The sixth season of the award-winning HBO series, The Sopranos, which he directs and in which he has had the recurring role of the shrink’s shrink, will air in 2005.

Author Q&A

A Conversation with Peter Bogdanovich

Q: While this is a book about actors, do you see it as a companion volume to your book Who the Devil Made It about directors?

A: It was very much intended as a companion volume to Who the Devil Made It which was interviews with directors. But this is a more personal book and there’s very little Q&A in it. The other book had prose introductions–short profiles about each director–but this book is largely profiles of actors. So it’s a much more personal book and much more a book with my own voice in it.

Q: The actors who make up these 25 chapters are rather an eclectic group–how did you come to include those that you did?

A: I included everybody who I thought made an impact on me and about whom I could tell an interesting story or stories; about whom I had opinions, and about whom I thought the audience would be interested. It was a personal choice. I also decided to leave out mostly anybody from my own generation, contemporaries--that was not the kind of book I wanted to do. This is a book about the great movie stars. And I was fortunate enough to know a number of them. Certain exceptions, like River Phoenix, who had a tragically short life, I include because I thought it would be appropriate in this book. The choices were personal, the book is personal.

Q: In your own career, why did you move from being more of an actor to more of a director?

A: As I said in the book, I think what I hated about acting is the auditioning process which I found to be not fair and not particularly accurate in terms of judging talent. Some actors who are very good at auditioning aren’t very good at acting and some actors who are really good actors aren’t very good at auditioning. It’s a different thing. And I think that’s what did it. Plus, I had the sort of naïve idea that if I was directing it was like playing all the parts. It’s not really true because acting requires different muscles and I’m sorry I didn’t do more of it. But the main reason was the auditioning process, I didn’t enjoy that at all.

Q: How important to you were your days at Esquire magazine in the ‘60s, when, as a journalist, you were assigned a lot of large profiles of actors?

A: Those years in the ‘60s with Esquire, when Esquire was at its peak, were very important, not only in terms of giving me access to a great many stars but also in terms of writing and exposure and having a place from which to speak. It was a very important time for me and it was an important time for the magazine, as it really was the beginning of what they called the “new journalism” which relied a great deal on observation, detail, and events. I learned a lot about that kind of writing by doing it. It was a great place to be at that time.

Q: It was amazing to learn from your book that after the initial hype was over, talking pictures never packed the houses to the extent of their silent predecessors. What was it about the silent art form that had such an effect on people? In saying so very little, were Chaplin and Keaton and Gish–even Clara Bow–actually saying more?

A: The difference between silent pictures and sound pictures is immense and silent stars had a greater impact than talking stars because they didn’t speak–there was no language barrier–therefore Douglas Fairbanks was just as important in Czechoslovakia as he was in Texas. They understood him equally. The same thing with Charlie Chaplin; he was as popular to a tribe in Africa as he was to a bunch of school kids in Iowa. So it’s the lack of sound, the lack of language actually, that made it universal. Therefore everybody in the whole world could go to the same movie. Once the novelty of sound wore off-–it took about a year and a half–attendance figures dropped and continued to drop. Movies never really achieved the extraordinary popularity they had in the ‘20s. Again, I think it was the universality, the hallmark of silent pictures, the fact that there was no language barrier.

Q: The departure of the old studio system seems an inevitable step in the history of film. What brought that system down? And what was lost when the studios stopped tending to the careers of their actors?

A: The old studio system, which really ended around 1962 (basically the end of contract talent), had its own flaws of course–nothing’s perfect–but it contributed to the enormous number of stars that flourished in the ‘20s, ‘30s, ‘40s, and even into the ‘50s. Never before did you have so many talented writers, directors, producers, all working to enhance and to maximize the gifts of various actors. What people were looking for in those days was very different than today. They were looking for what I think I described in the book as beauty with peculiarities. In the silent era that was true and in the talking era more so. But that whole system and what it produced doesn’t exist anymore.

Q: Your chapter on Stella Adler, whom you studied with, is fascinating for what it says about the art of the craft–and how much she differed from the Strasberg “method” acting and instead spoke of a “heightened reality” in acting. Can you describe her style and why she was such an amazing teacher for everyone from Marlon Brando to Benicio del Toro?

A: The book goes into great detail about Stella’s technique and others like Strasberg. She started out as the only American actor to work with the real Stanislavski, she saw him toward the end of his life in Paris. And she brought back her notes from that experience and it changed acting in America. She was extraordinarily forceful, a very theatrical teacher, and a great personality. She was an amazing woman and had an enormous impact on me and everybody else who worked with her. I go into quite a bit of detail in the chapter as to how she worked and what she was like. She was inspiring and terrifying and funny and an inspiration to everybody.

Q: In choosing such an eclectic group to write about, you pay particular attention to each actor’s individual achievement, recognizing each actor’s unique abilities. But the question remains: What makes a good actor?

A: There are any number of different kinds of good actors but believability is one thing. I think movie acting and theater acting are different and movie-acting required, especially in the old studio system days, a kind of fixed personality that variations could be played on from picture to picture, but a certain personality was recognizable from picture to picture. This distinguishes people like John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant. With the fall of the studio system that’s gone and movie-acting now has a lot to do with versatility. Since the advent of Brando the emphasis has been on versatility; the actors don’t want to be typed. But movie-acting still has to do with believability, authenticity, reality and a sense of truth.

Q: There was a time, as you note, when Marlon Brando was “the hippest actor there was, the most influential, most imitated, most controversial, most respected by other actors.” Has his influence diminished and will his presence still be felt in fifty years?

A: It’s impossible to predict how long Brando’s presence will continue to be felt. But as far as actors are concerned, there’s before Brando and after Brando, I don’t think there’s any question about that. He had an enormous impact on actors and therefore acting. I think his biggest contribution was the fact that he refused to be typed from picture to picture and insisted on being different. Of course, this is ironic because Brando had a personality that came through despite his various disguises. And he remained recognizable.

Q: You note that there was an essential “quality of danger” and a “repressed violence” to Ben Gazzara. Is this what so attracted audiences to him? Is this what made him such an interesting actor to watch, even if he never reached the success he should have?

A: Ben Gazzara was the first actor who exploded on Broadway a few years after Brando. He had an amazing kind of sense of repressed violence and intensity which is captured in a few of his pictures. Gazzara really came into pictures too late to benefit from the old studio system. If he had arrived in the ‘30s he would have been a much bigger star because the system would have worked to emphasize his best qualities. There was nobody to do that so he was often stuck with poor pictures. His greatest triumphs were in the theater and that was always his greatest love anyway.

Q: You tell the story of Cary Grant giving up acting because he simply couldn’t live up to the image of himself. A sadder story is the encounter you describe with Montgomery Clift in his later years. Both seem to testify to, as you quote Arthur Miller saying, “the demeaning aspect of the whole thing.” What is it about Hollywood that turns so many bright, young talents into almost tragic figures?

A: I don’t think Cary Grant was a tragic figure. With Cary Grant, the burden of remaining young and attractive in a romantic way was difficult for him and after he reached a certain age in the mid-‘60s he felt he was too old to be a romantic figure. When the public essentially rejected him in another point of view, an older matchmaker in Walk Don’t Run, he decided that was it. And he also wanted to devote his full time to his daughter.

Monty Cliff had a tragic end which was brought about largely by a terrible automobile accident which disfigured him and although he was patched together he never quite looked the same. And so his somewhat flawless poetic quality was lost and he died young. But being a movie star is not an easy burden; it’s difficult to embody all the things that a man like John Wayne or Cary Grant or Jimmy Stewart embodied. It’s difficult for one mortal to be all those things. And Arthur Miller talks about an element of contempt that goes with fame and stardom, which is also true. But that’s what the book is about.

Q: Writing abut Marilyn Monroe, writer David Thomson questions “whether she was a comedienne or a voluptuous ideal laughed at by her films.” He goes on to add, “it seems . . . difficult to accept her as a tragic figure, because she was hardly able to grasp what was happening to her.” Isn’t this the essential question with Monroe?

A: I think Monroe had a sense of what was happening to her and what had happened to her. She had a tragic life prior to becoming a movie star and it’s very difficult to survive such a fractured childhood and a maligned youth as she had. She had a great sense of what was going on. As Lauren Bacall said, she knew what to do when the cameras turned on. She had an enormously low self-esteem which made her frightened in front of a camera. And yet she was extraordinary in front of it. She was, as I say in the book, one of the most tragic victims of stardom. It made her and destroyed her as well.

Q: Why Sinatra? How can he compete with the likes of Brando, Clift, Stewart, Cassavetes, and Poitier, to name a few you’ve included? Doesn’t Sinatra’s particular contribution come in a different way altogether or is he here as an “actor of songs” as you call him?

A: Frank Sinatra is one of the biggest phenomenons of the 20th century entertainment world. He did anything, besides acting and singing, he had a tremendous impact socially; his style was imitated and had a great reverberation. When he focused on it he was a very, very good actor, as is clear in Man With the Golden Arm and Some Came Running. He also was, as I said, a great actor of songs. What I mean by that is, he used to say that every song was a one-act play for one actor. And no one was better at acting a song, particularly a sad song, than Sinatra. He understood the heartbreak of lost love and conveyed it in an enormously memorable way. The book is full of icons of our popular culture and Sinatra was one of the great ones.

Q: The title of your book almost seems ironic, as if we didn’t know who these actors were. Does it point to those who have affected your life, rather than to a who’s who list of film stars?

A: Well, from the outset I intended the book to be a personal book. Acting is a personal medium; you’re using your body, your voice, your soul, to interpret and to convey emotion, and I decided to keep it very personal. There has been a lot written about a number of the actors in the book–biographies, autobiographies, articles, and encyclopedias crammed with them. What I thought was most important was the firsthand approach–my own personal experiences, conversations, encounters with these people–and that’s what I thought was the most important thing I had to contribute was my own memories of these now-legendary figures. The idea was to try to humanize them and the only way to do that was to make it a firsthand look at the various iconic figures in the book.


From the Hardcover edition.

Praise

Praise

“[Peter Bogdanovich] knows practically everything about the movies…this book is among the richest (and most delightful) ever written about Hollywood. Deeply elegiac.”
–Ben Schwarz, Atlantic Monthly

“An invaluable archive of a nearly lost cinematic world that director-actor Bogdanovich has himself intimately inhabited for some 50 years.”
–Alan Moores, Booklist

“[Bogdanovich] treats his subjects with sympathy throughout. What comes through is Bogdanovich’s abiding love of cinema…”
Library Journal

“Those who like classic movies will fall in love with this book…[and] find themselves wishing for more.”
Publisher’s Weekly

“Just as he did with Who the Devil Made It?, Peter Bogdanovich is keeping history alive with Who the Hell’s In It? He was there at the crossroads, between the Old and New Hollywoods, as an actor, then as a repertory programmer, a critic, a director, and a confidante. And always as a fan, whose love for movies has only increased over the years. There are so many wonderful memories contained in these pages, so many lovingly rendered details, so many engrossing stories. And somehow, all of the actors and actresses here, from Brando to Clift, from John Wayne to John Cassavetes, seem at once human and larger than life. Who the Hell’s In It? is indispensable.”
–Martin Scorsese

“What a treat this book is. Funny, intimate, thoughtful, surprising. And one helluva read. The conversations and opinions contained here are as informative as they are refreshing . . . These are the true legends who earned the title legitimately. With this book, their alchemy is preserved for posterity.”
–Rex Reed

“A completely unique, moving book full of Bogdanovich’s well-known expertise and limitless affection for anyone and anything to do with good movies.”
–Wes Anderson

“A wonderful book, both personal and partisan, by a true enthusiast and an insider, who is not only one of the great chroniclers of the movies but one of its most gifted practitioners.”
–Paul Theroux

“Peter Bogdanovich has elicited the humanity and personality behind the Personality that became the essential building block of stardom. Why was Marion Morrison John Wayne? The book gives us many insights–but never on the level of gossip or psychiatry. And to hear actors such as these, legends and monuments most of them, discuss their craft, their workmanship, very simply their job–you never see that.”
–David Chase

“ If you love movies, I bet you’ll love this book.”
–Jeff Bridges



From the Hardcover edition.

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