Conversations With Wilder

Front Cover
Knopf, 1999 - Biography & Autobiography - 373 pages
3 Reviews
InConversations with Wilder, Hollywood's legendary and famously elusive director Billy Wilder agrees for the first time to talk extensively about his life and work. Here, in an extraordinary book with more than 650 black-and-white photographs -- including film posters, stills, grabs, and never-before-seen pictures from Wilder's own collection -- the ninety-three-year-old icon talks to Cameron Crowe, one of today's best-known writer-directors, about thirty years at the very heart of Hollywood, and about screenwriting and camera work, set design and stars, his peers and their movies, the studio system and films today. In his distinct voice we hear Wilder's inside view on his collaborations with such stars as Barbara Stanwyck, Gary Cooper, Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, William Holden, Audrey Hepburn, and Greta Garbo (he was a writer at MGM during the making ofNinotchka. Here are Wilder's sharp and funny behind-the-scenes stories about the making ofA Foreign Affair, Double Indemnity, Sunset Boulevard, Love in the Afternoon, Some Like It Hot, The Apartment, andAce in the Hole, among many others. Wilder is ever mysterious, but Crowe gets him to speak candidly on Stanwyck: "She knew the script, everybody's lines, never a fault, never a mistake"; on Cary Grant: "I had Cary Grant in mind for four of my pictures . . . slipped through my net every time"; on the "Lubitsch Touch": "It was the elegant use of the super-joke." Wilder also remembers his early years in Vienna, working as a journalist in Berlin, rooming with Peter Lorre at the Chateau Marmont -- always with the same dry wit, tough-minded romanticism, and elegance that are the hallmarks of Wilder's films. This book is a classic of Hollywood history and lore.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - nog - LibraryThing

Crowe obviously idolizes Wilder, so if you're looking for some fireworks here, you won't find them. But you will find some insight into Wilder's approach to filmmaking. As I am a film buff, Wilder is on the short list of my favorite directors, so this was a joy to read. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - bostonian71 - LibraryThing

This book was very entertaining, thanks mostly to Wilder’s wit and willingness to talk very directly about certain subjects. I was a little disappointed, though, that Wilder proved elusive when asked ... Read full review

Contents

Jack Lemmon and George Cukor Final scene of Some Like It Hot Cary
3
Fleeing Berlin for Paris after the Reichstag fire Mom was a good cook
6
Z William Holden for Sunset Boulevard Double Indemnity You dig?
45

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About the author (1999)

Cameron Crowe was an associate editor and frequent contributor to Rolling Stone. In 1979, he wrote the book Fast Times at Ridgemont High and later adapted it as a screenplay. He wrote and directed Say Anything, Singles, and the Academy Award-winning Jerry Maguire. He lives in Los Angeles and Seattle.