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On Sunset Boulevard: The Life and Times of Billy Wilder Paperback – 18 Aug 2000


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Product details

  • Paperback: 675 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion; 1st Pbk Ed edition (18 Aug. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786885033
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786885039
  • Product Dimensions: 14.6 x 4.4 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 754,593 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Synopsis

Examines the life and work of the noted Hollywood director.

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First Sentence
On June 22, 1906, in the Galician village of Sucha Beskidzka, south of Krakow, Eugenia Wilder went into labor with her second child. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 7 April 2002
Format: Paperback
...a true Hollywood heavyweight, a man who excelled as a writer, director, and producer, who left his mark in just about every film genre, except the Western - the one and only Billy Wilder.
Wilder's death at the age of 95 will no doubt bring renewed interest in his long and varied career. It is an irony that would have brought a wry smile to Wilder, and undoubtedly one of his biting remarks. Nevertheless, if you are looking for a comprehensive study of the life and art of Billy Wilder, you should look no further than Ed Sikov's brilliant "On Sunset Boulevard."
Sure, if you're looking for an extended interview with Billy Wilder himself, there's that other book ... but like the more famous, or rather infamous Hitchcock/Truffaut sessions that inspired it ... it can only be one sided.
Ed Sikov doesn't merely tell you to take Billy Wilder at his word. He conducted original interviews with scores of Wilder's colleagues and friends, dug through production archives, scripts, notes, and film footage to assemble not only a fascinating study of a filmmaking genius, but the conclusive portrait of the man behind that genius.
Sikov's analyses of Wilder's films are fresh and exciting, and his prose leaps off the page. You know instantly that Sikov knows his stuff, and that it's a subject close to his heart.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 30 Jan. 1999
Format: Hardcover
I discovered this biography after seeing a rave review in the New York Times Book Review, and I must say it was entirely justified. I've always loved Wilder's movies, but this book gave me new insights into how the films were made and the man who made them. I liked the snappy style, and the biographical stuff reads like a psychological thriller. But the best part is how the behind-the-scenes details enhance my experience of movies that I thought I knew well.
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Format: Hardcover
Billy Wilder is one of my favorite filmmakers, creator of three masterpieces: "Sunset Boulevard," "Double Indemnity" and "Some Like It Hot." Sikov does a remarkable job of giving us the life and mind of the man. Show people rival Southerners in their refusal to let the trivia of facts get in the way of a good story, and Wilder was a storyteller among storytellers. Most film bios are hopelessly gullible, but Sikov uses the interviews that Wilder gave throughout his career--the man would say virtually anything--to give us his full flavor, always careful to show where the facts and stories diverge, but without spoiling our pleasure in those stories. The result is the best film biography I've yet read, well-versed in the business, politics and psychology of filmmaking. And because the subject is Wilder, it is also one of the funniest books I've come across in a long, long time.
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Format: Hardcover
A large book tracking Wilder from Vienna to Hollywood through most of the century. When I finished I wished there were more of it it read so well - though there probably wasn't much more to write about. A good thing about unauthorized biographies is that one has to dig and dig to come up with the material rather than kind of ghost someone's memoirs. And like all good biographies this encompasses a lot more than Wilder - Hollywood at its grandiest and gaudiest. I never cared much for his movies and, after reading the book, of him but he's a fasinating subject and Sikov does a terrific job. I gave it 4 stars because 5 star biographies always seem to blend into fiction.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 31 Aug. 1999
Format: Hardcover
Let`s be very careful here: this is less a biography than a very well researched filmography. The title gives promise of "Life and times of..." but is thin on life and thin on time. But, frankly, if the title is inapropriate, this long filmography and analysis is worth it. Maybe I`ll try Zolotow for a real biography...
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