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A Talent For Trouble: The Life Of Hollywood's Most Acclaimed Director, William Wyler Paperback – 22 Aug 1997


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Product details

  • Paperback: 552 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; 1st Da Capo Press Ed edition (22 Aug 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 030680798X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306807985
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,418,486 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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About the Author

A resident of New York City, Jan Herman is an award-winning journalist and coauthor of Cut Up or Shut Up.

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IN THE ALSATIAN CITY OF MUL-house on July 1, 1902-a Tuesday-Willy was born at home and immediately upset his parents' expectations, a habit he would perfect later on. Read the first page
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 12 Feb 1999
Format: Paperback
Until I read this book, I had no idea that so many of my favourite classic films were directed by William Wyler.
The book tracks through Wyler's early childhood in pre-WWI Europe, his move to the United States and how he made his start making 3 movies a week for his uncle.
The book examines the process behind Wyler's great films - Roman Holiday, The Heiress and so on. Having read a biography of Audrey Hepburn and read about how she coped with the filming of Roman Holiday, it was really interesting to read the director's verion of what happened during filming. The quality of the final product was important to Wyler. He was a meticulous film maker who cared about his films. He was also a man of principle as shown by his efforts to make realistic fims during WWII, often puttin ghis wn life at risk as he shot footage of bombing raids over Europe.
The book also shows a little bit of Wyler's personal life. He was married for most of his life to the same wonderful woman and had a family that he clearly loved.
All in all, the book was a fascinating insight into pre-sound Hollywood and into a very interesting man and great director. It was extremely well written and an "easy read". It was tough to put down!
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By Wingate on 13 Mar 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was familiar with the films of William Wyler since he directed many of the most famous films of the Golden Age of Hollywood.Such films as Jezebel,The Little Foxes must count as amongst the top films o fthat era.The fact that he won 3 Academy Awards for directing is testament to his ability.
Yet he was a taskmaster.The nickname "90 take Willy" did have a resonance of truth.Actors would testify to the fact that he would continually shoot more takes withut any advice to the actors.This was often a device to wear down the actors so that they would become tired and loose the artifice.He would know when he had what he wanted.This was less succesful in the 1950s with the new Method shool trained actors.Rod Steiger claims that he was put off working with Wyler for this reason.
The author has had the opportunity to interview Wyler's wife and children which enables us to learn a lot more about him.The author seems to be able to keep the right perspetive notwithstanding the cooperation she received.
One strange note at the end.When his daughter was making a film about her father she asked Sam Goldwyn Junior for clips from his films.He refused.It is not explained why.Maybe there was lingering resentment because of the rows between Wyler and his father.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
The ultimate look at Hollywoods most honoured director 21 Feb 2001
By Keith Burnage - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A thoroughly engrossing book that delves not only in Wyler the director, but Wyler the man. This books offers a rare glimpse into the inner workings of this phenomenal director, from his early days as a young immigrant to becoming honored by the AFI.
Learn what went on before, during and after some of filmdom's greatest movies (Mrs. Miniver, Best Years Of Their Lives, and Ben-Hur) as well as Wylers' time in the service, shooting award winning documentaries. As well as how the HUAC hearings impacted on his professional life and those he came to rely on, and how he dealt with personal triumphs and tragedies.
Jan Herman has taken what could have been a dry retelling of movie making, and offers up a book that is both informative and entertaining.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
William Wyler -Hollywood's Most Honored Director 16 Mar 2012
By MovieGuy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
" A Talent for Trouble" is an excellent biography of Hollywood's most honored director. Wyler received 3 Best Director Oscars and was nominated a total of 12 times. No other director has been nominated for more Oscars. "Talent" does an excellent job of showing Wyler as a director and as a man. The section on his WWII experiences and on the making of "The Best Years of Our Lives" is compelling reading. The author does not shy away from Wyler's perfectionist attitude on a movie set. Wyler always felt he knew greatness "when he heard it."
If you want to see how an old school director worked, read this book.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
A wonderful insight into a fascinating film maker 12 Feb 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Until I read this book, I had no idea that so many of my favourite classic films were directed by William Wyler.
The book tracks through Wyler's early childhood in pre-WWI Europe, his move to the United States and how he made his start making 3 movies a week for his uncle.
The book examines the process behind Wyler's great films - Roman Holiday, The Heiress and so on. Having read a biography of Audrey Hepburn and read about how she coped with the filming of Roman Holiday, it was really interesting to read the director's verion of what happened during filming. The quality of the final product was important to Wyler. He was a meticulous film maker who cared about his films. He was also a man of principle as shown by his efforts to make realistic fims during WWII, often puttin ghis wn life at risk as he shot footage of bombing raids over Europe.
The book also shows a little bit of Wyler's personal life. He was married for most of his life to the same wonderful woman and had a family that he clearly loved.
All in all, the book was a fascinating insight into pre-sound Hollywood and into a very interesting man and great director. It was extremely well written and an "easy read". It was tough to put down!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Great Insight to the Man and His Films 7 Sep 2014
By E. Hunter Hale - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
William Wyler is without a doubt one of the all-time great directors in motion picture history. Jan Herman's book on his life and work also ranks as one of the very best works on a Hollywood artist that I have ever had the opportunity to read. At first I spot read chapters dealing with of the Wyler films that I especially admire, but before long I started at the beginning and found it hard to put the book down. I now have a deeper understanding of the man and of how his films came to be made the way they were. How exciting to have a written work like this and the ability to see on DVD and Blu-ray the works of this fascinating artist. Highly recommended.
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