5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 8 April 2006
The book fills a gap in cinema technique literature by knowledgeably detailing that producers impact creative as well as business aspects of films. The director worship/auteur theory crowd may disagree, but as "The Producers" points out films require many creative people to make (actors, writers, directors, producers, costume designers, etc), unlike a painting that is produced by one artist.
There are lots of interesting anecdotes. In a chapter about British producers Duncan Kenworthy and Andrew Macdonald, the book reveals that hit film "Notting Hill" went through seven pre-release research screenings in the U.S. where the producers observed that audiences laughed so long at some junctures that they missed the next funny line. So they had the film re-edited to fix this problem and improve the creative result. One of many fascinating tidbits is that 112 titles were considered for "Four Weddings and a Funeral" including: "The Pleasures of Merely Circulating" and "Lots of Weddings, Some Sex and a Cup of Tea."
The book goes deeper than mere production. For example, Michael Douglas ("One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest") spends on average 5 years developing properties before they actually are filmed.
Producers present many depreciating descriptions of their jobs such as being similar to hotel management dealing with a revolving bunch of oddballs, always dealing with unexpected negatives during production, production is just the visible tip of a big iceberg that is a film and producing is akin to standing around in mud all day. The author injects humor nicely musing, for example, drought stricken regions should hire a film production to shoot outdoors because whenever a film crew arrives it seems to start raining.
The text has an obvious British in texture (petrol stations, lorries referring to trucks, etc.) and the sensibility seems British-European in my view (I'm an American who has covered movies globally as a business journalist/analyst for 25 years). END