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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Insight Into the man who Revolutionised Cinema
On buying this book I dubious that it would be one of those biographies that continually praise and patronises the celebrity, but not so. This follows George Lucas from his youth to his Last project , The first star wars film. Warts and all, tells of his strict upbringing by a father who wanted him to inherit the family business rather than pursue his love of films,...
Published on 11 Oct 2000 by MIKE HARBY

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice film review
John Baxter's primary role of film reviewer is all too evident in this biography which concentrates on the development and critique of Lucas's major films, primarily the Star Wars films, to the detriment of what i consider to be the object of a biography : the person him/herself. Lucas' early life is covered in the first few chapters and we dont even get to know what...
Published on 18 Oct 1999 by Nordie


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Insight Into the man who Revolutionised Cinema, 11 Oct 2000
This review is from: George Lucas: A Biography (Paperback)
On buying this book I dubious that it would be one of those biographies that continually praise and patronises the celebrity, but not so. This follows George Lucas from his youth to his Last project , The first star wars film. Warts and all, tells of his strict upbringing by a father who wanted him to inherit the family business rather than pursue his love of films, his rivalry with Francis Ford Coppolla, collaborations with Stephen Spielberg, and his sometimes stormy relationship with his wife Marcia, who it is said would have made a brilliant film director if she had made the step from brilliant film editor to film director. This book will inevitably be read by people who just want to read about the Star wars films. But to do so would be a huge mistake, missing out on so much. This is one fine film biography that stands out from the usual bunch. So much so , i read it in one sitting. A hugely addicitve read, leaving you with more admiration for the man that gave us Star Wars, arguably the film that changed the face of cinema history, but also came from a man that has directed fewer films than most directors have in making their mark on the history of cinema.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thorough review of a difficult man, 10 July 2013
This review is from: George Lucas: A Biography (Paperback)
I read this book because I knew nothing about Lucas and often got him mixed up with Spielberg - and because I love reading about the cinema anyway. I came away with a very firm picture of a difficult man, who I will never mix up with anyone else again.
One thing stood out above all. His difficulties with school work, especially reading; his inability to relate to others - he was a film director who couldn't communicate with actors, and used to leave notes about what he wanted to say rather than risk speaking to someone (rather like a lion tamer who was afraid to go into the cage and confront the big cats); his obsession with machines (especially cars) that made him produce films about things rather than people, with effects being placed above characterisation; the fact that his marriage broke down because he couldn't see that his wife wanted more than an occasional postcard or a brief chat when they met to discuss the film they were co-producing together (and the fact that he was dumbfounded when she left him, despite having ample warning that she was terribly unhappy and tried repeatedly to say so), and his total obstinacy when dealing with anyone creative (insisting that everyone agreed with him and not tolerating argument or discussion for any reason) all point to an indication that he might well have some form of autism, albeit of as very high-functioning kind. This may be totally wrong, of course, as all sorts of tycoon types exhibit similar behaviour, but seen in the context of his life story it make a lot of sense.
The book is structured conventionally, with a description of his childhood and early life progressing onto his first attempts at film-making at the University of South California's film school (back then little more than a collection of huts and tutors who advised all students that, if they wanted a career in movies, then don't do Film Studies at USC!). His first essay in film-making - the famous THX 1138 4EB - was distinctive enough to later get made into a full cinema feature but, like Star Wars, was often critiscised for favouring machines over men and technical wizardy over plot development - a notable characteristic of many of his films.
The book is admirably even-handed, pointing out his many faults as well as his undoubted talents and determination to get things done; from my point of view, the best part was the chapters dealing with the Star Wars trilogy (as was), though much of it details his rivalry with Spielberg and Coppola (so much so sometimes that I occasionally wondered if the author had forgotten who he was writing about). It's a book that appears to have upset some reviewers, but I thought it was first-class, and I stick to that view. Recommended to all but those who want hagiography, not objective judgement.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars George Lucas: A Biography, 28 Dec 2009
By 
Mr. P. Datta "Pritthijit" (Stockton on Tees, Teesside) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: George Lucas: A Biography (Paperback)
George Lucas transformed world cinema with cult classics: Stars Wars and Indiana Jones. He earns a staggering fortune with the Lucas production company. The Industrial Ligths and Magic revolutionised special effects to a new level in the 80's, but no longer a dominating force as it faces stiff competition with new techniques pioneered. He has dedicated the whole life to the ranch. The ranch has undergone enomorous changes. He is proud to owner of the ranch.

What inspired Lucas into film-making? The book journeys to Lucas's childhood in a typical suburban area in North California. The introverted and reserved Lucas developed a fascination with models and cars. The obsession with cars during his teenage years led to the central theme as the debut movie "American Graffiti". How did the cult classic Stars Wars become a phenomenal success? Its legacy continues to live on. The book takes a deep look into the preliminary stages of the epic adventure. It is fascinating area to learn about, as you learn about movie magic. In addition, the book reviews other film projects of Lucas. The Stars Wars aspect fascinated me the most, as I share the experience like many others of watching the movie as a kid.

The book does not just focus on Lucas highly successful career as a film-maker. It paints a picture of Lucas as an individual. The biography is well-researched, with insightful and expert commentary on the movie business dating back to the 70's. The decade witnessed an individual. He contributed to transforming the world of cinema making, but remains uncomfortable in the media limelight. Lucas rarely provides interviews.

The biography is beautifully written and I would recommend to anyone who is an avid fan of Lucas. I have onecriticism reserved about the biography. It is written almost 10 years and film making has undergone significant changes with the introduction of CGI. The biography covers the key aspects. I find these aspects intriguing. It takes no guessing what it is. The Lucas brand is associated with Stars Wars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More than just Star Wars .. read it and find out, 26 Mar 2002
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Rashyd Ullah (West Midlands, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: George Lucas: A Biography (Paperback)
Zoom, zoom, pow... The story of the man that bought you Star Wars trilogy. This is a really good book and should be read by any one interested in George Lucas. I found the book provided a good insight about him, his relationship with Marcia his wife and the strain and stresses of an up and coming director. The book is well balanced providing the right level of information on George, his family his films and about Hollywood. There are some interesting tie-ins with other Hollywood directors such as Francis Coppola and Steven Spielberg. I though the book was going to be heavily weighted towards Star Wars, but was pleasantly surprised that it covered his whole career in a levelled way. I'd recommend this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice film review, 18 Oct 1999
John Baxter's primary role of film reviewer is all too evident in this biography which concentrates on the development and critique of Lucas's major films, primarily the Star Wars films, to the detriment of what i consider to be the object of a biography : the person him/herself. Lucas' early life is covered in the first few chapters and we dont even get to know what Lucas' birth date is. For an extended film review this book is fine but i fear it is lacking as an biography. To get to know more about the new Hollywood of the 70's read one on Spielberg.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Rich Man, Poor George, 8 Dec 2013
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This review is from: George Lucas: A Biography (Paperback)
In keeping with my 12 year old son's obsession with Star Wars, my wife bought this 404 page biography for him. 300 pages too long, I thought, so I read it. John Baxter specialises in these types of biographies, and up until the Raiders of the Lost Ark, it is detailed, informative and insightful. Then it falls to bits. It seems to lose interest in Lucas just as he lost interest in films.

The best part shows you that Star Wars is HIS story - Luke/Lucas, Modesto/Tatooine, etc. You learn that Lucas probably has autism, Aspergers syndrome or some related difficulty, with his lack of tact, obsession with cars and machines, and difficulty in managing people and relationships, but Baxter is blind to his disability. It is pretty obvious to a parent of an Aspergers boy, let me tell you. The overwhelming desire to control everything out of fear is the core give-away for an autistic spectrum condition. But Hollywood would not recognised the condition if it bit them - look at the Social Network and see an even worse example of this ignorance.

So... Lucas was lucky beyond belief. He nearly flunked high school, always had mentors who he discarded, could not relate to women (another shock!) yet managed to touch the zeitgeist with his fables of outer space. Yes he changed cinema, yes, he created modern merchandising, yes, his movies were long on style but short on substance, BUT.... I mean, give the guy a break. The six films in the Star Wars saga were the best of their kind, limited but magnificent, and Lucas WAS responsible.

He stands alone, with his billions, reviled and exalted. It would be nice if his next biographer could focus on who he really is, and what he really did, and not just report gossip - however juicy. And yeah, not run out of steam so obviously.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Not so much written as compiled, 27 Aug 2012
By 
Mark West (Kettering, Northants United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: George Lucas: A Biography (Paperback)
George Lucas wrote and directed "THX-1138" and "American Graffiti" before changing the cinema - and pop culture - landscape with the "Star Wars" saga. There are plenty of books about how all the pieces fell into place and this is a jump-on-the-bandwagon version, written by a man who clearly doesn't like Lucas and appears never to have either met or spoken with him. I like biographies and always wondered what the term "cut-and-paste" meant in relation to the cheaper end of the market, but now - having read this 1999 effort - I understand completely. Whilst Baxter is credited as the writer, apart from a few linking pieces (where his tendency to over-write lets him down), it appears that all he did was compile a lot of other writers' hard work. A quick look at the Notes section reveals that he only conducted interviews with half a dozen people (the key ones being John Milius, Gary Kurtz and Lawrence Kasdan and none of them, at the time of publishing, had worked with Lucas for over 15 years) and had no contact with Lucas, Lucasfilm, any of his staff or even Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford, who he quotes frequently. Worse, big sections are taken almost verbatim from Dale Pollock's "Skywalking" which is not only a much better book but was written with the full co-operation of Lucas (though he later disowned it), his friends and colleagues and the Lucasfilm archives. As for the picture section - well, the fact that one page is taken up with a still of Bill Norton, who directed "More American Graffiti" and there are none of Lucas as a child tells you all you need to know. I read this on holiday, which is why I stuck with it plus - I'll be honest - I love the story of how "Star Wars" came together, but I can't see myself ever wanting to read another book compiled by Baxter. If you do want to read a well researched and well written biography of George Lucas, then track down "Skywalking", whilst Peter Biskind's "Easy Riders, Raging Bulls" is also worth a look (and quoted extensively here too). Absolutely not recommended (and it gets the 2nd star for subject matter alone).
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2.0 out of 5 stars Less of Biography more about his films, 17 July 2008
This book provides an interesting insight into the making of American Graffiti, the Star Wars Trilogy, the early Indiana Jones and other films from the Lucas stable, such as Howard the Duck. However, it is more of a series of insights into these films, rather than any deep insight into the man George Lucas. There are interesting stories in here about the production process (sometimes too detailed) and about some of the actors. However, the book leaves one wondering why Lucas made films, given that the reported experience sounded so excruciatingly painful on occasions. One must look elsewhere to really get a sense of the man.
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George Lucas: A Biography
George Lucas: A Biography by John Baxter (Paperback - 18 Sep 2000)
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