I maintain that Mamet is very worthwhile reading in film theory, and that On Directing is the best place to start. Here we have that same book bound with 'The Cabin', 'Writing in Restaurants' and 'Some Freaks'. All three are books of essays, not only on filmmaking and the theatre but on life in general. Mamet is always honest, passionate, crystal-clear and thoroughly entertaining. Don't miss it.
Writes from the heart, intelligent, witty and a huge ironic sense of humour. The section on his life in writing is especially en-lightening, and it helps that Mamet has huge experiance when it comes to just about every form of writing. Read along with his plays, the proof of the pudding is in the eating!
This is a superb collection of Notes and Essays by David Mamet, originally released in several seperate volumes from 1986 to 1991. Here, they are brought together in one handy volume. The first of which is 'The Cabin' (originally published in 1992)- we get many short writings on a variety of subjects: an auction, childhood memories and places (which give a fresh perspective on works like 'The Cryptogram' & 'Prairie du Chien'), cigar smoking, life in London & Vermont and the experience that is the Cannes film festival. The subsequent volumes are written in a similar manner, some of them may seem trifling or slightly snobbish- but at least they're succinct and to the point. Mamet takes his own Hemingwayesque advice from 'Make Believe Town'. 'Writing in Restuarants' (1986) is a three-part collection: (1)Writing in Restuarants (2)Exuvial Magic and (3) Life in the Theater (sic)- the latter sharing a title with one of Mamet's more obscure plays. There is much more here on acting, directing, drama and writing in general. Including Mamet's development on Stanislavsky technqiues and notions...The next volume is 'Some Freaks' (1989), which as 'Writing in Restuarants' is varied in subject and theme. 'The Decoration of Jewish Houses' stands out, next to the themes prevalent in works such as 'Homicide', 'The Shawl' and 'The Disappearance of the Jews': a vast theme in Mamet's canon as one of the leading Jewish-American writers of the last thirty (or so) years. 'In The Company of Men' seems to have influenced Neil la Blute's film of the same name (and partly his other works). There are some handy insights into the art of acting in 'Some Lessons for Television', which is based on a lecture that Mamet gave for Bill Macy's acting class in 1988 (that's William H. Macy, Mamet-regular- who has subsequently appeared in films like 'Magnolia', 'Boogie Nights', 'Fargo' and, er, 'Mystery Men'(We'll forget about 'Jurassic Park 3' and remember his excellent regular spot in early 'ER')). 'A Thank You Note' is about his love of reading- in which he has an experience with an errant male-librarian that could have been an episode in Bellow's 'The Adventures of Augie March'!...The final, brief volume is 'On Directing Film'- which is very Mamet i.e. very smart-arse. He is as devoted to Eisenstein's theorum as Stanislavsky's. This doesn't make the majority of his film-work better than average- 'Homicide' and 'House of Games' being the great works. As with the recent 'State & Main' and 'Heist' proved- Mamet is not a film-maker close to Robert 'The Player' Altman or Michael 'Heat' Mann. And 'The Spanish Prisoner' was just a so-so piece of froth that is nowhere near its source influences 'Charade' and 'North By North-West'. So, these essays can be ignored- read Walter Murch's 'In The Blink of an Eye' or 'Kieslowski on Kieslowski' if you want to know anything about film (or just watch films like 'Rashomon', 'Peeping Tom', '8 1/2', 'Performance' and 'Jules et Jim'- which never harmed movie brats like Scorsese and Coppola and Shrader et al). At worst, this is a coffee-table/commuting/toilet- book; one that you can dip into at random. Though some of the works can resonate far after their initial reading- in time they can be seen to sit next to similar works by Saul Bellow, Dorothy Parker and Mark Twain.