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George Lucas: A Biography Paperback – 18 Sep 2000

3.5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Entertainment; New Ed edition (18 Sept. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006530818
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006530817
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 3.1 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 687,138 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Amazon Review

Among the wave of film directors who brought fresh blood and maverick sensibilities to southern California in the early 1960s--including Francis Ford Coppola, John Milius, Brian DePalma and Martin Scorsese--none could have seemed less likely than George Lucas, the short, painfully shy car nerd from Modesto, California. And yet, in a mere four appearances behind the camera over 20 years, he managed to change Hollywood and fundamentally alter the culture. In this lively and informative biography, John Baxter weaves interviews with Modesto townies and Lucas cronies into a portrait of the man as an artistically gifted loner with a grocer's feeling for budgets--an important director who was also unmanned by directing and a self-effacing man whose notes for Star Wars reveal an ambition to make an American epic on the scale of Kurosawa's samurai stories. Baxter skilfully shades in Lucas's emotionally straitened adolescence, his lack-of-anything-better-to-do enrolment in USC's film school, and his relationship with Coppola, whose operatic manoeuvrings made the small, European-ish American Graffiti possible, even as his flamboyance estranged the two. Baxter also takes Lucas to task--Lucas lied about losing his virginity in the back seat of a car, he argues--but by the end the author has been won over, appreciating Lucas's films less than he admires the basic goodness and integrity of the man who put up money for Kurosawa's Ran and Coppola's Tucker, for no other reason than because he felt that small-town boy's sense of debt to his mentors. --Lyall Bush

From the Back Cover

Despite his frank dislike of directing, George Lucas has made himself one of the most important figures in the history of film-making. His production company, Lucasfilm, is phenomenally successful, and his Industrial Light and Magic is the finest special effects studio in the world.

Yet, for all his achievements, Lucas remains an elusive, almost anonymous figure, shunning the limelight and spending much of his time on his isolated Skywalker Ranch complex in northern California. Now John Baxter, acclaimed biographer of Steven Spielberg, Stanley Kubrick and Woody Allen, sheds new light on the originator of the 'New Hollywood.', tracing his small-town origins in Modesto, California (brilliantly recreated in his first major film as director, American Graffiti) and his subsequent phenomenal success with 'Star Wars', its successors and the tree 'Indana Jones' films. Together, these comprise the most popular group of films ever made.

John Baxter has compiled the most complete portrait to date of a man who has done as much to shape popular culture as anyone alive.

'This book is undoubtedly the best that could be written on the inventor of Luke Skywalker, the Force and trans-global product merchandising.'
NIGEL ANDREWS 'Finacial Times'

'Baxter reveals in his mastery of the anecdotal stuff that shows he has researched his subject as fastidiously as ever.'

'Detailed and informative.'

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: 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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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.
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Format: 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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Format: Hardcover
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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