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Nobody's Perfect : Billy Wilder - A Personal Biography Hardcover – 4 Nov 2002
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About the Author
Charlotte Chandler is the author of three previous books, HELLO, I MUST BE GOING, GROUCHO AND HIS FRIENDS, THE ULTIMATE SEDUCTION, and I, FELINI.
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I do not usually enjoy biographys - I find they can get weighed down in petty details without exploring the character of the person who is being written about. This book, however, has completely changed my mind about biographys. It is written with real passion and flaire, giving us a great insight into how Billy worked.
I found this book impossible to put down. It is written in a very fast-paced way and it is mainly written in Billy Wilder, and his friends and collegues, own words. The first few chapters are about his background, where he grew up etc. Once Billy Wilder is in the movie industry, every movie he worked on has a chapter dedicated to it. There is also a synopsis of the plots of all his movies, which I find very useful.
This book generally focuses Billy Wilder's work, as opposed to his private life. However, Billy Wilder loved making movies so much that his work WAS his life in many respects. It has interviews with many of the actors, writers and producers Billy worked with over the course of his career, including Jack Lemmon, I A L Diamond, Christopher Lee and Shirley McClaine. These interviews are incredibly interesting, but even more so are the interviews with Billy himself.
I would really recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in the movie industry. It is a highly informed, well written piece of work which once you start reading you really can't put the book down!
Chandler's book is structured in chronological order of the films Wilder directed which I find very helpful to provide a complete filmography, with (as might be expected) much more extensive detail being provided for his more renowned works such as Sunset Boulevard and Some Like It Hot. There are many interesting quotes/interviews with many of the major actor/actresses Wilder worked with such as Jack Lemmon, Ray Milland, Marlene Dietrich, Tony Curtis, Fred MacMurray, Gloria Swanson and Barbara Stanwyck, but, perhaps not surprisingly, not from Marilyn Monroe. Although, pleasingly, the book's focus is very much on Wilder's filmwork, it also covers some of the most important elements of his upbringing/early career in Austria/Germany and the impact of the Nazis on his work and that of his close associates.
Definitely worth a read.
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