18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Invaluble insight into the business of film,
This review is from: My Indecision is Final: The Rise and Fall of Goldcrest Films (Paperback)
This is the story of Goldcrest Films a UK studio who made many classic films including "Ghandi", "Chariots of Fire" and "The Killing Fields". Between 1981 and 1987 Goldcrest won 19 Oscars and over 50 BAFTAs and turned over millions. Despite numerous
huge hits investors in the studio lost most of their money.
As someone who has only recently entered the British film industry I found this book an absolutely fascinating if somewhat depressing account of both the history of British Film and the business of filmmaking. It is peopled by some of the real characters of British film such as Richard Attenborough, David Puttnam, John Boorman and many others, not all of whom emerge unscathed.
The book gives a supremely detailed account of the fortunes of Goldcrest films from Jake Ebert's entrance into the industry to the company's ignominious demise and the highs and lows along the way.
Be warned this is not a gossipy romp like "Easy Riders, Raging Bulls" it was one of the Financial Time's business books of the year and it shows, the book gives great detail of management structures and balance sheets. As someone running a film production company I really appreciated this peek beneath the hood but those more interested in the history may want
to skip a few sections.
Goldcrest's early success was mainly down to backing talented hardheaded filmmakers with strong personal vision. However this same success planted the seeds of the rampant conflicting egos, over-ambition and spiralling costs which lead to its failure. Reading book after book it becomes apparent that these are diseases particularly endemic to homo actus-pictorus.
As MIIF's is written from the studio POV it focuses on development/pre-production and then sales/distribution, this makes the book a welcome counterweight to the mass of volumes dealing with the actual shooting films.
MIIF was published in 1990 and since then technology has had a huge impact on the shape of the industry yet many of the challenges which Goldcrest faced still exist. Chief among them high costs of doing business in the UK, rampant egos and the disdain with which filmmakers treat investors.