Adventures in the Screen Trade: A Personal View of Hollywood by William Goldman

By William Goldman

As befits greater than 20 years in Hollywood, Oscar-winning screenwriter William Goldman's gleaming memoir is as exciting as a number of the motion pictures he has helped to create. From the author of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance child, the entire President's males and Marathon guy, Adventures within the display alternate is an intimate view of movie-making, of performing greats similar to Redford, Olivier, Newman and Hoffman, and of the rigors and rewards of operating contained in the most enjoyable company on this planet.

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His was a talent that ranked right up with Brando's. I once met Burt Lancaster, and he told me a story of his first days with Clift on From Here to Eternity. One thing you should know about Lancaster: The man exudes physical power. Even today, if he went in the ring against Andre the Giant, I'd bet Lancaster. He told me, "The only time I was ever really afraid as an actor was that first scene with Clift, It was my scene, understand: I was the sergeant, I gave the orders, he was just a private under me.

On and on he goes and on and on she cries. But eventually the sobs lessen; she is regaining at least the start of control. He holds her, gently reassuring her. Finally, she is able to talk. He asks her if she feels up to going into the problem. She nods. Good, he says, what happened? And then, haltingly, she gives the secret to her torment: Her toy poodle died the night before. The director, an animal lover, tells her he understands. No, you don't, she says; you don't understand at all. He died eating.

One must also never forget the top technicians. Some stars, as we'll sec, have partner-producers; well, they go on the payroll. Or a pet cinematographer without whom they don't show. Or a friend who is a musician and will get paid a ton for any minimal assistance he may contribute to the composer. Perhaps the largest percentage of the "one-third" that makes up "the shit" is star behavior. As Mr. Fitzgerald said to Mr. Hemingway about the rich, stars are different from you and me. Yes, they get up in the morning, just like we do.

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