Twenty-six of the thirty-one chapters are either interviews with Frankenheimer or essays penned by the director. The remaining five chapters are written by Frankenheimer's family, colleagues, and the editor. Armstrong has done a masterful job in selecting the articles, which were originally published between 1964 and 2010. The chronology of the articles allows the reader to learn how the acclaimed director viewed his films at different points in his life.
Frankenheimer fondly discusses his early career in live television in several articles ("I look back on that as the highlight of my life"). He directed over 125 television dramas, earning Emmy nominations for five consecutive years, starting in 1956. In this "Golden Age of Television," he worked with established stars (Robert Mitchum, Claudette Colbert, James Mason, etc.) and actors destined to become stars (e.g., Paul Newman, Ben Gazzara, and Lee Marvin).
Frankenheimer was just 26 when he made his first theatrical film, The Young Stranger (1957), which he describes as "a lousy movie" and a terrible experience with the crew and studio. He credits David O. Selznick with reviving his interest in a theatrical film career. He and Selznick collaborated on the script for F. Scott Fitzgerald's Tender Is the Night (which Selznick abandoned). After making The Young Savages in 1961, the first of five films with Burt Lancaster, Frankenheimer directed Birdman of Alcatraz and The Manchurian Candidate (both 1962)--and sealed his place among the great directors of the 1960s.
|Lansbury as one of cinema's worst mothers.|
|Burt Lancaster in Birdman of|
Editor Stephen B. Armstrong, a professor at Dixie State University in St. George, Utah, includes a comprehensive filmography, a bibliography, and an index. His book is a must for any library with a film reference collection and for anyone interested in what goes on behind the scenes in the making of a motion picture.
Scarecrow Press, an imprint of Rowman & Littlefield, provided the Cafe with a review copy of this book.