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Conversations with Woody Allen: His Films, the Movies, and Moviemaking

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Conversations with Woody Allen: His Films, the Movies, and Moviemaking Cover

ISBN13: 9780375415333
ISBN10: 0375415335
Condition: Student Owned
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Synopses & Reviews

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Publisher Comments:

From the author of the best-selling biography Woody Allen — the most informative, revealing, and entertaining conversations from his thirty-six years of interviewing the great comedian and filmmaker.

For more than three decades, Woody Allen has been talking regularly and candidly with Eric Lax, and has given him singular and unfettered access to his film sets, his editing room, and his thoughts and observations. In discussions that begin in 1971 and continue into 2007, Allen discusses every facet of moviemaking through the prism of his own films and the work of directors he admires. In doing so, he reveals an artist's development over the course of his career to date, from joke writer to standup comedian to world-acclaimed filmmaker.

Woody talks about the seeds of his ideas and the writing of his screenplays; about casting and acting, shooting and directing, editing and scoring. He tells how he reworks screenplays even while filming them. He describes the problems he has had casting American men, and he explains why he admires the acting of (among many others) Alan Alda, Marlon Brando, Michael Caine, John Cusack, Judy Davis, Robert De Niro, Leonardo DiCaprio, Mia Farrow, Gene Hackman, Scarlett Johansson, Julie Kavner, Liam Neeson, Jack Nicholson, Charlize Theron, Tracey Ullman, Sam Waterston, and Dianne Wiest. He places Diane Keaton second only to Judy Holliday in the pantheon of great screen comediennes.

He discusses his favorite films (Citizen Kane is the lone American movie on his list of sixteen best films ever made; Duck Soup and Airplane are two of his preferred comedian's films; Trouble in Paradise and Born Yesterday among his favorite talking-plot comedies). He describes himself as a boy in Brooklyn enthralled by the joke-laden movies of Bob Hope and the sophisticated film stories of Manhattan. As a director, he tells us what he appreciates about Bergman, De Sica, Fellini, Welles, Kurosawa, John Huston, and Jean Renoir. Throughout he shows himself to be thoughtful, honest, self-deprecating, witty, and often hilarious.

Conversations with Woody Allen is essential reading for everyone interested in the art of moviemaking and for everyone who has enjoyed the films of Woody Allen.

Review:

"Woody Allen biographer Lax has been conversing with the elusive, beloved film director for 36 years, and here's the proof: transcripts of their detailed shop talk distilled into chapters covering seven elements of filmmaking-writing, casting, shooting, etc.-and Allen's career as a whole. Despite a reputation for being odd and unapproachable, the man revealed in these dialogues is likable, forthcoming and even humble: 'It's just not in me to make a great film; I don't have the depth of vision to do it.' Fans, of course, will want to argue otherwise, but they'll be too absorbed by this fascinating, decades-long discussion to register the grievance. From the tremendous stable of actors Allen has directed-especially former muses Diane Keaton and Mia Farrow-to the deceptively intriguing details of editing Another Woman, Lax's interviews are penetrating but far from formal, giving readers the unique opportunity to hear Allen's thoughts on projects-in-progress (everything from Bananas to Match Point) and to join him on location. Fans will find a trove of Woody-on-Woody insight (heavy on second-guessing, light on personal details), and there's much advice for the aspiring artist: 'The key is to work, enjoy the process, don't read about yourself... and keep your nose to the grindstone.' Even casual fans will appreciate this work; with a handy index for tracking down favorite films and something interesting on nearly every page, it's a perfectly browsable volume. B/w photos." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Woody Allen isn't prone to such exuberance in this book, which draws on interviews conducted by Eric Lax between 1973 and 2006. Nobody who knows his films would expect such outbursts, though. Allen is a famously on-time, on-budget director, and despite his constant protestations that he's lazy, he's usually juggling at least two projects whenever Lax arrives with his tape recorder. Their chats often... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"[F]or all the measurable ways in which Allen has gone from callow neophyte to seasoned pro, Woody-the-person seems never to have changed much." New York Times

Review:

"Conversations is essential reading for aspiring filmmakers and those who wish to eventually put finger to keyboard in hopes of telling a story, but it is no less intriguing for simple cinephiles." Los Angeles Times

Synopsis:

From the author of the bestselling biography Woody Allen comes this collection of the most revealing conversations from Lax's 36 years of interviewing the great comedian and filmmaker. Photographs throughout.

Synopsis:

US

About the Author

Eric Lax is the author of On Being Funny: Woody Allen and Comedy, Life and Death on 10 West, and The Mold in Dr. Florey's Coat, and coauthor (with A. M. Sperber) of Bogart. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, Vanity Fair, Esquire, and the Los Angeles Times. An officer of International PEN, he lives with his wife and their two sons in Los Angeles.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Brian Seifert, May 9, 2009 (view all comments by Brian Seifert)
Woody Allen does not add extras such as interviews and director's commentaries to the DVD releases of his movies. But this book is a great alternative. In interviews spanning more than thirty years, Allen explains his concepts, how he's developed as a filmmaker, his humor, and much more. It is a book with great insight into many movies....including the classics like "Annie Hall" and "Manhattan". Allen fans will soak this up. Others who like movies will also find information and entertainment here.
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
Gary Wood, January 18, 2008 (view all comments by Gary Wood)
The book is surprisingly good. Eric Lax has conducted interviews with Mr. Allen since 1971, and thereby spanning almost an entire career in the life of one filmmaker. The book covers Woody Allen as he makes the daring leap from the stage to the silver screen as a writer desperately longing to be a director and literally learning on-the-job with TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN (1969) and BANANAS (1971), both films Allen admits are nothing more than a series of jokes strung together.

But, what makes “Conversations with Woody Allen” so compelling, especially to Woody Allen Worshipers (like myself) and writers in general, is the work ethic and the work process by which Allen is able to propel his career from a joke-a-minute movie-maker to one of the most revered filmmakers in the world. The book is full of fascinating insights into each and every film Allen has made, and as a filmmaker who has continually refused to enhance the DVD releases of his films with “Special Features” like commentary or behind the scenes; this book is the written equivalent of “Special Features”.
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(6 of 7 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780375415333
Author:
Lax, Eric
Publisher:
Alfred A. Knopf
Subject:
Entertainment & Performing Arts - General
Subject:
Entertainment & Performing Arts - Movie Directors
Subject:
Film & Video - Direction & Production
Subject:
Film & Video - History & Criticism
Subject:
Motion picture producers and directors
Subject:
United states
Subject:
Allen, Woody
Subject:
Entertainment & Performing Arts
Subject:
Biography-Entertainment and Performing Arts
Publication Date:
20071031
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
108 PHOTOGRAPHS IN TEXT
Pages:
416
Dimensions:
9.28x7.82x1.40 in. 1.91 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Film and Television » Directors
Arts and Entertainment » Film and Television » History and Criticism
Arts and Entertainment » Film and Television » Production » Biographies
Arts and Entertainment » Film and Television » Production » General
Biography » Entertainment and Performing Arts

Conversations with Woody Allen: His Films, the Movies, and Moviemaking Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$15.00 In Stock
Product details 416 pages Alfred A. Knopf - English 9780375415333 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Woody Allen biographer Lax has been conversing with the elusive, beloved film director for 36 years, and here's the proof: transcripts of their detailed shop talk distilled into chapters covering seven elements of filmmaking-writing, casting, shooting, etc.-and Allen's career as a whole. Despite a reputation for being odd and unapproachable, the man revealed in these dialogues is likable, forthcoming and even humble: 'It's just not in me to make a great film; I don't have the depth of vision to do it.' Fans, of course, will want to argue otherwise, but they'll be too absorbed by this fascinating, decades-long discussion to register the grievance. From the tremendous stable of actors Allen has directed-especially former muses Diane Keaton and Mia Farrow-to the deceptively intriguing details of editing Another Woman, Lax's interviews are penetrating but far from formal, giving readers the unique opportunity to hear Allen's thoughts on projects-in-progress (everything from Bananas to Match Point) and to join him on location. Fans will find a trove of Woody-on-Woody insight (heavy on second-guessing, light on personal details), and there's much advice for the aspiring artist: 'The key is to work, enjoy the process, don't read about yourself... and keep your nose to the grindstone.' Even casual fans will appreciate this work; with a handy index for tracking down favorite films and something interesting on nearly every page, it's a perfectly browsable volume. B/w photos." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "[F]or all the measurable ways in which Allen has gone from callow neophyte to seasoned pro, Woody-the-person seems never to have changed much."
"Review" by , "Conversations is essential reading for aspiring filmmakers and those who wish to eventually put finger to keyboard in hopes of telling a story, but it is no less intriguing for simple cinephiles."
"Synopsis" by , From the author of the bestselling biography Woody Allen comes this collection of the most revealing conversations from Lax's 36 years of interviewing the great comedian and filmmaker. Photographs throughout.
"Synopsis" by , US
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