An Open Book

Knopf, 1980 - 389 pagina's
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"He is 74 now, the veteran of 36 films (as a director), 5 marriages and innumerable friendships, practical jokes, horses, love affairs and intellectual obsessions. One of the most admired, colorful and adventurous of all American movie-makers, John Huston has been the subject of many books and many stories, some of them true. Now he tells his own story, in his own way. It is direct, unadorned and complete--and perfectly wonderful reading. Here is Huston on stage for the first time, aged 3, dressed in an Uncle Sam suit and popping out of a band box to recite 48 verses of 'Yankee Doodle Dandy' with appropriate gestures ... in the ring at 18, boxing for small purses, taking 23 out of 25 bouts (and a broken nose) before deciding against making a career of it ... trying to paint ... triumphantly selling his first short story to H.L. Mencken for publication in The American Mercury. We see him down and out in London, saved by a lucky screenwriting job--and an Irish Sweepstakes win ... acting in Greenwich Village ... going to Hollywood to work for Jack Warner as a writer (the script was Juarez), then directing his first picture, the classic The Maltese Falcon. Here is Huston's war, demanding and dangerous: combat filming in the Aleutians and in Italy (San Pietro, so powerful and horrifying that the Army first banned it, releasing it only on orders from General George Marshall), a picture made in an Army psychiatric ward that has never to this day been shown, and is now presumably lost. Here too are the 30 years of movies that brought him lasting fame, from Key Largo to The Treasure of the Sierra Madre to Beat the Devil to The Man Who Would Be King and Wise Blood. We see them as years of achievement and intense engagement, as much with life as with art, as much with friends (and enemies) as with professional duties, a dazzling tumble of anecdotes, self-perceptions, precise (and often touching) portraits of the people he knew and worked with: Hemingway, L.B. Mayer, Selznick, Sartre (Huston paid him $25,000 to write a script for Freud, then couldn't use it--it was more than 300 pages long), Hepburn, Monroe, Errol Flynn (their epic fight, at a Hollywood party, lasted a solid hour and cost Flynn two broken ribs), Carson McCullers, B. Traven, Welles, Gable, Bogart, Clift, Brando ... and dozens more. He writes of his love for Ireland, where for 15 years he owned a beautiful 18th-century manor house and lived the life of a hunting squire; of his delight in animals (in a fascinating passage he describes how he personally trained an Ark-full of beasts for The Bible); of his exuberant self-education in art, in literature, in the making of movies. An Open Book is alive with John Huston's presence: his boldness and daring, the clarity and style of his impulses, the spontaneity with which he followed--and continues to follow--his dreams. His book is the man himself."--Jacket.

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LibraryThing Review

Gebruikersrecensie  - dbsovereign - LibraryThing

A wonderful book about a great man who happens to paint a fairly realistic picture of himself. Interesting, intelligent and avoids the gossipy tone of many autobiographies. Volledige review lezen

An Open Book

Gebruikersrecensie  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Famous as a film director par excellence, Huston had a private life that was often as adventurous-and tumultuous-as one of his celluloid creations. Though LJ's reviewer found the book less candid than ... Volledige review lezen

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Over de auteur (1980)

The son of Walter Huston, the well-known movie actor, John Huston directed numerous Hollywood films, including such classics as The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948), for which he won an Oscar as best director, and The Asphalt Jungle (1950). He wrote the screenplays for many of them, including the quintessential hard-boiled detective movie The Maltese Falcon (1941), which was also his directorial debut. Huston's protagonists are often either independent professionals whose tough exteriors hide a dedication to principle, like the detective in The Maltese Falcon, or losers whose obsession with a doomed quest leads to their destruction, like the three gold-seekers in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. But, in his 46-year career, he would try his hand at almost everything, from the grand comedy of The African Queen (1952) to the shaggy dog tale Beat the Devil (1954), the offbeat western The Misfits (1961), the rather bloated epic The Bible (1966), and the medieval allegory, A Walk with Love and Death (1970). As he aged, his films seemed to get deeper and better, starting with The Man Who Would Be King (1975) and continuing with Wise Blood (1979) and Prizzi's Honor (1985). His final work, The Dead (1987), is an exquisite film adaptation of the short story by James Joyce.

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