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Conversations with the Great Moviemakers of Hollywood's Golden Age: At the American Film Institute

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  92 ratings  ·  13 reviews
The first book to bring together these interviews of master moviemakers from the American Film Institute’s renowned seminars—a series that has been in existence for almost forty years, since the founding of the Institute itself.

Here are the legendary directors, producers, cinematographers and writers—the great pioneers, the great artists—whose work led the way in the early
Hardcover, 736 pages
Published February 21st 2006 by Knopf
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Anthony McGill
Dec 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: film-anthologies
Anyone who is interested in the history of film has to read this excellent collection of AFI seminar conversations.
There are more than thirty enlightening, entertaining and historically important question and answer sessions in this 700 page book, featuring mainly the 'golden age' of filmmaking. Directors are the main focus but there is also a fair representation of other artists including cinematographers, writers and producers; and if you think it's just Hollywood, thin
Jul 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Immensely fun, George Stevens Jr.'s interviews with some of the greatest creative Hollywood forces from the Golden Age of Hollywood not only leaves the reader wanting more but wanting to fill in the gaps of their own movie lists. Compiled from years of guest speakers at the American Film Institute, the book holds the wisest and funniest stories from such great people as Frank Capra, Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder, Ray Bradbury, David Lean, Gene Kelly, and Ingmar Bergman. Though most directors, t ...more
Callum Vandenberg
Feb 19, 2022 rated it really liked it
I'm a big fan of movies from the golden age of Hollywood, and this book was a really good insight into some of the minds that created these golden age films. I was familiar with some of filmmakers in this book, but others not as much. Either way, the ideas and knowledge shared here are truly valuable. ...more
Bleak Mouse
Aug 30, 2007 rated it liked it
Interviews by George Stevens Jr. with the great film directors who arose during the day when film directors were considered simple craftsmen, as most indeed were. The usual wits and loudmouths come across splendidly. The rest strike one as a mite dull, although it is fascinating that they are so dull. One noteworthy lesson is that each has a separate and distinct "theory" of everything (probably at the promptings of overzealous film students), and they all disagree with one another entirely. Thi ...more
Feb 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must read. A MUST READ.

Not a good review? Read it and then do better than me.

That's a challenge!
John Kennedy
Feb 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a marvelous book based on candid interviews conducted primarily in the 1970s by the AFI's George Stevens Jr. with top directors from Hollywood's Golden Age. Among those interviewed are Frank Capra, Howard Hawks, Mervin Leroy, William Wyler, Alfred Hitchcock, George Cukor, John Huston, and George Stevens, the author's father.
Stevens Jr. notes that virtually all the directors failed to go out on their own terms. While they had been powerful men calling the shots in the 1930s, 1940s, and 19
Mar 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Retreads familiar ground if you’ve read anything of guys like Hawks, Wilder, Cukor etc, but invaluable for its interviews with cinematographers, writers and ‘non-auteur’ directors.

Probably worth it just for the conversations w James Wong Howe and Rouben Mamoulian. Fellini’s was too short doe
Tom Newth
Apr 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
by default, consistently interesting - 30 or so big names - and some gratifyingly less big - blathering on about their art. the title forewarns of a slightly typical AFI self-congratulation and blinkeredness, tho bergman, fellini, renoir and ray close the book. of course major names are lacking, and there's not a lot very probing, but it's nice to hear this stuff from the horse's mouth.
surprisingly (or not?) mamoulian comes off as by far the most remarkable and i learned that stanley cortez is
Carol Niehaus
Mar 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed learning the directors evaluation of their work on some of my favorite classic films. I particularly enjoyed learning about the relationships these celebrated directors had with their producers, actors, cinematographers and writers. I could have easily omitted about 150 pages from this lengthy book and still feel satisfied that the topic was adequately addressed.
michal k-c
Oct 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
One of the books I return to most often. The interviews are great, but the best part about this is that out of all of these people (some of the most talented to ever be in the business), there is absolutely no general consensus on how to make a movie. Good reminder that there is no right way to approach most endeavours
Dec 27, 2009 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: grad-school-fun
Reading a book from my "peers" and good ol' folk from Hollywoods finest. Mostly having fun thinking about how other people think about film practice. ...more
Mar 21, 2013 added it
Ideal bedside reading.
Susan Stack
Dec 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Best college textbook ever.
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