Thursday, August 18, 2011


Just finished this interesting and very entertaining book on Richard Brooks. Made more interesting since I knew so little about his life other than his films. Lot of people didn't like him and after reading the book you will know why. He was very demanding and could be very very cruel at times. He wanted things done one way and that was HIS way. You do have to admire him for being his own man even while working under the studio system but you don't have to admire or even like his tactics. He did make some very great movies and deserves to be on the list of the greatest of Hollywood directors.....and screen writers. He opened up important screen roles for minorities and women.

Brooks had a chance to do a lot of other well known and successful films but turned them down, instead choosing to do only movies for which he would write the screenplays....mostly adaptations. Before he started directing he wrote the screenplays for THE KILLERS and KEY LARGO among others. His writing and directing accomplishments are many....THE BLACKBOARD JUNGLE, THE LAST HUNT, SOMETHING OF VALUE, CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF, ELMER GANTRY, SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH, LORD JIM (a flawed but noble effort), THE PROFESSIONALS (my favorite of his), IN COLD BLOOD and BITE THE BULLET among many.

A couple of interesting pieces of trivia that came from this book....Early in the casting process, David Carradine had been given the Dick Hickock role in IN COLD BLOOD and was told not to tell anyone and Brooks meant this....he was very secretive about all his projects...and as soon as he heard that David had been telling people that he had gotten the plush part Carradine was fired and terminated immediately from the project and was replaced by Scott Wilson.

Columbia Pictures has purchased the screen rights to Frank O'Rourke's novel "A Mule for the Marquesa" with the hopes of turning it into a movie starring...get this....Frank Sinatra, Gregory Peck and Robert Mitchum. Later Richard came aboard the project and rewrote the screenplay and renamed it THE PROFESSIONALS which he ultimately made with Lee Marvin, Burt Lancast and Robert Ryan instead.

This book and Peter Ford's book on Glenn were both published by the University of Wisconsin Press.

A dang good and fast read.

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