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John Huston Hardcover – 1978

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; First Edition edition (1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385110707
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385110709
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.8 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,238,593 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Alex Madsen's 1978 bio of director John Huston is a well written look at the famous director a decade before he died. By the time this book came out, most of Huston's best work (Maltese Falcon, Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The African Queen, Asphalt Jungle) was long behind him, so the book contains information about almost all of his major films, with the possible exception of Prizzi's Honor (1985). Hence if you are looking for snippets about the trials and tribulations of making The African Queen, or what it was like to direct his father in Sierra Madre, etc. you'll find it all here.

What you won't find, and this is very regrettable, is any insight into what made Huston tick, or what made him a great director in those few cases where the magic truly worked, and such a poor director in so many other cases. There are endless pages about his drinking, womanizing, and various escapades, but little to take away except that Huston had a good time doing what he did.

Madsen's approach to the biography is pretty common and perhaps he shouldn't be faulted for what others rarely produce, which is a good combination of film critique, psychological analysis, and gossip about other celebrities.

But he can be faulted with giving us very little that can't be obtained elsewhere. The photos are almost exclusively studio clips from films, and the stories are all shop worn versions you've heard many times before. Madsen's writing skills are excellent, so the book is a fast read and entertaining. Too bad it isn't educational as well. Of course if you're not already familiar with Huston's life and his works, then this book will be of some value to you. It's a nice place to start.

(BTW - be forewarned.
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