Some Fascinating Material,
This review is from: Michael Powell: Interviews (Conversations with Filmmakers (Paperback)) (Paperback)
David Lazar is some kind of Renaissance man all his own--his other books include CONVERSATIONS WITH MFK FISHER. Fisher is a talent of such a different sort than Michael Powell's that all we can say about David Lazar's taste is the word, "eclectic."
Lazar reprints (and in some cases prints for the first time) some great interviews of Powell, who's always sparkling and seems to be on in the great tradition of Peter ustinov (i.e., a born interviewee). The brilliant film director Oliver Assayas asks perhaps the most probing questions, whereas Martin Scorcese, who is a special guest star in one of the interviews, doesn't really seem like much of an intellectual, does he--he lobs off all the questions and continually defers to Powell as the one with the brains.
The only trouble with these 13 interviews is the amount of repetition, from questions that Powell has answered many times. It's interesting to find out that John Sweet, the American serviceman who plays basically himself in A CANTERBURY TALE, never made another film but went back to his home town in the states, entered the business world, and years later showed up at a tribute to Pressburger and Powell with his family in tow, a happy man. But then when you hear much the same story again, you lose interest fast. Ditto with the repetitions of the same answers about knowing Hitchcock, Winston Churchill, etc.
And what about the condescending way he refers to CHINATOWN as a studio movie unworthy of the genius of Polanski? Clearly he hated CHINATOWN and he certainly minces no words about NEW YORK, NEW YORK ("horrible film with Liza").