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I Am Spartacus!: Making a Film, Breaking the Blacklist Paperback – June 12, 2012
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"A glorious book . . . Kirk Douglas is a wonderful writer and a courageous one, which should surprise no one. Courage has been his battle cry all his life." —Steven Spielberg
"The making of I Am Spartacus! is a remarkable story told with the wit and charm of a great entertainer. Kirk Douglas revisits the complex political and social context surrounding the production of a cinema classic." —Henry Kissinger
"Hugely entertaining." —Liz Smith, Chicago Tribune
"I Am Spartacus! is a great read." —Bill O'Reilly
"Kirk Douglas is a lion." —Bill Maher
"A lively new memoir about one of [Douglas'] greatest triumphs." —Los Angeles Times
"Carries the power of a self-made man who continues to meet life on his own terms but with grace and aplomb." —Associated Press
In his own words, Kirk Douglas tells the story of making the film that broke the blacklist in Hollywood
Top Customer Reviews
At 209 pages, I Am Spartacus is not a long book, but it's filled with a treasure trove of details, photos and anecdotes relating to the film. It's also about Hollywood and the movie industry at the time, about how films got to be made (or in some cases, how films ended up not being made), and about Kirk Douglas himself who is open and unsparing of himself as he relates his various actions and decisions, the ups and downs of his career and his personal life during that time, with uncommon candor.
The book reveals a lot about how the film started with a book by Howard Fast and then went through a number of evolutions in the script, complicated by the fact that Douglas had secretly hired the award-winning but blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo to turn the book into a screenplay. Added to that were the egos of established big-name actors like Laurence Olivier, Charles Laughton and Peter Ustinov whom Douglas persuaded to join the film by showing each of them different versions of the script that gave their characters more prominence.Read more ›
Judging from the barriers and problems Douglas faced in producing SPARTACUS, he probably deserves some sort of medal for persevering. The author of the source material - Howard Fast - turned in an unfilmable script. The scriptwriter Douglas turned to - Dalton Trumbo - was a blacklisted author whose involvement could derail the film's production if revealed in the press. A rival studio was filming a similar flick and its film seemed far ahead in production. Douglas' first director didn't work out and his replacement - Stanley Kubrick - was talented but trouble of another sort. Some of the actors hired for the film were critical of the material or worked to enrich their parts and so on.
Yet Douglas weathered all the problems and produced an award-winning film that was Universal's biggest moneymaker for ten years. And it helped break the blacklist that had denied employment to so many Hollywood talents suspected as being Communists or Communist sympathizers.
I AM SPARTACUS is an informative and insightful insider's guide to the SPARTACUS saga. Not having read any of Douglas' previous books, I was pleasantly surprised by his writing skills. The book is an entertaining and surprisingly quick read on an important American film. Recommended.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fabulous book about a very troubled time in our nations history.Published 1 month ago by Bill Landberg
A highly readable account of a film that helped end one of the darkest practices in the history of Hollywood.Published 6 months ago by michael jacobs
I certainly wouldn't tell anyone *not* to buy this book, but if you do you--and you have any interest in an accurate account of events--you owe it to yourself to search the... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Stephen Krug
Pretty interesting, especially if you are a Kirk Douglas fan.Published 10 months ago by DANA VANSCOY
Well written, fast moving account of Kirk's efforts to make one of the most influential Hollywood spectacular films , and a personal favorite. Read morePublished 15 months ago by R. S. Kern
Kirk Douglas is one of the greats in film and the strength of character he had to make Spartacus really stands out in this book. Read morePublished 15 months ago by The Maestro
This book is like having Kirk Douglas in the room speaking directly to you. The writing is amazingly crisp, warm, amusing and clear. Read morePublished 18 months ago by David Webb
The most amazing thing about the movie Spartacus is that it was ever made at all. Overcoming obstacles and setbacks like the blacklisting of its screenwriter, going head to head... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Dirk Drudgler