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Victor Fleming: An American Movie Master Hardcover – December 9, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
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"Not only persuasive in its argument that Victor Fleming was one of the unsung titans of his era, [this book] also makes for a fascinating case study in how power was acquired, wielded, and lost during the 1930s and '40s. . . . For readers with a limited knowledge of the movie industry, its transition from silent to talkies, and the rise of the big studio picture, Sragow's thorough scene-setting could double as a cinematic history lesson―illuminating the many famous lives that Fleming touched (and helped to shape) and the ways in which sets, casts, contracts, and careers worked during Hollywood's grand glory days."―S. James Snyder, Time , reviewing a previous edition or volume
"Sragow is immensely attentive to Fleming's films, and he traces in detail the fortunes of all the people connected to them, but his book is held together by what can only be called the romance of movie-making in the studio era―the large, free, hard-drinking life that the men (but rarely the women) enjoyed when movies were still made quickly and relatively cheaply, craft was spoken of with respect, and art was barely mentioned."―David Denby, New Yorker , reviewing a previous edition or volume
"Michael Sragow's Victor Fleming is certainly among the best film director biographies ever published. Mr. Sragow captures the man, a life and an era that is, as the title of Fleming's most famous film put it, 'gone with the wind.'"―Peter Bogdanovich, Wall Street Journal , reviewing a previous edition or volume --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
If ever there were a case study on how to write a biography of a person who had been dead for nearly sixty years, this book is it.
I've long loved movies that were directed by Victor Fleming and knew the basic info.......Fleming was a ladies man, a competent director, someone who died when he still looked good and should have had had many good years left. It could have well been summarized by his rather unimpressive crypt at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.......here was someone who once was somebody but was now relegated to obscurity. Not so! Michael Sragow had me within the first five minutes of starting this book. Here was a guy who was larger than life......handsomer than most of the male stars he directed and more fearless, too. A real life romeo, an adventurer, a guy who could be tough when necessary and a gentleman too. Based on interviews with Fleming family members, contemporaries, archival data, analysis, Sragow was able to put together a detailed profile of Victor Fleming that was not only very informative but compelling. I wanted to know where his story was going even if I knew where it was going to inevitably end.
If you are interested in film or just interested in reading a good bio, this book is a wonderful choice.
Fleming was a very sensitive artist, a director who could also have been a psychologist, as he understood and dealt with his actors in ways beyond the sterotypical factory approach among directors of the era. Also well documented are the director's various paramours (another word for girlfriends) and marriage. Although a little long, it is fascinating reading. A must for fans of Fleming and the magnificent pictures he directed, or anyone interested in the golden age of movies.
He seems to have scoured every memoir written by any participant in Hollywood's studio system, looking for favorable references to Victor Fleming. Of such scattered gold dust a portrait does not appear, at least not a cohesive one. I couldn't tell whether he was a nog good son of a gun, as Henry Hathaway paints him, or a sensitive and cultured aesthete. Sragow attempts to broaden the canvases constantly, insisting that Fleming was both. He was in fact everything.Read more ›
Fleming was a native Californian born to poor farmers who had migrated west from Missouri. He was enamored of photography, tinkering with cars, chasing women and general old fashioned carousing with his friends. During World War I he became an officer who photographed President Woodrow Wilson during the Versailles Peace Conference of 1919 which transpired in Paris.
Fleming became known as a photographer who soon won a director's chair during the Silent Screen era. He directed and befriended the great Douglas Fairbanks Sr. Fleming was the lover of such silent sexpots as the alluring Clara Bow the famous "It" girl and several starlets. He would later go have affairs with among many others: No
Bessie Love, Norma Shearer and most famously the incandescent Swede Ingrid Bergman.
Fleming was not faithful to his wife Lu but was a good father to his two daughters. He never got past the seventh grade in school but was an autodidatic chap who knew a good deal of history, the art of film directing, mechanics and flying aircraft. His pals were such he-men as Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy and Henry Fonda. He was a macho Hemingway man who was handsome, well spoken, sometimes gruff and always professional on the set. His best pal was probably the irascible film genius Howard Hawks.
We remember him, of course, for the great films he directed.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Interesting history of overlooked director of classic films.Published 5 months ago by david's wife...
Michael Sragow's splendid new biography of Victor Fleming tells the story of how one of the most accomplished of all movie directors--the man who made two of the most enduringly... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Paul Seydor
Rather than discuss in everyday language, the various background stories and details about the many great movies this director made, the author instead spends much time expressing... Read morePublished on March 23, 2014 by Diecast Joe
The author also provides details on other celebrities and movies as well. It therefore gets a bit side-tracked at times, but overall a good book about Victor Fleming himself, more... Read morePublished on August 6, 2013 by PJ
the book was much better than I thought it would be - really enjoyed it shared it with a friendPublished on April 13, 2013 by historyguy
This is a beautifully written book about one of the great all time movie directors. A staple at MGM during the "Golden Years" in Hollywood, this man directed so many wonderful... Read morePublished on March 20, 2012 by Fred Baetz