25 January 2010

Who The Devil Made It

3. Who The Devil Made It by Peter Bogdanovich (4/5)

Who The Devil Made It is a hefty tome with over 800 pages; I was certain I'd pass it on once I'd read it, but I find myself returning it to its spot on the shelf for future reference. The book is a series of interviews Bogdanovich conducted with film directors, many famous & formative in cinematic arts.

Think of a classic movie and it's likely its director is in this book talking about it. For those who are just interested in certain movies or film star tales, their is a comprehensive index. If you're interested in movie making, the business or the nuts & bolts of telling stories, there's lots of great information in this book.

Among the directors included are: Alfred Hitchcock, Fritz Lang, Chuck Jones, Howard Hawks, Leo McCarey, George Cukor, Josef von Sternberg, Edgar G. Ulmer, Sidney Lumet, and Allan Dwan. You may not recognize all their names, but chances are, you know some of their movies.

Bogdanovich, a director himself, describes each director's background and their interactions over the years to introduce each interview. They all seemed quite comfortable talking to him even in cases where it was difficult due to ill health. Comprehensive filmographies are also included.

A pretty fascinating variety of inside looks into the business from silent pictures through Hollywood's golden studio age and its subsequent decline. Even so, I read it over the course of about five months interspersed with other books, definitely conducive to reading sporadically in chunks. Or just find the bits that interest you, perhaps after you rent or catch a flick on TCM.

A year ago on TTaT: Year of the Ox


  1. missed these heavy reference tomes. Now everything is Wikified.


  2. So true. Seems hard to believe I used to rely on old encyclopedias for source material. Since research is always evolving, I'm glad I don't need space for some 20+ expensive volume set that will soon be outdated. Yet I'm also glad for the shelf or two of reference works I have literally at hand.