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I Am Spartacus!: Making a Film, Breaking the Blacklist | [Kirk Douglas]

I Am Spartacus!: Making a Film, Breaking the Blacklist

Now, more than 50 years after the release of his enduring epic Spartacus, Douglas reveals the riveting drama behind the making of the legendary gladiator film. Writing from his heart and from his own meticulously researched archives, Kirk Douglas, at 95, looks back candidly—and often with self-effacing humor—at his audacious decision to give public credit to Trumbo, thus effectively ending the notorious Hollywood blacklist.
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Publisher's Summary

One of the world’s most iconic movie stars, Kirk Douglas has distinguished himself as a producer, philanthropist, and author. Now, more than 50 years after the release of his enduring epic Spartacus, Douglas reveals the riveting drama behind the making of the legendary gladiator film.

Douglas began producing the movie in the midst of the politically charged era when Hollywood’s moguls refused to hire anyone accused of Communist sympathies. In a risky move, Douglas chose Dalton Trumbo, a blacklisted screenwriter, to write Spartacus. As both producer and star of the film, Douglas faced explosive moments with young director Stanley Kubrick and struggles with giant personalities, including Sir Laurence Olivier, Charles Laughton, and Peter Ustinov.

Writing from his heart and from his own meticulously researched archives, Kirk Douglas, at 95, looks back candidly—and often with self-effacing humor—at his audacious decision to give public credit to Trumbo, thus effectively ending the notorious Hollywood blacklist.

©2012 Kirk Douglas (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What Members Say

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4.4 (66 )
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4.3 (63 )
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Performance
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  •  
    kym Adelaide, Australia 07-12-12
    kym Adelaide, Australia 07-12-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great personal account"

    This is a great personal account of a film that I loved when I was a kid and still love today. I love the fact that it is read by his son, although it is hard to believe he is an actor as his diction is sometimes unclear. For a man who is 95yo it feels like it just happened to him a decade ago and there are often personal reflections from his past and present that make this an enjoyable listen.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Hatcher Dallas, TX United States 07-19-13
    J. Hatcher Dallas, TX United States 07-19-13

    timboytx

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Top-notch listening experience"
    Would you consider the audio edition of I Am Spartacus! to be better than the print version?

    I have not read the print version, but would imagine it is as entertaining as the audio version.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I was enthralled by many characters, like Charles Laughton, Laurence Olivier, Dalton Trumbo and Douglas himself.


    What about Michael Douglas’s performance did you like?

    I enjoyed being able to trust that Michael was giving us an authentic interpretation of his father's words, attitudes and manner.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I was brought close to tears on many occasions. How can you listen to a 95-year-old man reflect on his many decades and not be moved?


    Any additional comments?

    I listened to this on long drives, and was always amazed at how quickly those miles passed. I cannot recommend this book more highly.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    BG853 Encore, Monroe NJ 10-08-14
    BG853 Encore, Monroe NJ 10-08-14 Member Since 2006

    Barbara G

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "McCarthyism and its Effects in Hollywood"

    Kirk Douglas gives us a fascinating memoir on the making of an epic movie during the shameful era of Hollywood blacklists. Spartacus had some of the biggest stars of the day Kirk, Lawrence Olivier, Charles Laughton, Peter Ustinov, Tony Curtis and Jeanne Simmons. Listening to the interplay among this outsized egos was fascinating.

    But more importantly, the book reminds us of the damage the blacklists had on the careers of those who stood up for their rights in the face of the House on Unamerican Activities and Kirk Douglas's courage in helping to break the blacklist. Recommended!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Riccardo Manzotti 06-04-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Heroic, sincere, human, moving"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    A great window on a part of recent american history and a very human self-portrait of a fighting man read by his son


    What did you like best about this story?

    Kirk's Douglas unabashed fighting spirit


    What about Michael Douglas’s performance did you like?

    You can't but think that while he was reading his father's biography, he was moved by it and there was a lot of self-identification in his father, too. Touching.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Never give up!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nicholas Castaic, CA, United States 03-16-13
    Nicholas Castaic, CA, United States 03-16-13 Member Since 2012

    Work in broadcasting. I am a history and a craft beer buff.

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    "All Hail Mr. Douglas!"
    What did you love best about I Am Spartacus!?

    It's an important story that needed to be told by a man who was not only there, but helped end the stigma of the Hollywood Blacklist.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Michael Douglas does a masterful job (as usual) and he sounds so much like his dad, it's as if Kirk himself was there telling you the story.


    Any additional comments?

    I highly recommend to anyone who is interested in this part of Hollywood/American history.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Lowell, MA, United States 11-05-12
    John Lowell, MA, United States 11-05-12 Member Since 2012
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    "A Heartfelt Recollection"
    What made the experience of listening to I Am Spartacus! the most enjoyable?

    Extraordinary subject matter, meshing show business and politics, told by the man who lived the story.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Not really applicable here, though the focus of the book is on Dalton Trumbo, who was quite a character in real life.


    What does Michael Douglas bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He is the son of the author, clearly caring about the book's message, and his father's commitment to that message.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adam I Am Japan 09-05-12
    Adam I Am Japan 09-05-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Kirk Douglas — A Mench and a Rebel"

    This book recounts how powerful the Right was in 1960 (and it still is, of course) in America. The story of the the making of Spartacus is very interesting. And the story of Spartacus itself is especially relevant today. And the book is well read by Michael Douglas.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-7 of 7 results
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  • Stuart A. McIntosh
    9/30/14
    Overall
    Performance
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    "Tremendous"
    Where does I Am Spartacus! rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Certainly in the top three of this year


    What was one of the most memorable moments of I Am Spartacus!?

    The clear and well presented recollections of Kirk Douglas


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    That's tricky as it's a complete story with many facets. Who knew that so many factors had a bearing on the making of this seminal piece of work


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    The fight to make this film is worthy of the struggle of its lead character


    Any additional comments?

    I read this after enjoying a previous autobiography by Kirk Douglas. I can see why this is a book all on its own. So many different elements. It's a must read for those interested in film making but also those interested in the history of the US in the 50s & 60s. So many battles overcome by a true survivor, in fact I think he's the only one alive of the main protagonists. Michael Douglas does a good job with the presentation

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Les
    AberdeenUnited Kingdom
    2/27/14
    Overall
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    "I'm spartacus"
    Would you listen to I Am Spartacus! again? Why?

    Yes. It's not too long and is paced very well. Michael Douglas is excellent too.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Dalton Trumbo sounds like a hoot.


    Which character – as performed by Michael Douglas – was your favourite?

    Hmmm...it's a memoir so that's not an applicable question...


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Yes, it made me laugh at points. Descriptions of actor's luvee tantrums and indulgences are pretty amusing.


    Any additional comments?

    I'd always liked Kirk Douglas after seeing films on the BBC like Lust for Life, Spartacus when i was a kid. Saw this and am delighted I got it. An interesting, sometimes funny and touching story. I had heard about the Blacklists in the 50s before and Kirk Douglas writes about how ridiculous and how dangerous a time it was. All the movie's background deals, actor cajoling, betrayals and on set shenanigans. Thoroughly entertaining.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    Suffolk
    4/13/13
    Overall
    "Really enjoyed it"

    Passed a long car journey very pleasantly for me. Was really more interested in the making of the film than the background to the blacklist, etc (shallow of me I know), and the first 30 minutes made me a bit wary this was going to be a rather dull account of the hearings and the blacklisted artists. But it becomes more and more a memoir of making the film, and is full of interesting bits and pieces. KD comes across quite well - a little inclined to blow his own trumpet (he is an actor, after all), but less than you might expect. Very good.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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