With such seminal movies as The Exorcist and The French Connection, Academy Award–winning director William Friedkin secured his place as a great filmmaker. A maverick from the start, Friedkin joined other young directors who ushered in Hollywood’s second Golden Age during the 1970s. Now, in his long-awaited memoir, Friedkin provides a candid portrait of an extraordinary life and career.
His own success story has the makings of a classic American film. He was born in Chicago, the son of Russian immigrants. Immediately after high school, he found work in the mailroom of a local television station, and patiently worked his way into the directing booth during the heyday of live TV. An award-winning documentary brought him attention as a talented new filmmaker, as well as an advocate for justice, and it caught the eye of producer David L. Wolper, who brought Friedkin to Los Angeles. There he moved from television (one of the last episodes of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour) to film (The Birthday Party, The Boys in the Band), displaying a versatile stylistic range. Released in 1971, The French Connection won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, and two years later, The Exorcist received ten Oscar nominations and catapulted Friedkin’s career to stardom.
Penned by the director himself, The Friedkin Connection takes listeners on a journey through the numerous chance encounters and unplanned occurrences that led a young man from a poor urban neighborhood to success in one of the most competitive industries and art forms in the world.
Written and told with the narrative drive of one of his finest films, The Friedkin Connection is a wonderfully engaging look at an artist and an industry that has transformed who we are - and how we see ourselves.
©2013 William Friedkin (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved. Produced by arrangement with Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. All Rights Reserved. Permission for extract from Bug © 2006 by Tracy Letts. Translation of Carl Orff, Carmina Burana © 1984, The Decca Record Co., Ltd., London. Extract from Kazan on Directing by Elia Kazan, edited by Robert Cornfield, © 2009 by Frances Kazan. Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.
Long ago I read a book that was supposed to be about the business of making movies ("You'll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again"). It was a total disappointment. Friedkin's book is exactly the kind of book was looking for.
I guess the thing that surprised me – aside from his apparent honesty and candor about himself, even the bad periods in his life – was that he could be so passionate about his work and so could others. People absolutely hated and loathed some movies, while loving others. There were feuds that went on for decades. All the same mix of happiness and unhappiness that the rest of us get in our lives I suppose, but I didn't think it was part of the territory when it comes to being rich and famous and successful in Hollywood. I thought you would just be happy about your accomplishments. But no, there's all the usual stuff to worry about: budgets, and money, and backing and expenditures and time and investments of all kinds. Plus the work of making a movie, itself.
This book touches on all of it. I'm very glad I found it. I think you'll like it.
Sidney Lumet's "Making Movies," which I'm reading now on Kindle — couldn't find it at Audible :-(
Oh, there was a producer...but I forget his name. Friedkin had some fun playing him.
Friedkin's heart attack. And his later hospital stay with complications.
Well, I'm a technical writer, so I know something about writing. This book (blessedly!) follows the basics: Keep It Sweet & Simple. Tell the story. Have a sense of humor (or tolerance). Friedkin does what he should to make this book readable. Not everybody can do that.
JTN who likes Wine
While I had seen many of Friedkin's films over the years, in retrospect I'm a bit ashamed to never paid much attention to who directed them. Better late than never. I was inspired to listen by two Friedkin interviews. The first was with Alec Baldwin and then a monster 2.5 hour interview with Marc Maron. I was riveted. Friedkin has some great stories (and has a wonderful story telling voice and cadence). He's made several classics, both celebrated and overlooked: The French Connection and The Exorcist but also Sorcerer, Bug and Killer Joe, and others worthy of remembering in posterity. Some of Friedkin's work is polarizing and controversial, and proof that he has always been true to himself. This memoir is a worthwhile listen for anyone interested in the path of a film director, or for anyone who just likes a good story told by a guy with a cool voice and what a cool guy he is.
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