Sam Spiegel: The Incredible Life and Times of Hollywood's Most Iconoclastic Producer, the Miracle Worker Who Went from Penniless Refugee to Showbiz Legend, and Made Possible the African Queen, on the Waterfront, the Bridge on the River Kwai, and
Sam Spiegel: The Incredible Life and Times of Hollywood's Most Iconoclastic Producer, the Miracle Worker Who Went from Penniless Refugee to Showbiz Legend, and Made Possible the African Queen, on the Waterfront, the Bridge on the River Kwai, and...
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Publishers Weekly, 2003-01-20 Spiegel (1903-1985) won three Oscars for producing, as the subtitle coyly mentions, a series of memorable films; he is also the sole producer to win the best picture Oscar three times within eight years. The resourceful Spiegel arrived in the U.S. from Austria in 1927 as a bogus diplomat, bouncing checks and serving jail time. In Berlin, he worked with Universal Studios' German film office. Fleeing Nazis, he moved on to London, Paris and Mexico, always encountering problems with the law. Back in the U.S. in 1939, he established himself in Hollywood with Tales of Manhattan (1942) and The Stranger (1946). Accused of "sharklike behavior," Spiegel was a hardened wheeler-dealer who "walked in without a penny and made himself into something." By the end of his life, he'd banked millions, acquired a priceless art collection and entertained the century's most glamorous figures. Fraser-Cavassoni writes for Harper's Bazaar's French edition and worked on Spiegel's final film, Betrayal (1983). To separate facts from apocryphal accounts, she conducted some 200 interviews over seven years. Although she often questions Spiegel's exaggerated anecdotes, Fraser-Cavassoni views Spiegel as "the last of the great showmen," possessed by a "demonlike pursuit for quality." Working from Spiegel's private and professional papers, she also explored dozens of archives, reflected in more than 90 pages of notes, a filmography and bibliography. The result is a fantastic biography on the rise of one of Hollywood's most flamboyant personalities. Photos not seen by PW. (Apr. 8) Forecast: The author's connections with upscale fashion glossies, the book's snazzy jacket and blurbs from Billy Wilder, David Geffen, Andr Leon Talley and others will create plenty of buzz for this hefty tome. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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